Holiday Plans Ruined by Omicron? Your Travel Insurance Claim May Not Cover Cancellation

You couldn't travel in 2021 so you made all your bookings for 2022, hoping the pandemic won't last this long. Right? Well, Omicron is here and you may be planning to buy travel insurance just for emergencies like these; but can you claim benefits for cancelling your trip because of Omicron?

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    Now covers COVID-19

    Change in Plans Because of Omicron?

    Just as some semblance of normalcy had barely begun, another heavily mutated variant of the coronavirus was discovered towards the end of 2021. It is a wise move to not travel while infections are on the rise, however, being insured will not guarantee reimbursement for cancelling your trip. While you can raise a claim towards flight cancellation or trip cancellation, fear of contracting Omicron can’t be the reason.

    Many travellers have cancelled or altered their holiday plans because of the latest Omicron variant. Globally, over 30,000 flights up to February 2022 have been cancelled. If you're unsure about travelling during the pandemic and think your insurance policy will cover any losses, then take a look at your travel insurance policy documents again.

    Can You Get Reimbursed for Your Trip Cancellation?

    Short answer, yes. You can claim cancellation damages for anything that has been covered under your policy terms. While most advertisements and banners of travel insurance plans promise coverage against 'Trip Curtailment' or 'Trip cancellation', you can't change plans according to your personal discomfort or fears. Thus, any non-refundable flight and hotel bookings made by you can't be claimed as cancellation damages if you cancel your trip under your policy's assurance.

    You can only claim cancellation benefits under specific conditions, often called 'covered lists of reasons' in policy terms. Hence, it’s very important to know when you will be offered compensation for cancelling a trip along with cases where no claim will be entertained.

    When Can You Claim Trip Cancellation Damages?

    You will get compensation for cancelling your trip for any one or more of the given reasons below:

    • Severe injury or sickness of yourself or immediate family
    • Death of an immediate family member
    • Damage caused to the residence
    • Natural disasters
    • Terrorist attack
    • Visa declination
    • Re-appearing for exams
    • Employment loss
    • Theft of ID or travel ticket

    When Can You Not Claim Trip Cancellation?

    Under some circumstances, your travel insurance policy won't cover cancellation damages:

    • If cancellation is done for the convenience of the insured
    • If your tour company made changes in travel arrangements
    • If cancelling out of fear around COVID-19
    • If cancelled for reasons other than natural disasters or as stated in the policy

    Does this mean you have no reason to buy a travel insurance plan anymore? Wrong! Be it a holiday or work, your insurer will cover you for any medical emergencies as well as other travel-related issues, including loss of baggage as well as flight cancellations. However, it's important to know when a flight cancellation will be covered.

    Trip Cancellation: Things to Keep in Mind

    A good look at your policy documents will tell you when a cancellation is covered. For example, if you cut your trip short for personal reasons, there should be valid reasons including death or severe illness, natural disasters, loss of employment etc.

    Even then, only a limited number of expenses will be reimbursed by your insurer. Many insurers offer a differential amount in case of airline booking but no reimbursement for hotel bookings.

    The type of policy you have also determined the extent of coverage under this feature. Trip cancellation isn't always offered by all retail policies. While some group plans offer this benefit, hotel cancellation and other non-refundable expenditures aren't always covered.

    Another important thing to remember is whether an airline already offered compensation for cancellation. In that case, the amount of airline compensation offered shall be deducted from the insurance component as per the clause of your policy. Simply put, if the airline has already compensated for the flight cancellation then the insurer won't pay you again for the same issue.

    Wrapping it up,

    Thus, it is important to pick your plan carefully. If travelling abroad, make sure to buy the best overseas travel insurance policy that covers flight and hotel cancellation as well as automatic extension. This way, in case of an emergency or lockdown, you will be protected in a foreign land.

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