Victoria Zidwick a RoamRight Blog Author

What’s the Difference Between Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and Trip Delay?

Chances are, you didn’t plan your trip knowing you would have to cancel it, or cut it short. You may realize that there’s a possibility that a family member may get sick, a weather event may occur, or your airline may go on strike, but you plan ahead anyway, booking travel and paying trip deposits. That’s when trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption coverage is helpful.

However, many travelers do not understand what the difference is between each of those types of coverages.

What is Trip Cancellation Coverage?

The Trip Cancellation benefit in a travel insurance policy can provide coverage for non-refundable trip payments in the event that a trip has to be cancelled for a covered reason.*

Trip Cancellation is one of the more common travel insurance claims filed, and is one of the main reasons people purchase a travel insurance plan. While no one plans on having to cancel a trip once we book it, the unexpected can happen.

Cancel For Any Reason Coverage

Travelers who want coverage for cancellation reasons beyond those that are included in a base Arch RoamRight policy may be able to purchase the Cancel for Any Reason optional upgrade.

Cancel for Any Reason allows you to cancel your trip for any reasons up to 48 hours prior to departure. This benefit can reimburse you up to 75% of your trip cost. However, to be eligible for this upgrade, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Purchase your insurance within 21 days of making your initial trip deposit, and
  2. Insure all of your trip deposits that are subject to cancellation penalties.

The Cancel for Any Reason upgrade is available with the Preferred, Elite, Pro, and Pro Plus plans. While Cancel for Any Reason is not available to residents of New York, they have similar coverage under a benefit called Cancel for Fortuitous Reasons. Please contact customer service or see your policy for specific details.

Those who are concerned about having to cancel for work-related reasons can also purchase the Cancel for Work Reasons optional upgrade. Cancel for Work Reasons allows you to cancel your trip for reasons such as being forced to work during your previous scheduled vacation, being transferred to a different city, and others. Please note that Cancel for Work Reasons is not available for individuals who are self-employed, or are company owners or partners.

The Cancel for Work Reasons upgrade is available with the Preferred, Elite, and Pro plans. With the Pro Plus plan, Cancel for Work Reasons is automatically included at no additional cost.

Example of a Trip Cancellation Claim:

One common example of a Trip Cancellation claim that we see involves families having to cancel their trips as a result of a sick child.

The video below is based on a real story from an Arch RoamRight traveler who had to cancel their trip after their daughter got strep throat when they were supposed to depart.

What is Trip Interruption Coverage?

The Trip Interruption benefit can provided coverage for non-refundable trip payments in the event a trip must be cut short or started late for a covered reason.*

Example of a Trip Interruption Claim:

Since a claimable Trip Interruption event can happen at the start or the middle of your trip, there are a number of examples of this type of coverage being applicable.

A common example of Trip Interruption is for travelers flying to a port of embarkation for a cruise. If the flight is delayed for a covered reason and it is long enough to force you to miss the cruise departure, the Trip Interruption benefit can reimburse you for unused, prepaid non-refundable payments or deposits for your land or water travel arrangements, plus the additional cost paid to either join your cruise or travel via alternate travel.

Another example is when you are on your trip, enjoying your vacation and you receive bad news from back home. If it is for a covered reason* and you need to return home immediately, trip interruption will help pay for the difference in costs in airfare and transportation, as well as any unused, pre-paid non-refundable payments or deposits.

What do Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits cover?

As with any case, check your policy details to make sure you understand how the coverage works specifically for the policy you purchased.

For most Arch RoamRight plans, trip cancellation or interruption coverage is available for the following Unforeseen reasons:

  1. Your, a Family Member’s, or a Traveling Companion’s, or a Business Partner’s or a Traveling Companion’s Family Member’s death, that occurs before departure on Your Trip; or
  2. Your, a Family Member’s, or a Traveling Companion’s or a Business Partner’s or a Traveling Companion’s Family Member’s covered Sickness or Injury, that: a) occurs before departure on Your Trip; b) requires Medical Treatment at the time of cancellation; and c) as certified by a Physician, results in medical restrictions so disabling as to cause Your Trip to be cancelled; or
  3. for Other Covered Events, as outlined below.

This is an abbreviated list of the most common covered events for trip cancellation or interruption. For coverage, an event must be unforeseen at the time of purchase. For a full list of events and coverage details, please refer to the policy.

  • Sickness, accidental injury or death
  • Being hijacked, quarantined, subpoenaed, or asked to serve on jury duty
  • Home or destination is made uninhabitable
  • Traffic accident en route to departure
  • Death or hospitalization of host at destination
  • Terrorist attack
  • Revoked military leave
  • Strike
  • Inclement Weather
  • Bankruptcy of travel supplier
  • Job loss or lay off
  • Natural disaster at destination
  • Mandatory evacuation
  • You or your traveling companion’s normal pregnancy
  • Extension of school year

What is Trip Delay Coverage?

The Trip Delay benefit can provide coverage for incurred costs associated with a travel delay if the start of a trip must be delayed for a covered reason.*

Example of a Trip Delay Claim:

It is common to see Trip Delay claims related to airline delays. With air travel being unpredictable and often influenced by weather and other factors, a severe delay in your flight can force dramatic changes for your scheduled trip.

For long flight delays, travelers may be forced to spend money that they didn’t anticipate spending, such as buying an additional meal at the airport or spending a night at the hotel to take a flight rescheduled for the next day. Under your Trip Delay benefit, you can be covered for those related expenses.

When choosing your travel insurance plan, it is important to look at the benefit limits and time triggers related to the Trip Delay benefit. With Arch RoamRight and most other travel insurance plans, your trip delay must exceed a specified amount of time in order to be eligible for coverage, and coverage varies by plan.

What do Trip Delay benefits cover?

Trip delay coverage is for travel hazards resulting from:

  • any delay of Your Common Carrier;
  • a traffic accident in which You or Your Traveling Companion are involved while en route to departure (must be substantiated by a police report);
  • Your or Your Traveling Companion’s lost or stolen passports, travel documents or money (must be substantiated by a police report);
  • quarantine, hijacking, Strike, Natural Disaster, terrorism or riot;
  • a road closure (substantiated by the department of transportation, state police, etc.) due to severe storms preventing You from getting to the point of departure for Your Trip;
  • Your Sickness or Injury or the Sickness, Injury or death of Your Traveling Companion, or Family Member traveling with You.

*These covered reasons, as well as exclusions and limitations, can be found in your policy.

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Victoria Zidwick

Victoria Zidwick, a RoamRight Blog Author RoamRight's Marketing Communications Specialist, Victoria Zidwick, has worked in the travel insurance industry for more than five years. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has a handful of international travel experiences.Victoria's travel experiences have changed in recent years, as her family grows and she is learning the ins and outs of traveling with children. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn or follow her onTwitter or Google Plus.

Get A Free Travel Insurance Quote 

Travel smarter with travel insurance from RoamRight. Get your free, no-obligation quote online today.

I'm a partner, take me to my portal

Stay Connected!

Sign up for RoamRight's FREE monthly email newsletter to get travel tips, tricks, news, ideas, and inspiration!

The RoamRight mark is used by Arch Insurance Company and owned by its parent company, Arch Capital Group (U.S.). Insurance coverages are underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, NAIC #11150, under certain policy series, including LTP 2013 and amendments thereto. Certain terms, conditions, restrictions and exclusions apply and coverages may vary in certain states. In the event of any conflict between your policy terms and coverage descriptions on this website, the terms and conditions of your policy shall govern. Click here for privacy notice.

Copyright© 2024 Arch Insurance Company. All rights reserved.