Refundable Flight Ticket or Travel Cancellation Insurance - What's the Difference?

François Boudrias | 04 May, 2022

            Billet d’avion remboursable ou assurance voyage annulation - Quelle est la différence?

As the international tourism industry recovers from the pandemic, information is still scarce on the difference between a refundable flight ticket and a travel cancellation insurance.

Contrary to what some people may think... one does not replace the other!

Let's expose these two very different products.


The refundable flight ticket

As the name suggests, a refundable flight ticket is a plane ticket that is authorized to be refunded to the person who paid for it, should they decide not to use it.

This is a fare class that must be chosen when purchasing flight tickets and which clearly indicates that the ticket is refundable in cash. If it can be exchanged in the form of a travel credit with the airline company, then we will speak of a creditable ticket.

Refundable fare class costs more than a non-refundable airfare, but gives you flexibility that can be worth paying the price.

Example : John decided to buy a refundable plane ticket for his trip to Punta Cana on June 24. On June 20, he decides that he no longer wants to go because he no longer wants to and demands a refund from the airline. The airline reimburses it directly on their credit card.*

Example 2 : Stacy has decided to purchase a non-refundable plane ticket for her trip to Punta Cana on June 24. On June 20, she decides that she no longer wants to go because she no longer wants to and demands a refund from the airline. The airline will not reimburse her and Stacy will have to bear the costs.


The travel cancellation insurance

Travel cancellation insurance is insurance purchased from an insurer, prior to departure.

This insurance means that if an event described in your contract occurs (for example, the death of a relative), you could decide to cancel your trip and claim the sums you paid for your trip and that you declared to your insurer (plane ticket, hotel, rental, etc.).

That being said, nothing obliges the insurance company to reimburse you if your reason for cancellation is not valid or does not respect certain conditions listed in your contract.

Example : Simon has a plane ticket to Punta Cana on June 24. On June 20, he decides that he no longer wants to go on a trip because he no longer wants to and contacts his insurance company. Unfortunately, as "changing mind" is not a valid reason, he will not be able to be reimbursed and will have to bear the costs.

Example 2 : If Simon cancels his trip because he broke his leg on June 20, a circumstance which prevents him from traveling and which is accepted by his insurer, he will be able to claim the amounts he had paid for his trip, such as his plane ticket and his hotel room.


For optimal protection...

Combining a refundable plane ticket with good travel cancellation insurance is one of the best protections a traveler can have in 2022.

As you have seen above, the two products are very different and for certain unforeseen situations, it can be very useful to have both.

All the examples illustrated above would have benefited from having travel cancellation insurance in addition to a refundable plane ticket, if only to simplify things in Simon's case.


*Certain fees may apply depending on the airline.
**All the situations above are fictitious and have been simplified to facilitate reading. When buying your plane tickets or your travel insurance, make sure to validate the conditions and the rules in case of cancellation.