Canceled your travel plans? Here’s what to know when making travel insurance claims

Travel insurance is very important, especially for travel outside of Canada.

There are different types of insurance coverage available, including trip cancellation, trip interruption and medical insurance.

Some people rely on travel insurance policies they have through their credit cards and banks, while others purchase additional insurance coverage by contacting travel insurers directly. Coverage can also be added as a line item when purchasing a trip with a travel agent or through an online travel company.

Travel insurance is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended because it provides protection in the event of an emergency, such as injury or illness, trip cancellation, or trip interruption.

Trip cancellation claims due to COVID-19

As travel advisories and the spread of the new coronavirus ramped up earlier this year, Canadians began to cancel their trips and put in claims with their travel insurers for reimbursement of their trip expenses. Instead of paying out claims, however, insurers began issuing blanket denials on the basis that credits and vouchers were made available by airlines, resorts, cruise lines and other vendors.

Story continues below advertisement

Many people have questioned insurers’ reasoning and begun seeking legal advice. As an insurance lawyer, I have personally spoken with quite a few distressed individuals who cannot understand why their travel insurance provider has denied their claims. Clearly credits and vouchers are not the same thing as reimbursement for paid expenses.

The email you need for the day’s top news stories from Canada and around the world.

READ MORE: What to know about your long-term disability rights in the age of COVID-19

My trip cancellation claim has been denied. What should I do?

First, look at your specific travel insurance policy. An insurer can only refuse to pay a trip cancellation claim if the policy explicitly allows it to deny payment on the basis of an express exclusion in the policy, or if the criteria for coverage have not been satisfied.

If the policy does not expressly state that being able to receive credit and vouchers makes a policyholder ineligible for reimbursement for trip cancellation expenses under the policy, arguably the insurer must pay the claim.

People who are entitled to compensation under their travel policies have legal options. It’s important to understand those options and the time limits for exercising them.

READ MORE: Fighting a disability claim denial during COVID-19? Here’s how to choose the right lawyer

Story continues below advertisement

Restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 mean the travel industry is on the rise, and that has placed tremendous pressure on insurers to pay claimants all over the world. Although travel insurance claims are often modest in comparison with other types of insurance claims, such as business-interruption claims, they are nevertheless valid and actionable.

Travel insurance policies were intended to provide peace of mind to individuals. It is only right that insurers honor their obligations and pay legitimate claims, or risk legal sanctions.

Have you or someone you know put in a trip-cancellation insurance claim and been denied due to the availability of a credit or voucher? Find out if you are owed compensation by filling out this form.

Contact Sivan or call 1-855-821-5900 in Ontario or British Columbia. Get the advice you need — and the compensation you deserve.

Sivan Tumarkin is an insurance and disability lawyer and partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLPone of Canada’s leading law firms specializing in disability claims and employment law.