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Travel cancellation insurance is a must – and not just for frequent travelers

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Travel cancellation insurance is a good thing to have. A relatively inexpensive premium buys you a lot of benefits you might need – full cancellation costs or charges for rebooking your trip and generally the processing fees as well (up to the contractually agreed maximum).

Buying annual insurance to cover travel cancellation costs (also known as cancellation insurance or trip cancellation insurance depending on the provider) is a good idea – and not just for people who travel a lot. If you take just a couple of vacations and weekend trips a year, the premium costs a whole lot less than paying for individual travel cancellation insurance for each trip, which is usually only valid up until you begin your travels. And an annual policy means you don’t have to worry if you suddenly decide to book and take a trip.

Compare the benefits

Before you buy travel cancellation insurance, you should compare the offers available from different carriers. Pay particular attention to the scope of coverage and any exclusions. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is insured: An individual person, a couple or a family?
  2. Where is the coverage valid: Switzerland, Europe or the entire world?
  3. What benefits are covered: Maximum cancellation or rebooking costs, processing fees?
  4. What exclusions apply?

What you should expect

A serious travel cancellation policy will generally assume – up to the contractually agreed minimum – the full costs of rebooking or canceling due to the following reasons:

  • Accident or illness before or during the trip
  • Accident, illness or death of a family member or person close to you
  • Absence of your deputy at work
  • Accident, illness or death of your pet
  • Loss of your job or starting a new job
  • Damage to or theft of property at home
  • Prevention of travel due to strikes, terrorist acts, warlike events, quarantines, epidemics, pandemics or natural hazards.

But most travel cancellation insurances include the following exclusions:

  • Existing illnesses
  • Foreseeable events or events which have already occurred at the time the policy is taken out
  • Events you cause: e.g. you suddenly quit your job or have an accident while driving without a driver's license

This is what you should consider when buying travel insurance:

  • Take a look at the General Insurance Conditions (GIC) so you know what benefits are covered and what exclusions are included in the travel cancellation policy.
  • Find out ahead of time what you need to do to report a cancellation.
  • If you need to cancel your trip, then report it as soon as possible and make sure you have all necessary documentation (booking confirmations, cancellation costs, medical certificates).
  • Report injuries or illnesses right away (and as a precautionary measure if you are in doubt), especially if you are unsure of how long it will take you to recover.

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