Does anyone have any experience using "cancel for any reason" travel insurance (in particular in the UK)?

My girlfriend and I are looking at booking a holiday for later this year, with the catch that if for some reason she were to need to resit her final year university exams, we wouldn't be able to travel during the window we have available.

Our key questions are:

  • What costs are typically recoverable using these insurance policies?
  • How much do they typically cost?
  • Are there reputable brokers to buy these products from?
  • 5
    A quick search seems to indicate that this type of service is not available in the UK, though I haven't searched extensively. Also, where it exists (in the US), the cost is high, you only get 50-75% back, and there are all sorts of conditions (cancel only in the first few weeks after buying, etc). Not sure it would be worth it. You may want to check for refundable fares and hotels instead. Even with the added cost and possible penalties, semi-flexibles fares are probably a better deal.
    – jcaron
    Jan 11, 2019 at 16:22
  • 1
    Looks like it will be better not to book yet and wait till she knows whether she needs to retake the exams. You will then still be able to book a holiday, as a last minute, or travel with only the minimum of booking ahead. Many options to have holidays without booking months in advance.
    – Willeke
    Jan 11, 2019 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


It is usually possible to book hotels with the possibility to cancel although this may incur an extra charge. In my experience this is usually a premium of 10-20%.

For the air fare (assuming you are flying) cancellable fares are usually much more expensive. You could always book a fully refundable fare now to guarantee your flight and then when she passes her exams cancel it and re-book a non-refundable fare which will probably be more expensive by then but you cannot win them all.

(This mostly expands on what @jcaron suggests in comment but I have given more detail)


"Cancel for any reason" policies are rare and even if you find one, they tend to be very expensive and only refund a portion (usually half) of the trip cost.

Rough estimate: You can expect to pay around 10%-20% of the total trip price as a premium and to cover half of the trip price as "cancel for any reason".

So unless, there is a high chance of you having to cancel, this does not make financial sense.

  • There is too much moral hazard for insurers to want to provide full coverage in these situations. The solution is booking cancellable or refundable arrangements, or taking the risk oneself. Jan 11, 2019 at 19:35
  • @JimMacKenzie I don't understand your use of the word "moral." Offering such insurance carries risk, and I can easily understand that the varieties of traveler motivations and desires would make assessment of the risk in offering this coverage very difficult. But what's "moral" about the issue? Feb 26, 2019 at 16:14
  • 3
    @David this term has nothing to do with morality, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_hazard
    – JonathanReez
    Feb 26, 2019 at 17:24
  • I can confirm that this is what I intended. Moral hazard is simply where having insurance can affect the behaviour of consumers. If you knew someone would cover the entire cost of cancelling your trip just because you changed your mind, you'd be more likely to do so. Moral hazard is very difficult for insurers to protect against economically. Feb 26, 2019 at 19:24

I guess this is a bit late in the day, but if you book your flights with lastminute.com then they offer CFAR insurance as an option - they call it FullyFlex. It costs about 10% of the cost of the flight (which if you book a budget flight without any frills, often doesnt amount to that much) and it will refund you 90% of the flight in the event that you choose to cancel without reason. The refund is a voucher to spend on lastminute.com, but given that they sell flights for most airlines (and hotels etc), is fairly usable. I have used this in the past and cancelled, the process if fairly swift, I request the cancellation and voucher, a few hours later I have it and it is valid for a year I think. So if you are <90% certain that you will take the flight, then (IMO) it is worth it.

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