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What Is Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Travel Insurance?

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When planning a big trip, you might consider getting Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance, or CFAR.  

Whether you’re unsure about finances, travel conditions, exposure to illness, or anything else, CFAR policies provide protection when you’re concerned about cancellation for something standard policies don’t cover.

While having the ability to cancel a trip for any reason and get your money back sounds appealing, there are some drawbacks to CFAR policies. Thus, you’ll want to ask a lot of questions about it and decide if it’s worth the cost to cover your trip.

Here’s my take on CFAR trip cancellation coverage as someone who has bought, made claims against, and sold travel insurance. 

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What Is Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Travel Insurance?

Cancel for Any Reason travel insuranceis an optional cancel upgrade allowing you to cancel your trip for any reason that the policy doesn’t otherwise cover. 

For example, suppose you booked a cruise to visit the eastern Caribbean. But then, a hurricane made ports inaccessible, so the cruise line changed it to a western Caribbean itinerary, and now you don’t want to go because you’ve already been to that part of the world.

If you have the Cancel For Any Reason benefit, that’s not a problem. This type of travel insurance plan gives you the highest level of cancellation flexibility — you can cancel your trip just because. But though it has virtually no exclusions, it comes with a higher premium cost and some key rules to activate the coverage.

How CFAR Travel Insurance Works

When you buy CFAR travel insurance, you can cancel the trip for any or no reason at all. However, while a covered trip cancellation pays a 100% refund, CFAR reimbursement is between 50% and 75% of the covered trip cost.

Adding CFAR to your travel protection policy adds an extra 40% to 50% to your policy premium. The exact cost varies by insurance company.

Before you assume you’re eligible for CFAR, check that your insurer actually offers it and that it’s available in your area. Not every policy or insurance company offers CFAR, and residents of some states, like New York and Washington, may not be eligible at all. 

Likewise, some insurers may offer CFAR with one travel insurance product but not another even though both are sold in the same state. Always read the fine print on your policy and ask your agent or the insurer’s customer support team if you’re not sure whether you can add CFAR coverage.

CFAR Eligibility Requirements

Typically, CFAR plans require that you:

  • Buy the policy with CFAR upgrade within 10 to 21 days of booking
  • Cover the total trip cost
  • Cancel the trip at least two or three days before the departure date

Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these stipulations.

Buy Early

If you’re considering CFAR, buy it as soon as you start making hotel reservations, booking flights, or paying deposits. If you book a deposit on a trip you’re not sure you want to take and put off buying travel insurance until the final payment is due, you could be out of luck.

Because each insurer’s time frame varies between 10 and 21 days, check the policy’s timeline before booking travel arrangements.

Cover Full Trip Cost

You don’t need to estimate the full trip cost if you only paid a deposit and still have a final payment and flights to add later.

However, once you start paying for other non-refundable arrangements, you must add those costs to the CFAR policy within 14 to 21 days of each subsequent payment. Increase the policy coverage as you go. Insurers may deny a claim if you only covered the deposit and not the final payment.

Covered travel arrangements may include airfare, hotels, cruises, excursions, train passes, rental cars, and transfers. Check with your insurer to find out what you can cover and how long you have to add the costs to the policy.

Cancel Early

CFAR insurance won’t help if you cancel at the last minute. Notify your travel providers at least two or three days before your scheduled departure that you need to cancel. Check your policy for the exact requirements.

What CFAR Covers

Cancel For Any Reason is designed to fill the gap between covered reasons and all other reasons for canceling your travel plans.

When you buy travel insurance with CFAR, you still have access to the covered cancellation reasons like illness or death in the family. If a covered situation occurs, you can still file a claim for a 100% refund.

CFAR provides an additional layer of protection if something happens that’s not named in the policy — or you simply decide you don’t want to travel anymore. In such cases, you can still get a partial refund if you cancel the trip.

CFAR Reimbursement

CFAR never reimburses 100% for cancellation. Only a covered cancellation has a 100% reimbursement. Most policies refund 75% of your trip costs, although a handful return just 50%.

If your tour, cruise or flight provides a future credit voucher for cancellation, insurers consider that reimbursement. Thus, if you file a CFAR claim, make sure to refuse or void those vouchers and provide the insurer with documentation proving you’ve done so. 

Filing a claim for CFAR is straightforward. Provide statements and receipts showing how much money you paid and lost on the trip expenses. There’s no need to provide additional documentation like a doctor’s report or medical records, unless you canceled for a medical reason. If you did, the insurer might reimburse your full trip costs.

CFAR vs IFAR

Some Cancel for Any Reason policies also have an Interruption for Any Reason (IFAR) benefit. While CFAR lets you cancel and receive a 75% refund in most cases, IFAR lets you return from a trip early and receive a 75% refund of the unused prepaid trip costs. 

For example, suppose you booked a two-week resort stay. After four days, you decide the resort doesn’t live up to the promises its website made and want to return home immediately. Since the trip already started, CFAR expired and standard travel insurance doesn’t cover this situation. Instead, IFAR gives you the flexibility to end a trip prematurely and get some money back.

Some policies include IFAR with the CFAR add-on by default, such as Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector and IMG iTravelInsured Travel LX. 

Alternatively, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice has the option to add either CFAR, IFAR, or both. Its IFAR fee is a nominal 3% fee compared to the 42% CFAR upcharge. 

Finally, you must get IFAR shortly after your initial trip deposit, just like CFAR. Typically, you must be at least two to three days into your trip to use IFAR. Again, always look at the policy’s fine print. Some insurers like Nationwide don’t offer IFAR with every CFAR option, and many cap the IFAR benefit between $250 or $1,000. 

Pros & Cons of CFAR Travel Insurance

Weighing whether CFAR travel insurance is right for your trip is an important process. These are a few of the pros and cons to consider.

Pros Cons
You don’t need a reason to cancel Must buy early
Easy claims process Expensive
Some CFAR plans also have IFAR  Must cover the total trip cost
Reimburses 100% for covered cancellations Not all states allow CFAR plans
Maximum peace of mind Partial reimbursement for cancellations not covered by standard trip insurance (50% to 75%)

Pros of CFAR Coverage

No one wants to cancel a trip. But if you need to cancel for a reason not covered by your standard trip cancelation coverage, CFAR can help. Here’s why you might want the added travel protection. 

  1. You Don’t Need a Reason to Cancel. Whether you have a good reason or just don’t want to travel, CFAR does not require you to have a reason to cancel. You just have to follow the guidelines about when to buy the policy and cancel your trip.
  2. Easy Claims Process. Because CFAR does not require you to justify why you canceled, you do not need to contact medical, legal or government offices to get documentation. 
  3. Some Plans Have Interruption for Any Reason. Some insurance companies also include IFAR with their CFAR upgrade. If you are on a trip and want to return home early for a reason not covered in the policy, IFAR provides a partial reimbursement.
  4. Reimburses 100% for Covered Cancellations. When you buy a CFAR upgrade, it does not override the covered cancellation reasons. CFAR acts as a catch-all if you cancel for some reason not already named in the policy. If a family member dies unexpectedly, it’s covered.
  5. Maximum Peace of Mind. CFAR gives concerned travelers the maximum peace of mind knowing they won’t lose all of their money for a non-covered cancellation if the trip does not look feasible.

Cons of CFAR Coverage

CFAR travel insurance might be right for some trips, but not others. These are the biggest drawbacks of this type of trip insurance.

  1. Must Buy Early. CFAR benefits are time-sensitive, so you must commit to buying it when you initially buy the travel insurance policy and as soon as you make the initial trip payment. You can’t upgrade to CFAR later because you suddenly have a potential cancellation you want covered.
  2. Expensive. Adding CFAR to your travel insurance can increase your premium by 40% to 50%. Before enrolling, ensure it makes sense for your trip.
  3. Must Cover All Prepaid Travel Costs. CFAR does not allow you to cherry pick which travel costs you want to designate as CFAR. It’s all or nothing. Thus, if you’re only concerned about being able to cancel a cruise and not the flights, you’ll have to cover everything.
  4. Not All States Have CFAR. CFAR is not available in all states. Also, it’s common for insurers to offer CFAR in some states and not others. 
  5. Partial Reimbursement. You won’t get 100% of your money back with CFAR. It only provides a partial reimbursement between 50% and 75% of your trip costs.

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Do You Need CFAR Travel Insurance?

Although I don’t always opt for it, I’ve bought CFAR travel insurance for several trips and I’m always glad I did. 

When I planned a family holiday cruise 10 months ahead of sailing, I wanted CFAR. Coordinating six people’s schedules comes with uncertainty in the best of times. In my case, it definitely paid off. 

The coronavirus pandemic started up a month after I paid the deposit. Even after postponing the trip a year and a half, we decided it was still too risky to travel for fear of my mother getting COVID-19, so we canceled. When I filed the claim, I only had to prove what I paid and how much was lost. 

If the pandemic has taught us anything about travel risks, it’s that anything can happen and none of it’s foreseeable:

  • Fear of pandemics
  • Fear of travel
  • War
  • Mental illness that does not qualify for a covered cancellation — usually, the insurer wants proof of hospitalization
  • Political upheaval
  • Logistical issues, such as not being able to find a pet sitter
  • Bad weather
  • Losing your job and wanting the money back — though some standard travel insurance policies do cover job loss
  • Changing your mind about the trip for financial or any other reason

Be sure to check the policy’s covered cancellation reasons before buying. Some comprehensive travel insurance plans like AIG Travel Guard Deluxe, Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector, and IMG iTravelInsured Travel LX cover dozens of cancellation reasons like cancel for work, natural disasters, extended school year, hurricanes, job loss, and more. If your concern is already covered, you may not need the CFAR upgrade.

For example, some policies include cancellation for inclement weather like hurricanes that could ruin your week-long beach vacation at the Outer Banks. Others allow canceling for work but have requirements like being full time at the same employer for at least two years.

Perhaps you’re selling your house and don’t want to miss your closing. Or your travel plans are far in the future and you’re not certain you’ll be in the same financial position by then. Or you’re planning to travel with someone who’s been known to back out of trips at the last minute.

No matter the reason, if your travel plans have any elements of uncertainty, CFAR offers absolute peace of mind and flexibility for your travel investment.

How to Buy CFAR Travel Insurance

Whether you buy travel insurance directly from the insurer or a travel insurance comparison site, the prices will be the same. However, you can compare different insurers’ prices for similar policies using a comparison site and save money on a less expensive CFAR plan.

Make sure to toggle the CFAR option when doing a quote to get an accurate price. Alternatively, you can call customer service for quote help and to ask questions about CFAR.

Since not every insurer and state offers a CFAR option, check for availability before buying the policy. 

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Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance FAQs

Buying travel insurance can be complex and confusing, so you may have additional questions. These are some of the most common ones.

What’s the Difference Between CFAR & Regular Travel Insurance?

Standard travel insurance policies include a list of reasons you can cancel, such as for an unexpected injury, illness, or death in the family. However, if the situation causing cancellation is not covered, CFAR can protect you in that scenario, provided you meet the requirements for coverage.

How Much Does Cancel for Any Reason Insurance Cost?

Expect to pay 40% to 50% more for CFAR travel insurance coverage above a standard policy. 

Does CFAR Insurance Cover COVID-19-Related Trip Cancellation?

Yes, CFAR insurance covers COVID-19 if you are afraid to travel and potentially contract the illness.

However, standard travel insurance usually covers COVID-19 the same as an unexpected illness. Then, if you are diagnosed with it before traveling and must cancel, or get sick during the trip and require medical treatment and isolation, the policy covers it.

What’s Interruption for Any Reason Insurance?

A few CFAR policies also include Interruption for Any Reason when you buy the CFAR upgrade. The Interruption for Any Reason benefit is useful if you’re at least three days into your trip and decide to go home early for any reason not covered by the trip interruption benefit. Then, the policy refunds 75% of the unused costs of the trip.

What’s the Best Cancel for Any Reason Insurance?

Because CFAR payouts can range from 50% to 75% of your trip costs, it’s usually better to opt for the higher payout, particularly if your trip is expensive.

You can compare prices for CFAR plans at travel insurance comparison sites like InsureMyTrip, Squaremouth, Aardy, and TravelInsurance.com.

Prices can range greatly. To find the best policy for your needs, be sure to compare other benefits the policy covers medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and covered cancellations.

Final Word

The times I’ve bought CFAR policies were when I’ve planned trips far in advance or traveled with unpredictable traveling companions. In the end, I’ve been relieved every time I’ve bought it — whether I needed it or not.

If you’re considering CFAR travel protection, conduct some due diligence before commiting to a policy. 

First, call a licensed insurance agent to ask specific questions about which plan is the best travel insurance for you. 

For example, if you have a senior pet and are concerned they might get sick or die before or during your trip, you might not need CFAR. There are a handful of policies that now cover pet illness since it’s such a common request. Your agent should be well-versed in the details of their policies and can tell you which plans would cover this without buying CFAR.

Second, look at the policy document for the policy you’re interested in. If the agent says a specific policy covers cancellation because an adoption agency notified you a child was available at the last minute, pull up the policy certificate for your state and verify it yourself. Be aware that every company words things differently and may have slightly different requirements.

Finally, compare CFAR plans and prices from multiple insurers. If you need CFAR and not medical insurance, some insurance providers also offer CFAR upgrades on their lower-cost plans like Seven Corners and John Hancock. You could save hundreds by getting a more basic plan instead of the most comprehensive policy.

If you buy a CFAR plan and decide you don’t need it, you can usually get a full refund on the policy if you cancel it during the free look period — usually within 10 to 15 days of purchase.

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