You may have had this experience when planning a trip: after surfing through too many stale hotel photos, you land upon the perfect bed and breakfast. Suddenly, your run-of-the-mill vacation becomes something next level. Riding the excitement, you click "book now."
But what happens if an emergency gets in the way, and you have to cancel? You may be heartbroken, and, depending on your insurance policy, out quite a bit of cash. Even if you cancel for an insured reason, your policy might not cover your prepaid expenses for alternative accommodations.
What Qualifies as "Accommodation"?
It may seem perplexing that a travel insurance policy would not cover every type of accommodation. But it makes a bit more sense when you consider all the different places you could stay on your vacation.
They range from a chain hotel to a private bed and breakfast, a suite listed on a home-sharing site, or even a distant relative who's giving you a temporary roof in exchange for payment of expenses.
For insurance companies, it can be a fine point that determines whether or not they pay out your prepaid accommodation charges in the event of cancellation. A hotel would certainly qualify, but what about the others?
Some policies will cover the costs of any commercial establishment. Others require that the lodging have an official license or other certification that they are legally allowed to rent out space to paying customers.
To keep your bases covered, read the fine print when comparing policies. Better yet, since the wording isn't always clear, give the insurer a call so you understand your protection.
How Else Are You Covered?
Of course, if you have to cancel your trip, you don't always have to rely on insurance to get your money back. Often, the first and best resource to get back in the black on your trip expenses is the property itself. If you don't have any luck going that route, you can claim on your insurance.
With enough notice, many hoteliers or hosts will refund some or all of your deposit. This can vary significantly from location to location, with some requiring only a modest cancellation fee and others leaving you on the hook for a percentage of your planned stay.
Homesharing sites like Airbnb have their own cancellation policies. If you are forced to cancel because of circumstances beyond your control, the home-sharing site may waive the cancellation penalty.
Many hospitality companies rely on guests to keep them in business, so they will have set guidelines surrounding cancellations. The best way to protect yourself is to know the cancellation policy in advance. You can be proactive and buy an insurance policy that will reimburse you, even if you are stuck with a large bill.
Get the Best Rates on Travel Insurance
To get started with trip planning, you can check out travel insurance quotes on Rates.ca. You can find the best prices on the most comprehensive package that meets your needs. Then you can relax and plan to enjoy that bed and breakfast.