Cancellation vs. Interruption: How to Determine Which Type of Coverage You Need? 

Cancellation vs. Interruption How to Determine Which Type of Coverage You Need 

Planning a trip involves a lot of excitement and anticipation. Whether you are jetting off to an exotic destination or heading for a family reunion, there is something magical about the prospect of adventure and new experiences. 

However, amidst all the excitement, it is essential to think about the practical aspects of travel, including insurance. Two common types of travel insurance coverage that often confuse travelers are trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. 

In this guide, we will delve into the differences between these two and help you determine which type of coverage suits your needs. 

Table of Contents: 

  1. Understanding Trip Cancellation Insurance 
  2. Understanding Trip Interruption Insurance 
  3. How to Determine Which Coverage You Need 
  4. FAQs 
  5. Final thoughts 

Understanding Trip Cancellation Insurance 

Trip cancellation insurance provides coverage in case you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason before it even begins. It is designed to protect the financial investment you have made in your travel plans, which can be substantial when you factor in non-refundable flight tickets, accommodation reservations, and tour packages. 

Here are some key points: 

  • Covered reasons: Trip cancellation insurance typically covers a range of specific reasons that might force you to cancel your trip. These reasons often include unexpected illness or injury, the death of a family member, or certain catastrophic events, like a natural disaster at your destination. 
  • Refundable expenses: It primarily reimburses you for non-refundable expenses, such as prepaid non-refundable airline tickets, hotel reservations, and tour deposits. If you cancel your trip due to any covered reason mentioned in the policy, you can file a claim to recoup these expenses. 
  • Coverage limits: Trip cancellation insurance has coverage limits that are typically based on the total cost of your trip. Be sure to understand the maximum amount your policy will pay out. Hence, reading the brochure is highly recommended. 
  • Purchase timing: To get the most comprehensive coverage, you should purchase trip cancellation insurance shortly after making your initial trip deposit. 

Understanding Trip Interruption Insurance 

Trip interruption insurance, on the other hand, kicks in when you are already on your trip and unforeseen circumstances force you to cut it short or return home earlier than planned. It helps you recover the expenses you would lose due to the interruption,’ says Chiranth Nataraj, the founder of Visitor Guard®. 

Here are the key points: 

  • Covered reasons: Just like trip cancellation insurance, trip interruption insurance covers specific reasons for cutting your trip short. These reasons often include illness or injury, the death of a family member, or other significant unexpected events. 
  • Reimbursable expenses: It typically reimburses you for the unused portion of your trip expenses, such as the prorated cost of unused non-refundable hotel nights, non-refundable tour activities or unused non-refundable land or water travel arrangements. 
  • Coverage limits: Trip interruption insurance has coverage limits based on the total cost of your trip. Make sure to check the policy limits to ensure they meet your needs. 
  • Purchase timing: It is recommended to purchase trip interruption insurance before you start your trip. Once your trip has begun, it may be too late to add this coverage. 

How to determine which coverage you need? 

Here are some factors to consider: 

  • Trip cost: If you invest a significant amount of money in your trip, including non-refundable expenses, trip cancellation insurance can provide peace of mind in case you have to cancel for a covered reason. It is especially important for costly trips. 
  • Trip duration: Longer trips often come with a higher risk of unexpected interruptions. If you are embarking on an extended journey, trip interruption insurance can safeguard your investment. 
  • Prepaid expenses: If you made non-refundable bookings for flights, accommodations, tours, or other activities, both trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance can help protect these expenses. 
  • Health and family factors: Consider your health and the health of your family members. If you or your travel companion has a medical condition that can hinder your trip, consider buying a trip cancellation policy. 
  • Travel destination: Some destinations may have higher risks of natural disasters, political unrest, or other unforeseen events. Assess the specific risks associated with your destination and choose coverage accordingly. 


1. What are some covered reasons for trip cancellation insurance? 

Thought each plan is different, some reasons are- Death, Sickness or Injury, Pregnancy Complications, Traffic Accident en Route to Departure, Common Carrier Mechanical Breakdown, Airport Shutdown by Local Authorities or due to fire or power outage, Strike, Inclement Weather, Hijack/

Quarantine, Military Duty for Natural Disaster, Terrorist Incident, Passport, Visa, or Travel Document Theft, Terminated or Laid Off from Employment, Natural Disaster Evacuation at Departure City or Destination. 

2. When should I purchase trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance? 

It is advisable to purchase trip cancellation insurance shortly after making your initial trip deposit and trip interruption insurance before starting your trip. Buying coverage early ensures you are protected against unforeseen events. Usually, most trip cancellation plans have trip interruption insurance included in the coverage.  

3. Are there any limitations to what these insurance categories cover? 

Both trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance policies have coverage limits and specific conditions. It is crucial to read the policy terms carefully to understand what is covered, any exclusions, and how to file a claim. 

4. Can I add trip cancellation or interruption coverage to an existing policy if I change my mind later? 

Trip interruption insurance can usually be added before your trip starts, but trip cancellation insurance is typically most effective when purchased shortly after making your initial trip deposit. Once your trip has commenced, it may be too late to add coverage. 

5. Do trip cancellation or trip interruption cover pre-existing conditions? 

It depends on the plan and when you buy it.  These plans may be able to cover pre-existing conditions if bought within the stipulated time after making the initial payment. However, it is wise to check the policy benefits before buying. 

Final thoughts! 

When planning your next trip, it is important to consider the potential risks and financial investments involved. Both trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance can provide valuable protection, but your specific circumstances and travel plans will determine which type of coverage is more suitable for your needs. 

Remember to compare policies, read the fine print, and consult with a travel insurance expert if you are uncertain. For more queries or concerns regarding these policies, feel free to contact Visitor Guard®.