No one wants to cancel their holiday but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

You can’t control whether an earthquake or epidemic will break out at your holiday destination.

You can’t stop a volcano from spewing ash.

And you can’t negotiate with a union to stop a crew strike from grinding an airline's operations to a halt.

We know, reality bites, and situations can and will force you to put your holiday on hold. What you should also know is how these situations could be covered by your travel insurance.

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Travel insurance can cover you in these situations

The following unexpected situations have a high chance of causing a trip cancellation.

That’s where travel insurance is essential as it covers a wide range of unexpected issues that could arise before your trip commences.

Here are some situations you should protect yourself from:

Natural disasters

This is a clear-cut situation in which you should cancel your trip. Getting to your travel destination is most likely unachievable depending on the severity of the disaster. For example, damage from typhoons or earthquakes could cause closure of your destination airport until matters have stabilised. Even when airports reopen, recovery efforts may still be underway.

Advisory against non-essential travel

If a government advisory against non-essential travel to your holiday destination is issued, it’s a clear sign to cancel the trip.

Such advisories are not to be taken lightly and are only in place for major incidents. Such incidents could range from an epidemic breakout, to even civil unrest or terror threats.

No vacation is worth risking your life for.

Strikes at airports

Usually there’s no telling how long a strike will last. While some strikes can be resolved within a matter of hours, there are some that go on for days or weeks.

If a strike occurs on your departure day, it is likely to impact your trip. While some airlines will find alternative means to get you to your destination, it’s not guaranteed. But if the airlines doesn’t manage to resolve your travel disruption, you might have to cancel your trip. Fortunately, your travel insurance will cover for scheduled covered transport services.

Family and home emergencies

In the unfortunate event that a home or family emergency occurs, it is often something you can’t avoid, hence requiring you to change your travel plans.

For instance, if you or your immediate family member fall ill, are injured or if there’s a death in your immediate family, this would likely prevent you from going on your trip.

Home emergencies such as a house fire or damage due to natural disasters or extreme weather conditions could also derail your travel plans. Directly after such a serious event, you probably have to act to secure your home and prevent further damage and wouldn’t be able to or necessarily be keen to travel.

What will you be covered for?

In the event of a covered trip cancellation, if you’ve exhausted your options to reclaim your expenses from your airline, hotel and travel operators, your travel insurance will step in.

Travel and accommodation coverage

When it comes to trip cancellations, your transport and accommodation expense are usually the major items.

With the former, you may be able to get a full refund from your airline but that will depend on the fare type you have purchased.

Getting a refund on your accommodation will depend on the type of booking you’ve made. Some hotels allow free cancellations up to 48 hours before you begin your stay.

It might be harder to initiate a refund for other transport expenses such as car rentals and train fares, which could set you back by hundreds of dollars, might be harder to initiate a refund. This is especially true for advanced purchases such as train tickets that have been paid for in full.

Always be sure to carefully check the terms and conditions for each of your transport bookings and request refunds where available.

Getting a refund from the respective service providers for almost everything that’s affected can be challenging. This is where travel insurance will come in handy to recover the spent fare.

For example, AIG's Travel Guard® Direct plans cover transportation and accommodation expenses which you have paid for, which you cannot get back from any other source. You will be covered up to the sum insured limit, depending on the plan you’ve purchased,

Visa costs

Claiming the cost of your travel visa in the event of a trip cancellation is something that you might not consider.

Such one-off payments are considerably hard to obtain a refund for, once the embassy has issued the visa to you. The visa application could cost up to a few hundred dollars; which is not a small sum.

Most insurers offer broad travel coverage, though it might not be clear whether the cost of visas is specifically covered under a trip cancellation claim. AIG's Travel Guard® Direct plans cover the costs of travel visas for a qualified trip cancellation.

Excursion costs

It’s not only the big ticket items such as flight and hotel costs you should be concerned with, the cost of pre-booked excursions can also add up.

Take a day trip excursion as an example, with a short tour and a couple of activities; you could be missing experiences worth hundreds of dollars when an emergency causes you to cancel your trip.

Most travel insurance plans would cover this under a broad entertainment cost. If the cost is not reimbursable from other sources, AIG’s Travel Guard® Direct covers the costs of excursions, tours and activities for a qualified trip cancellation.

Making the claims process smooth

Perhaps you wouldn’t expect it but in recent years insurers have been working hard to make it much easier to file travel claims. AIG Singapore has a dedicated online travel claims process which is fast and convenient. For those who prefer the traditional mail-in option, that is also still available.

In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your trip, keep these points in mind to ensure a seamless claims process:

  • Speak to your insurer immediately, either through a call, email or their website contact/feedback form, to inform them of the trip cancellation and reason.
  • Ensure you obtain and submit all the relevant supporting documents to facilitate the processing of your claim submission. These include but are not limited to:

    - If you are cancelling due to illness or injury to you or your immediate family member, you will have to provide the medical report confirming this.

    - Booking confirmations and original receipts for your travel and accommodation and any other travel activities or visas
  • Claims need to be submitted as soon as possible. Typically, you should submit your claim within 30 days from the date of cancellation.

Look forward to your holiday, whilst being prepared for any unexpected events. Do that, and you can rest assured that your trip will be well-covered.

This article was brought to you by AIG Singapore, protecting you as you check off a few bucket list items. AIG Singapore assumes no responsibility for the use, accuracy, or interpretation of the information contained herein.


Anonymous is a writer who contributes to GoBear articles related to personal finance and lifestyle.