Recovering Costs of an Unexpected Trip Cancellation


Last year we had to unexpectedly cancel our honeymoon trip to Hong Kong and Singapore due to my father’s death.  Luckily we used our Capital One credit card which had trip cancellation insurance to book our airfare and hotels.

Costs that I tried to recover:

  • Airfare to Hong Kong: $2,212.32 – Provided credit by the airline for future use
  • Hotel in Hong Kong; $784.54 – Hotwire refunded the amount to my credit card
  • Airfare and Hotel in Singapore: $1,504.00 – Claimed through credit card insurance
  • Hotel in Hong Kong: $297.58  – Claimed through credit card insurance

Things to do and expect when trying to recover cost of an unexpected trip cancellation:

1. Do your due diligence: 

Call the airline or hotel or (Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity if you used them).  Even if you purchased trip insurance, I found that it was way faster to get a refund from the airline and hotel rather than waiting to hear from the travel insurance.    Also if you didn’t purchase trip cancellation insurance, people at the airline/ hotel are usually quite understanding when you explain to them your situation.

My flight was going to leave within 48 hours when I cancelled it.  When I explained my situation to the airline,  they were nice enough to provide me with a credit that I can use with their airline for my future flights.

I booked my hotel in Hong Kong through Hotwire and I called them right away explaining the situation.  All they needed was a death certificate to confirm that it was the reason why I could not make it onto the trip.  Within a month, I got my refund.

2. Get all the paperwork sorted:

When dealing with insurance companies, it is always a good idea to provide them with ALL the documentation they need to approve your claim.  Try not to send them bits and pieces of documents as it will take even longer for them to process your claim.

I pretty much provided them a package of all everything they’ve requested with a cover letter:

  • The Trip Cancellation Claim Form
  • Proof that payment is made by the credit card: I provided them with my credit card statement and highlighted the relevant information
  • Invoices / Receipts from the airline company for the Singapore trip
  • Correspondence to the airline company for the Singapore trip and hotel that I tried to recover cost them from them, but failed so I am resorting to the credit card insurance to cover my loss
  • Death Certificate

If everything is clearly set out for the insurance company, the adjuster will have an easier time figuring out how much they need to pay you pack and expedite the claim a wee bit faster.

3. Do not expect a quick refund from the insurance company

To give you an idea of the timeline of when my claim was processed, I submitted my paperwork to the insurance company in November 2013.  I didn’t receive the cheque for the expenses I claimed until March 2014.   I waited until January before I started calling the insurance company to check on the status of my claim.  It is a good idea to check your status every now and then so they know that you are waiting for your refund.

Just be prepared that you won’t receive your refund immediately. 

Have you dealt with insurance companies, hotels, airlines or Expedia, when you need to cancel your trip last minute?  Were you able to recover your costs from them?


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