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Are Refundable Airline Tickets or Flight Insurance Better for You?

Becky Hart | Feb 27, 2024

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Passport and airline ticket.

You're about to purchase a flight, and the website asks, “Would you like to upgrade to a refundable ticket for an additional fee?” It seems like a good idea if you need to cancel your flight, but is it the best decision for you and your trip?

Paying extra for a refundable ticket isn’t necessarily a wrong choice, but it might leave you wanting more. At this point in the purchase of your tickets, many airlines may try to grab you with a sense of urgency and tempt you with convenience. Of course it depends on your situation, but rushing to a decision without knowing the facts of what you’re getting from the airline, and what kind of coverage you could get from travel insurance could lead to a case of buyer’s remorse.

Broader coverage with travel insurance

The refundable ticket you purchase from the airline typically provides reimbursement for the ticket itself, and most airlines will let you cancel your flight for any reason as long as you purchased the refundable ticket (which is often a more expensive option).

Your refundable airline ticket is just that, though — a ticket. Travel insurance through a provider like Seven Corners also protects you if you must cancel your trip for certain, covered reasons, and that protection may cover more than just a flight. For example, if your flight is cancelled and you can’t catch another flight until the next day, you could potentially lose money on a prepaid, nonrefundable vacation rental or excursion at your destination. Whereas your airline’s refundable ticket typically wouldn’t cover those prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses, travel insurance could.

Optional Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage

Most trip insurance covers you for trip cancellation with a list of covered reasons, such as a sickness that keeps you from traveling or inclement weather that causes the airline to shut down for at least 48 hours. Trip Protection plans come with an optional benefit — Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) .

This add-on benefit reimburses you for 75% of your nonrefundable trip cost if you need to cancel your trip, no matter what the reason is. At a time with so much unpredictability, many travelers find CFAR provides them with extra flexibility and confidence when planning their trips. They know that with CFAR, they won’t lose all of their prepaid, nonrefundable investment if they need to cancel unexpectedly for reasons such as fear of travel or simply changing their mind about taking their trip, two reasons that most likely would not otherwise be covered. And again, CFAR can protect your airfare as well as hotels, excursions, and more.

Customizable options

Seven Corners offers a variety of plans to help find your best match, often with the ability to customize your plan.

With our plans, you can also look for optional add-ons to give you more robust coverage based on your needs. You might choose to add the Optional Rental Car Damage benefit to a Trip Protection plan. If you select our Trip Protection USA plan, you can design your own plan by adding bundles for air travel, medical expense coverage, and more.

Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expense Coverage

Travel insurance can provide emergency medical expense coverage if you get sick or injured during your trip. This can be particularly important when traveling internationally as your domestic health insurance does not always cover you overseas. This coverage is not typically found with a refundable airline ticket.

Personal service

Like when we talked about how to buy the best insurance for your cruise , you may want to rely on experts in travel insurance when you have questions about protecting your flight expenses. Airlines do many things well, but they’re in the business of flying. Seven Corners is an expert in travel insurance.

It’s also important to know that all Seven Corners plans come with non-insurance 24/7 emergency travel assistance services. If you need help finding medical care during your trip or need translation services while abroad, Seven Corners Assist is there to help. Our personal service guarantee is with you from the moment you start talking with one of our licensed agents all the way until you return home.

When Should You Buy Travel Insurance for Flights?

Boarding pass.

For example, you might only be interested in protecting your airfare. Perhaps you’ll be staying with family and don’t have any expenses for accommodations or a rental car. If you don’t have any other travel expenses to protect, the refundable ticket, which provides 100% reimbursement when you meet the airline’s policy requirements, could be the better choice.

One final thought: It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing purchase. As much as we’d love to protect all of your travel arrangements, you could opt to purchase from both Seven Corners and your airline. One of our own employees recently did just that for a major vacation. The airline’s refundable ticket made more sense for her needs, but she also purchased trip protection for other aspects of her trip like her hotels, excursions, and a train ride at her destination.

Learn how to calculate trip costs for travel insurance »

Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

It’s best to expect the unexpected, and when we travel, that means expecting that some of your best-laid plans might not work out. Flight cancellations and delays, especially when you’re traveling during busy times of year like the holidays and summer vacation, can happen. When you’re worried about these disruptions and how they’ll impact your money, carefully consider how to best protect your trip and the money you spent on it.

Every traveler and every trip is unique. That’s why it’s best to look at the different options for travel insurance and choose the one that best fits your needs. We understand that sometimes that decision isn’t the most obvious, which is why Seven Corners’ sales team is made up entirely of licensed agents, ready to answer your questions and help you choose the right plan. Get a quick quote online or talk to our licensed experts today.

*Terms, conditions and limitations apply to all benefits mentioned above. Any Optional benefit, such as CFAR, comes at an additional cost. CFAR is not available to residents of NY. Please see your plan document for full details.

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When plans go wrong: Your guide to booking refundable travel

Katherine Fan

In recent weeks, the travel industry has been rocked by disruptions that sound like they belong in action movies starring The Rock. With cruise ships quarantined for weeks on end, and entire countries shut out from interaction with the rest of the world, travelers around the world are asking us, "What are my options? Where can I go? Can I even travel at all?"

Related: Everything you need to know about traveling during the global coronavirus outbreak

We've published plenty of guides about safety , travel insurance and destinations that are still safe to visit . This one, however, tells you everything you'll want to know about planning a trip you might need to cancel on short notice — without forfeiting your entire vacation budget.

Travel insurance

Credit card trip protection does not apply to epidemics.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus is one of those major events that is not covered under most insurance policies, regardless of whether you have insurance through your credit card benefits, or if you purchased an independent insurance plan from a third-party underwriter.

Travel insurance providers have now declared COVID-19 to be a " foreseen event " — and once that happens, travelers can no longer purchase trip cancellation insurance benefits.

Purchase "cancel for any reason" travel insurance

That being said, it isn't all gloom and doom: You can still get your money back in the event of a travel disruption by purchasing a really good travel insurance plan. It's just going to cost you.

Related: When to purchase travel insurance vs. relying on credit card trip protection benefits

"Cancel for any reason" coverage means exactly that: Cancel because the coronavirus beat you to your vacation spot. Cancel because your significant other dumped you in the airport. Cancel because you feel like it. Whatever the reason, this level of coverage allows you the peace of mind of knowing that you can get your money back when plans go awry.

There are a few key points to note about this level of coverage:

  • "Cancel for any reason" plans usually must be purchased within 14-21 days from when you made your initial trip payment. You can't purchase it last-minute.
  • You can expect the plan to cost at least 10-12% of your total trip expenses.
  • You may have to insure 100% of your trip costs in addition to canceling your trip at least 48 hours before departure time to receive a refund of up to 75% of the trip cost.

For additional guidance, check out our guide to independent travel insurance plans .

Cancel within 24 hours of booking

Frequent travelers know that you can cancel flights operating within or to the U.S. within 24 hours of booking , as long as you purchase seven days or more before the date of your departure. However, this rule is worth mentioning again, especially in the context of recent travel news.

The US Department of Transportation is the governing entity behind this policy, which means that foreign carriers are also required to adhere to this rule when you purchase a fare that arrives into the U.S.

But note that the no-penalty cancellation within the first 24 hours of booking only applies to flights booked more than seven days in advance, as this reader mistake story illustrates in excruciating detail. If you purchase your flight within that seven-day window, there are no refunds.

Book full-price flights

Look, we get it: Nobody wants to pay full price, especially if discount options are available. But sometimes, that full-price flight is exactly what you need for times when things go wrong, because those are the only tickets that are fully refundable without cancellation or change fees.

Related: The best ways to avoid flight change and cancellation fees

Book award flights for greater flexibility

Here at The Points Guy, we often tout the value of points and miles for getting outsized value on your travel. Whether it's for first-class travel for an out-of-pocket cash cost of a few dollars toward taxes and fees, or last-minute flights to see a family member in an emergency, points and miles are your biggest money saver in the travel game.

Related: Here's what your points and miles are worth this month

This principle holds true when it comes to cancelling award bookings as well: Most airlines and hotels offer more lenient rules when it comes to award reservations because they're refunding you in the company's loyalty currency. If you cancel in advance, you can usually request to redeposit your miles for a fee, depending on whether or not you hold elite status with the airline. United's top-tier elite 1K members , for instance, are eligible for full refunds on award mile redeposits up to the time of travel.

Just be sure to cancel before your flight is scheduled to depart: In some cases, those miles are forfeit the moment that flight takes off without you. In others, you'll have to pay a higher fee to have those miles reinstated to you; United, for instance, charges $125 to get your miles back after no-showing on a flight, even for top-tier elite members.

Book with Southwest

Ahh, Southwest: America's favorite family-friendly airline continues to set itself apart from the competition. Beyond the free checked bags and open seating, Southwest offers one of the best policies of all time: Cancel or change your flight at any time, and simply pay the difference. There are no penalty fees at any point, even if the fare goes up or down.

Related: You'll never pay change or cancellation fees on Southwest

When it comes to Southwest cancellations , here's what you need to know:

  • For award travel, you get your Rapid Rewards points back immediately after you cancel. You will be refunded the points even if you no-show a flight (although it's good form to cancel as courtesy to the airline, and for other passengers who may be waiting standby).
  • For flights paid in cash, you can get a full refund within 24 hours, as with most U.S. airlines; after that, you get the value of your ticket in the form of Southwest credit , which is valid for one year from the date of original booking. You must cancel more than 10 minutes before your scheduled departure time.

Book through an airline offering waivers for travel impacted by coronavirus

A number of airlines have begun offering waivers for travel booked over the next couple of months. If you're planning a trip but have been feeling hesitant over coronavirus concerns, consider booking with one of these airlines.

Here's what you need to know for U.S. airlines flying to Europe ; and here's what you need to know for domestic travel .

Related: These airlines and hotels are offering full refunds for bookings in coronavirus-impacted regions

Note that these waivers apply to travel that hasn't been booked yet; if you have a trip already on the books, consult our guide to independent travel insurance to learn more about your options .

Purchase Freebird flight protection for domestic flights

Freebird essentially works as a "$19 insurance" option for domestic flights: If your flight is canceled or delayed past a certain number of hours, Freebird will book you on the next flight of your choice that's headed to your destination — even if it's on another airline.

Book low-budget flights you don't mind abandoning if necessary

Most frequent fliers don't celebrate low-cost carriers for either comfort or convenience. Instead, budget airlines usually win on one front alone — cost. The reason is simple: If you just need to get from Point A to Point B, a good fare on a low-cost carrier can cost less than a tank of gas. Similarly, if you're planning a trip but don't want to drop cash on a travel insurance plan, purchasing a budget fare may make more sense than paying for a full-fare ticket you may have to abandon.

Book directly through hotels with liberal cancellation policies

Each chain, brand and property has its own rules and guidelines , and sometimes different room rates will even incur varying cancellation times and dates — some lower-cost fares, for instance, often include a nonrefundable clause. Others like to get tricky; sometimes an individual property will request greater advance-notice windows despite its parent company policies. Make sure you read the fine print carefully, and ideally more than once, before hitting "confirm", for peace of mind.

And if unique circumstances are working against you so that last-minute cancellation is inevitable, keep in mind a cardinal rule of travel: It never hurts to ask for what you want (in this case, a refund) — nicely, courteously and with no sense of entitlement for what you hope to accomplish.

Skip third-party agencies

I'm primarily a girl, simply because most of my personal stays are haphazard enough that I don't have the opportunity to build up much elite status. makes it really easy for me to earn points on each of those random nights here and there, and aggregate all of that hard-earned effort into one free night per 10 nights of paid stays.

But when it comes to online travel agencies (OTAs) like, Expedia or Priceline which purchase travel in bulk, these companies have little to no negotiating power with the hotels that actually offer room inventory. Moreover, OTAs aren't as incentivized to help you because if you cancel, they lose out as well, unlike hotels under a chain which at least will want to earn your long-term business. Moreover, most of the best rates through or Expedia will include a nonrefundable clause because you're trading your flexibility for the guarantee that they'll earn your money.

It's important to note that credit card travel portals like Chase Ultimate Rewards , American Express Membership Rewards and Citi Thank You all count as third-party agencies in the eyes of the hotel. Basically, if you didn't purchase your room in person or through a hotel representative or website, you aren't that hotel's direct customer.

So if you need to be able to get out of your travel plans quickly, book directly through the hotel. As mentioned above, you'll have a much better chance of asking for what you want — and getting it.

Use hotel points to book award redemptions with more flexibility

As a general rule, you can get your miles redeposited to your account when you cancel hotel award bookings, as long as you do so enough in advance of your stay. Better yet, most hotels also don't charge redeposit fees on award bookings, unlike airlines.

Like the section above says, most properties require a 48-hour advance notice , but you'll also want to read the fine print carefully here as well.

Try booking an Airbnb instead of a hotel

Hotels across the board tend to be more strict about refunds and no-shows. But individual Airbnb hosts have control over their own cancellation policies.

Related: The best credit cards for booking Airbnbs

You are neither guaranteed nor entitled to a refund in the event that you need to cancel, particularly when it's last-minute. But it never hurts to ask very nicely, and it always helps to offer some kind of explanation, especially if the reason you can't make it is out of your control. For instance, if your flight is canceled and you have no way of getting to your destination, it makes logical sense that you won't be able to make it to your Airbnb.

Tip: Each Airbnb property includes that host's cancellation policy at the very bottom of the listing page.

difference between trip insurance and refundable

You can read more about Airbnb's cancellation policies here .

Rental cars

Book car rentals with free cancellation.

When it comes to booking rental cars , a lot of companies out there want your business. But the industry as a whole can include a lot of hidden fees throughout the booking process, and it isn't always clear what is and isn't mandatory.

Related: Here's how AutoSlash stands out amongst rental car booking sites

Fortunately, you can price-shop and you can generally cancel rental car reservations without penalty, since you don't pay at the time of booking; you pay at pickup. (Of course, this is a great time to read the fine print on your particular booking, just in case.) However, it's still courteous to call and notify the rental car company if you know you won't be picking up the car you reserved. This frees up your designated vehicle for another customer who may need it to get home.

Related: How to score the perfect car rental

Check their cancellation policies or ask for credit toward future trips

As coronavirus fears sweep around the world, cruise companies are offering waivers, no-fee cancellations, deeply discounted sales and credit toward future trips for potential passengers looking to cancel their trips.

Windstar Cruises published a generous new booking policy in late February, allowing travelers cancel their cruises up to 15 days in advance of a trip without paying the [normally steep] cancellation penalties. "The new Travel Assurance Booking Policy is an extra effort to ensure travelers feel comfortable booking a well-deserved cruise vacation now without fearing loss should they need to cancel."

Bottom line

At the end of the day, having to cancel a trip you were excited to take is a huge stinking bummer, regardless of the reason. But following these tips will help ensure that the ache is only felt in your heart — not in your wallet.

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Are plane tickets refundable? Your guide to the refund policies

difference between trip insurance and refundable

If your travel plans aren’t set in stone, you know that buying an ultra-cheap fare could be a gamble. Getting a full refund for a ticket you didn’t use – seems like a great choice when you really need some flexibility. Of course, there are trade-offs between non-refundable and refundable airline tickets. So, how to get a positive answer to the big question: are plane tickets refundable?

In this article

The differences between refundable and non-refundable tickets, understanding refundable airline ticket policies, does travel insurance cover non-refundable flight changes, refundable tickets faqs.

Turbines of an aircraft idling steadily over the runway.

When you buy a non-refundable ticket, if you don’t or can’t fly, the airlines aren’t obliged to give you your money back. Buying a refundable plane ticket lets you cancel your trip and have your money refunded.

What’s the catch? Price. A fully refundable ticket can cost a lot more than a non-refundable one . For instance, I searched a flight from LAX to NYC and found fully refundable fares on one flight that were twice the price of non-refundable ones. Some airlines may also charge a fee to issue your refund, while some may only give you a short window to request it.

Keep in mind that regardless of the type of ticket you buy, if an airline cancels your flight you are entitled to a refund. And in recent years, the major US carriers have done away with change or cancellation fees in many instances, so you can often change your flight and only pay the difference in fare.

Airlines have their own contracts of carriage, which govern how they treat refunds, cancellations, and other events. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) holds the airlines accountable to their own contracts. DOT does, however, maintain some regulations that protect travelers on all airlines.

For instance, the so-called “ 24-hour rule ” allows anyone, even if they hold a non-refundable ticket, to cancel a reservation and receive a full refund within 24 hours of the time they booked the flight, as long as the ticket was purchased at least seven days before the flight’s scheduled departure.

If you look across airline cancellation policies, you’ll see that many mention this 24-hour policy as a bonus or part of their customer commitment. It is, however, a federal requirement. The rule requires airlines to either refund travelers or allow them to hold the fare without paying for the ticket for 24 hours; they’re not required to offer both hold and refund options.

If you decide to cancel your flight and get refunded, you may pay a higher fare if you rebook later. The 24-hour rule only applies if you book your ticket directly with the airline. Beyond this, the general rule is that airlines will refund non-refundable tickets if the cancellation or significant change is their fault, but not if you decide not to fly – even if you get sick.

Common refund policies among major airlines

Young man using laptop in coffee shop writing something

Although federal regulations require airlines to stick to the 24-hour rule, airlines have their own policies about the fees they charge for cancellations. Most airlines offer both refundable and non-refundable tickets. If you buy a non-refundable ticket, you can generally change your travel dates, and some airlines waive change fees. As always, it’s best to check with the carrier’s own policy to see what you’re entitled to.

Are plane tickets refundable on Delta?

Delta sells both refundable and non-refundable tickets on domestic and international flights. You can cancel a non-refundable ticket and Delta won’t charge you a cancellation fee if you have a Delta Main Cabin ticket (i.e above Basic Economy) for travel within the US, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands, or originating in the US and traveling anywhere in the world.

Rather than refunding your money, it will issue you a credit to store for a future flight (just remember that you’ll still have to pay any fare differences on future flights). It does charge cancellation fees on non-refundable tickets in basic economy , or for tickets that originate outside the US, and those fees start at $99.

Always check the airlines’ policies to see if they’ll issue a credit for future travel. But check the terms: Sometimes you’ll have only a certain amount of time to use your credit.

Are plane tickets refundable on American Airlines?

An airplane in flight framed by the continuous curve of a building.

If you bought a refundable ticket on American Airlines , they will process your refund back to your original card within 7 days . Like most other airlines, American does not refund non-refundable tickets, but it does allow you to cancel without a fee and store the value of your ticket as trip credit, which is good for one year from the date of issue.

American doesn’t charge change fees for domestic flights or travel originating in North or South America unless you bought Basic Economy, where no changes are permitted. However, for changes in a ticket originating outside North or South America, they may charge fees up to $750.

Are plane tickets refundable on Frontier?

Frontier Airlines’ policy differs from other carriers in that its tickets are non-refundable . Beyond the federally mandated refund within 24 hours of purchase, Frontier has a strict cancellation policy. If you cancel your ticket after the 24-hour window, you’ll be charged a $99 fee for each direction and the value of your ticket will be held as a credit.

You can add on refundability through Frontier’s bundled “Works” program, which gives you full refundability, a checked bag (which you would normally pay for), reserved seats, and no-fee flight changes. The bundled perks programs start at $99 per direction and vary per ticket. You can only buy them directly from the airline.

A woman standing on a bridge holding a book and using her smartphone.

If you don’t have a fully refundable ticket, you can buy travel insurance that covers things like unexpected illness or family emergencies. Typically, standard travel insurance covers cancellations for a good reason, but not If you simply change your mind. If you’re the type to change on a dime, look for a cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) add-on , which will let you cancel for reasons beyond what most policies cover.

You’ll pay more for these, so it’s a good idea to compare the cost to buying a fully refundable ticket (CFAR often makes the most sense if you’re insuring a trip that includes multiple features, like flight, hotel, cruise, and so on). 

You may also want to check your credit card. If it has trip cancellation and interruption coverage, you could be reimbursed for the non-refundable amount of your trip.

Most airlines offer both refundable and non-refundable plane tickets, and each airline is free to establish its own rules and fees for cancellations and refunds. It’s always best to check an airline’s own policies before booking, as travel agencies or websites may have their own refund rules.

If you’d like more information on booking different kinds of fares or are looking to find out the differences between premium economy vs. economy seats and business class vs. first class flights , don’t forget to check the ultimate flight guide .

Yes, federal law mandates that airlines must give you a refund or hold your purchase within 24 hours of buying your ticket if it’s not for travel within a seven-day period and you bought it directly from the airline.

Consistent with the 24-hour rule, if you see a fare go on sale, you can cancel your ticket and buy a new one at a lower price. Some airlines offer limited price guarantees. Or if your flight is eligible for a free change or cancellation, you can have the airline issue you a travel credit which you then use for a lower-priced ticket.

Only fully refundable tickets will be refunded to your credit card (and some airlines charge a fee for this). Non-refundable tickets can be changed, sometimes with a fee, and their value is usually stored as a credit.

Airlines are not obliged to refund you if you cancel a non-refundable ticket for personal reasons, including being late or getting sick. Learning how early you need to get to the airport can be a life changer.

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How to Use Travel Insurance to Cancel a Flight

Lee Huffman

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

Basic process for travel insurance flight cancellation

Additional tips for travel insurance flight cancellation, if you need to cancel a flight with travel insurance.

Travel insurance can reimburse you for the nonrefundable portion of your flight expenses when you have to cancel a trip due to serious illness, a death in the immediate family, natural disaster or other reason specifically covered by your policy. But to make sure your claim is processed, you need to cancel your flight and file your claim the right way.

If you’ve been wondering how to cancel a flight with travel insurance — here's what you need to do.

The steps necessary to cancel a flight with travel insurance vary by travel insurance company, but many have the same basic process for submitting a claim.

1. Cancel your flight with the airline

Contact the airline to cancel your flight. For most airlines, this can be done online, through its app or by calling customer service. The airline isn't concerned about whether or not you have travel insurance protections.

» Learn more: Airline travel insurance vs. independent travel insurance: Which is right for you?

2. Determine the amount of your claim

When you cancel a plane ticket, you may be entitled to a refund of some or all of your ticket price. Travel insurance reimburses you for the nonrefundable portions of your affected travel plans; your claim amount is the price of your nonrefundable travel plans minus refunds that you have received, up to your eligible limits.

3. Start your claim

Claims can be started online or over the telephone with most travel insurance providers. Some allow you to submit your claim through their mobile app. To get started, have your policy information and travel details handy.

» Learn more: The majority of Americans plan to travel in 2022

4. Review the claim documentation checklist

Travel insurance companies often provide a checklist of documents you’ll need to process your claim. Gather all of the documents required by the insurance company, even if you don't understand why it is asking for them.

5. Submit your supporting documents

Once you have the documents, submit them to the travel insurance company for its review. It's best to submit all of the information at once, rather than piecemeal, so that the claims adjuster can quickly make a decision.

6. Respond to additional requests right away

If the insurance company requests additional documents or information, respond as quickly as possible. If too much time passes, your claim could be denied.

» Learn more: The best credit cards for travel insurance benefits

Here are tips for dealing with a trip cancellation to make the process as smooth as possible.

Determine if you're canceling for a covered reason. A common question travelers have when they need to cancel a trip is: Can I cancel my flight with travel insurance? Depending on your policy, the answer may be yes. With many trip insurance policies, you can expect to get reimbursed only if you cancel for a covered reason, like serious illness, terrorist attack or death in the immediate family. Review your policy to determine what reasons are eligible for coverage.

Document everything and save all receipts. Save all of your receipts, emails and other items related to the trip. Keep a journal of all communications with the airlines, your doctor (if applicable), the insurance agency and anyone else related to your claim. Consider scanning and backing up your documents in case they are lost.

Call your doctor if you’re sick. You may not be feeling well, but can you prove you are sick enough that a reasonable person would need to cancel the flight? A doctor’s advice that you cancel your trip can help prove that your travel insurance claim is valid.

Contact your travel insurance company right away. You should start your travel insurance claim as quickly as possible. If you don't submit your claim and supporting documentation within the required timeframe, your claim will be denied.

Consider rescheduling your flight. After the pandemic struck, many airlines dropped the fees for changing flights . If you are planning to make this trip in the near future, contact the airline to ask about rescheduling your flight. This could be quicker and easier than trying to get reimbursed through insurance.

Remember that travel companions might be covered, too. Review your travel policy to see if it covers travel companions as well.

Buy the right insurance coverage from the get-go. The most flexible types of plans are Cancel For Any Reason, or CFAR plans; you can avoid a lot of phone calls and proof-of-coverage demands by purchasing CFAR policies.

Travel insurance offers protection in case you need to cancel a flight. Follow the steps carefully and document everything to prevent the insurance company from denying your claim.

Before canceling, discuss your situation with the airline to see if you can cancel or reschedule your flight without incurring a fee. This may be quicker and easier than submitting a claim through your travel insurance provider.

To file a trip cancellation claim on travel insurance, contact your insurance provider online, through its app or by phone. They will provide detailed instructions on how to submit your claim, including what documentation they'll need based on your reason for filing a claim.

In many cases, yes, you can cancel your flight and be reimbursed if you have an eligible reason for canceling. You may not cancel the flight because you've changed your mind. You must have a valid reason that is detailed in your travel insurance policy.

Travel insurance reimburses the cost of nonrefundable travel plans if you need to cancel your flight for a covered reason. To receive reimbursement, you must file a claim and submit supporting documentation that validates your eligibility to receive reimbursement.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

75,000 Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

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Refundable vs. Non-Refundable Airline Tickets: Which One to Choose?

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If you’re like most people, when it comes to booking an airline ticket, you see the option of booking a refundable or non-refundable airline ticket and hesitate deciding which one to choose.

Refundable airline tickets tend to be much more expensive, so you no doubt go for the cheaper option.

But is purchasing a non-refundable ticket the right choice, or should you splurge and enjoy the security of a refundable ticket?

Table of Contents

  • 1.1 1. You Have an Unpredictable Schedule
  • 1.2 2. You Have a Business
  • 1.3 3. You Want to Upgrade
  • 3 Non-Refundable Tickets Are Sometimes Refundable
  • 4 Buying a Refundable Ticket vs. Travel Insurance

Why You Should Buy Refundable Airline Tickets

1. you have an unpredictable schedule.

If you have an unpredictable schedule, such as needing to travel around a sick relative or a family member who is due to give birth but are unsure exactly when, it can be beneficial to be able to have that flexibility when you need to change your plans at the last minute.

2. You Have a Business

If you have a business, you know that meetings and priorities can change, sometimes at the drop of the hat.

So yourself or your employees may occasionally need to be able to make changes and cancellations at the last minute with as little hassle as possible.

3. You Want to Upgrade

Airlines prioritize certain consumers when it comes to upgrades, namely travelers who spend more with the airline.

If you purchased a refundable ticket, you are more likely to be able to obtain an upgrade.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Refundable Airline Tickets

The main reason not to buy refundable airline tickets is due to their high price.

Refundable airline tickets can cost at least 4x the price of non-refundable tickets.

Considering that the vast majority of travelers fly as intended when they book a ticket, it simply isn’t worth it for most.

Non-Refundable Tickets Are Sometimes Refundable

In some instances, non-refundable airline tickets are refundable – in the sense that you will receive your money back and not just a travel voucher from the airline.

  • If your flight is cancelled or “significantly” delayed, you are entitled to a cash refund.
  • If you booked your ticket at least seven days before departure, you can cancel the ticket within 24 hours of booking and receive a full refund.

Buying a Refundable Ticket vs. Travel Insurance

In many instances, it is better to purchase travel insurance instead of refundable airline tickets, as these tickets can cost 4x as much as non-refundable tickets.

The caveat is that a standard travel insurance policy only covers some reasons for cancellations, and there are several insurance exclusions you should know about before buying a policy.

Instead, you can add a Cancel For Any Reason upgrade to your insurance, which is true to name, and allows you to cancel in the event you don’t want to or can’t fly for any reason.

Keep in mind that not every trip insurer offers Cancel For Any Reason insurance, though.

Additionally, CFAR insurance:

  • Won’t reimburse you with 100% of the price of the ticket (50-75%)
  • A flight needs to be canceled no later than two days before scheduled departure
  • You have a limited number of days after purchasing a non-refundable ticket to add the CFAR option.

Ella Dunham

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).

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Hopefully someone can help. I’m getting a bunch of different answers on google. I’m very confused.

difference between trip insurance and refundable

"Is it worth it to buy trip insurance with non refundable that is offered with purchase? or buy refundable? What is difference between the two??"

That all depends on what is covered by the trip insurance - not everything is covered

As a rule I don't buy insurance from the people supplying the goods or service - it can lead to a conflict of interest.

In your situation I'd probably spend the extra $100 for the refundable ticket for piece of mind.

One key question is where is he planning to purchase all this from?

>> I’m aware Non Refundable gives you nothing back but a credit good for a year from purchase date<<

If you're purchasing from a third party ticket seller (Expedia, eDreams, Kiwi, Priceline, etc), things can be even more complicated. You have to look very closely at whatever "Flexible" ticket service they are offering as it can have a very narrow scope as to what it really covers and how it can be used. In those cases you aren't really getting a flexible airline ticket, but an add-on rebooking service by the ticket seller.

Similarly for trip insurance, you have to look very carefully at what the policy says it covers. Sometimes "Cancel any time" insurance is offered. While you really can cancel at anytime, there may only be certain events that the insurance covers, like sickness or death in the family.

I would highly recommend to only purchase directly from the airline .

Above has bingo:

Don't buy insurance from the company selling you air tickets. Or selling you any product or service. It is at best overpriced, but very likely doesn't cover what you think it covers. Only buy insurance from insurance companies.

To poster #1, thank you I think refundable tickets is way to go. It’s not crazy expensive to do so.

Just the insurance sounds like too much fine print and loopholes.

Insurance is the same thing. They pay big lawyers to try and find them as many loopholes to deny people payments on the insurance. This is for the benefit of their stock holders and not their insured.

What is refundable on OTA mean?

difference between trip insurance and refundable

'refundable as OTA' is just three words, but as Amo said there is a difference between booking with a third party and booking with the carrier.

Adding an agent to the purchase means adding their terms and conditions to those of the provider. Unless you must use an agent - and you've indicated you don't - then it's the carrier's fare rules and terms that will dictate what ticket you buy.

Carriers are making it pretty clear what they're offering with each ticket type. I never read the fine print for excess baggage or travelling with sports equipment because they don't apply to my booking, but in a case like yours I'd take care to read the applicable terms before buying any ticket.

Thanks everyone!

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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difference between trip insurance and refundable

Trip Protection and Travel Insurance: Are They the Same Thing?

Trip Protection and Travel Insurance: Are They the Same Thing?

Used interchangeably, the two phrases are technically dissimilar. So, the industry is still educating travel agents about the differences. Photo: Shutterstock

If you asked the average travel agent and traveler to describe the difference between travel protection and travel insurance, you probably would get as many different answers as the different individuals you spoke to.

Posing the question to Google, you won’t find easy answers. Travel Insurance Review, one of the highest results on Google’s Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for the question, directs the user to a page discussing the difference between travel insurance and travel assistance.

A page from the Generali Global Assistance website says, “Travel protection plans provide assistance services in addition to insurance coverages.” (Generali offers services like emergency assistance services, on-demand medical care, and identity theft resolution.)

But depending on who is offering the coverage and how they are applying it, definitions abound. “People are confused about travel insurance,” said Geoff Millar, co-owner of Ultimate Travel, in Gilbert, Arizona. “There are so many types out there, and each one can be a little different in what they do or don't cover.”

“I think many agents are confused about insurance, let alone clients,” said Helen Prochilo, owner, Promal Vacations.

A recent article by consumer advocate Christopher Elliott points out the level of confusion.

“Travel insurance is an actual insurance product underwritten by large insurance companies and regulated by state insurance agencies,” Elliott writes, while trip protection plans have traditionally been much riskier propositions for consumers, and could be full of exclusions.

A trip protection plan – which could be offered by an online travel agency, a tour operator, or other travel company – might only cover a portion of a trip and not reimburse a traveler for a cancellation, instead issuing a credit for future travel.

Bud Geissler, Travel Insured’s national group sales account manager, has been in travel for more than 20 years, including 18 years working with student group tours – and he can attest to Elliott’s main points.

“The massive disruption on 9/11 started the travel and tour industry down a path of product innovation,” Geissler told Travel Market Report. Since that day, he has witnessed both tour operators and insurance companies realizing there were gaps in coverage that an event like grounding all airlines didn’t cover. Over time, the industry began to layer in more “travel protection” that wasn’t related directly to reimbursing someone for a canceled tour or airline tickets they couldn’t use.

“While we might provide a refund to a traveler because flights were grounded, what about elements of a trip that weren’t part of a tour package, like admissions to museums, or tickets for a musical or play?” Geissler recalled. As insurance and “protection plans” evolved, the differences weren’t always made clear to agents and consumers, Geissler said.

In his recent article, Elliott noted how, in many cases, “protection plans were backed by tour operators instead of highly rated insurance underwriters. So, if a tour operator ran into financial difficulties, it might mean your trip ‘protection’ was worthless.” Consumers are still digging themselves out of personal experiences that may have incorrectly influenced their understanding of the terms.

Another contributing factor, Millar believes, is that because travel insurance is well-regulated, many travel insurance companies want to dissuade travel advisors from getting too deep into the details of insurance plans.

“There have been many issues between agents and clients concerning travel insurance – what it covers or does not cover. Some of those issues have led to lawsuits,” Millar said.

There are distinctions So, what are the differences? For traditional insurance companies “the simplest answer is that travel protection is inclusive of insurance,” said Joe Mason, chief marketing officer, Allianz Partners.

“Let’s start with travel insurance. If you’re coming over to visit me in Paris, and something comes up and you can’t make the trip, you’re glad you have travel insurance, because you would be reimbursed if your cancellation is due to a covered reason,” Mason said.

“Now, once the plane leaves the runway, the broader elements of travel protection come into play,” Mason said, continuing to use his Paris example to describe the differences.

“You get to Paris, but you get sick a few days in, and you need to go to a hospital. Or work says they need you back, and you have to return home earlier than your original return date. Or there is an unsafe situation, and you need assistance on the ground. All of these would fall under travel protection.”

Mason believes consumers are increasingly viewing broader “travel insurance” services as part of their overall “travel protection coverage” because of products like Allianz’s TravelSmart app.

“TravelSmart has helped us reveal the benefits because they are more readily accessible, have more functionality and utility, right there in the traveler’s hand,” Mason said. “More consumers are understanding the value proposition goes broader.”

Allianz works through the media, influencers, and travel agents to better educate consumers about travel insurance in general, said Dan Durazo, Allianz director, marketing and communications, USA. “It’s not a fast process,” he said.

“Do we think that we have completely educated travel agents and consumers? I don’t think so,” Mason added. “I think there is a lot more room for us to expand the conversation.”

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difference between trip insurance and refundable

Your Trip Didn't Go As Planned? Here's How To File A Claim With Your Travel Insurance

L et's paint an all too familiar picture. You've been carefully planning that dream trip and mapping out each detail, from flights to hotels. But life, as it often does, throws a curveball. Suddenly, you're dealing with lost luggage, a non-refundable hotel room you can't use, or -- to make matters worse -- an unexpected illness.

That's when buying travel insurance comes into play, a financial safety net for unexpected trip cancellations, medical emergencies, or lost luggage. Travel insurance can make the difference between a total loss and a simple mishap while ensuring you're not left out in the cold and footing the bill.

But filing a claim with your travel insurance company can send you for a spin, especially when you're already dealing with the stress of disrupted travel plans. That's why understanding how, when, and where to file a claim when things go haywire is so important -- and might even increase your chances of getting that money back.

Filing A Travel Insurance Claim

With its fine print, novel-long contracts, and industry jargon, understanding your travel insurance policy can be daunting. Luckily, most providers are clear about what they cover and don't from the get-go. As a rule of thumb, generic travel insurance plans typically take care of baggage delays or losses, accidental death, medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and non-refundable bookings. Beyond that, more comprehensive policies like the ones by World Nomads and Allianz can also cover adventure sports, car collisions, and pre-existing conditions.

Once you've figured out if your situation qualifies within the scope of your plan, the most important thing is to file a claim quickly and efficiently. Many insurance providers impose strict deadlines -- often within 20 to 90 days of the incident, which means time is of the essence! Contact your travel insurance provider immediately after an incident to notify them and express your intention to file a claim.

Then, gather all the necessary documentation to back up what you've told them. This may include everything from medical records to police reports, receipts, confirmation emails, or any other paperwork that support your claim. After submitting your case and paperwork, you can expect to hear back from your provider within two weeks on whether or not your claim has been accepted and when you can expect to receive reimbursement.

Choosing The Right Travel Insurance Provider

When it comes to choosing a travel insurance provider, it's not as simple as picking the plan with the lowest premium. Let's face it: cheap travel insurance isn't always better, and it's worth paying a little extra to make sure you're properly being looked after. After all, peace of mind while traveling is priceless, and the right travel insurance provider can provide just that.

Using comparison tools like SquareMouth , take your time to dive deep into each policy to see what's covered and what's not, and to learn more about the insurer's reputation, their claim handling process, and the flexibility of their plans.

Lastly, don't hesitate to ask questions. If you're unsure about anything, contact the provider for clarification. At the end of the day, the right travel insurance provider won't just sell you a policy -- they'll take the time to educate and support you, so you can be confident about your coverage and jet off without a worry.

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    5. Re: Trip Insurance vs. Refundable Ticket. 2 years ago. If you are booking you must book direct with the airlines as just because the fare with the airline is totally refundable an OTA can modify that to make it hard to collect a refund giving you only a partial refund, or even no refund. Insurance is the same thing.

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    The differences between refundable and non-refundable tickets. When you buy a non-refundable ticket, if you don't or can't fly, the airlines aren't obliged to give you your money back. ... Typically, standard travel insurance covers cancellations for a good reason, but not If you simply change your mind. If you're the type to change on ...

  7. What is the difference between refundable ticket and trip insurance

    When deciding between a refundable ticket and trip insurance, several factors come into play. Consider the cost of the ticket or insurance, the likelihood of changes or cancellations to your travel plans, the coverage provided by trip insurance, and your own individual risk tolerance.

  8. What Is Flight Insurance and Is It Worth It?

    Standard travel insurance policies with pre- and post-departure benefits compensate you for trip costs, including non-refundable plane tickets, if you cancel a trip for reasons covered in your policy.

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    COST $1400 to change the trip on top of the initial cost of $3180.00 = $4580.00. Or i can use the discount tickets with the insurance. So, $200 Insurance. $600 Cost of new more expensive ticket after insurance payment. $0 for the non-refundable part of the Budapest accommodations after insurance pays off.

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  22. Trip Insurance vs. Refundable Ticket

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    It is hard not to ignore the savings possible by opting for a travel insurance airfare hack though. By selecting the $255 economy fare that is non-refundable, and then purchasing travel insurance that will cost between $45 and $65, you spend no more than $320 instead of $1,997. Quite a difference in price! We would suggest you opt for insurance ...

  26. Travel alerts

    View our Travel Alerts page for the most up-to-date information about your flight options. ... You can reschedule your trip and we'll waive change fees and fare differences. But, your new flight must be a United flight departing between January 6, 2024 and January 15, 2024. ... you can get a full refund. View your trip. Northeast Winter Weather.