What is Trip Interruption for Any Reason (IFAR) and How Does It Work?
Trip Interruption For Any Reason, also referred to as IFAR, is a travel insurance benefit found in some policies that helps protect travelers who need to interrupt their trip and return home for a reason not otherwise covered by standard trip interruption coverage. While most people who purchase travel insurance regularly are familiar with Cancel For Any Reason coverage, which is also referred to as CFAR, IFAR is relatively new to the travel insurance industry. It is important to note that CFAR and IFAR are mutually exclusive. Cancellation For Any Reason coverage only protects travelers from the financial loss of cancelling a trip before departure. Interruption For Any Reason is a coverage type that is designed to protect travelers who must interrupt their trip after it has already begun, which means it is a post-departure benefit. Unlike standard trip interruption coverage which has specific covered reasons, IFAR is a widely encompassing benefit that helps protect travelers from financial loss for any reason at all.
How Does Regular Trip Interruption Coverage Work?
Standard trip interruption coverage found in most travel insurance policies will cover you if you need to interrupt your trip and return home for a specific covered reason. You won’t be able to submit a claim for standard trip interruption if you begin your trip, consider it boring, and simply want to return home earlier than planned. While covered reasons vary by provider and plan, trip interruption coverage generally applies to conditions such as the following:
- You or someone in your travel party suffer an accidental injury or sickness during your trip serious enough to require necessary medical treatment and serious enough to prevent your continued participation on the trip.
- A mandatory evacuation at your destination due to hurricane or natural disaster; or a natural disaster at your destination that renders your accommodations uninhabitable.
- You or someone in your travel party dies, or you or someone in your travel party is notified of the death of a non-traveling family member, resulting in the need to quickly return home, cancelling parts of your trip that you had prepaid.
Obviously, these are not the only times where trip interruption coverage can be used, but they are the three most common examples. Again, you can’t use trip interruption coverage to simply cancel activities that you don’t want to participate in anymore and expect to receive the full amount provided by the policy. Instead, you will need to provide verifiable proof that an unforeseen covered event has occurred, resulting in the need to interrupt your trip as detailed in your policy.
What You Need to Know About IFAR Insurance
Whether you’re a world traveler or planning a trip to a destination a few hours away, you’re probably already aware that there are certain nonrefundable fees associated with travel. Hotel rooms, travel reservations, and the fees associated with reserving a spot at certain attractions can all be deemed nonrefundable by the company who oversees those travel aspects. In 2014, travel insurance companies recognized the need for protecting travelers who had to interrupt a trip for any reason, and IFAR policies were born. However, there are certain terms and conditions that travelers should recognize before signing up for Interruption For Any Reason Insurance policies.
IFAR is like standard trip interruption coverage, except it allows policyholders to interrupt their trip for any reason at all, return home and be reimbursed up to 75% of the at risk nonrefundable and prepaid remaining trip costs.
To be eligible for IFAR coverage or to purchase it as an optional upgrade, most insurers will require that you purchase it within a strict time frame from the date of your initial trip payment which is typically 7 to 21 days and that you insure 100% of your pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs when purchasing the policy.
Once you purchase IFAR, you must be at least 72 hours into your trip before you can cancel under IFAR coverage. If you are less than 72 hours from your actual departure date, standard trip interruption coverage for the listed reasons in your policy will still be available.
Since the coverage terms and conditions in trip cancellation and trip interruption plans can vary by provider and plan, it’s important to refer to a plan’s description of coverage document or policy certificate to understand what you are purchasing. Reading a plan’s exclusions and definitions can help avoid purchasing the wrong plan.
In summary, Interruption For Any Reason Insurance can be used for virtually any trip interruption that occurs after the first 72 hours of your trip’s original departure. The ability to return home and receive a 75% refund for the unused, nonrefundable portions of the trip is a great benefit for travelers who are taking extended trips. Given that 72 hours are required to have elapsed, these policies are generally non-applicable to travelers who are taking a quick weekend trip.
An Example of IFAR Insurance
To fully understand the intricacies of IFAR Insurance, let’s look at some situations in which a policy would be beneficial. Let’s say that you are taking a backpacking tour across Eastern Europe, and you paid for all your transportation and hotels before you left. Then, after 72 hours from the day you departed, you learn that your dog can no longer be boarded at the pet hotel back home and there are no other boarding options or friends or family who can watch him. Your only option is to end your trip early to get home and retrieve your dog and lose the remaining trip costs you already paid for in advance. Since this scenario is not a covered reason for trip interruption in standard travel insurance, your IFAR policy would reimburse you up to 75% of the amount of your remaining non-refundable, at-risk trip costs.
Another example would include something that has become all too real within the last couple years. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to mutate and evolve, the risk of contracting an illness during a trip is more prevalent than ever. Should you or someone in your travel party be too afraid to continue the trip due to rising COVID-19 numbers at your destination, IFAR could be used if it has been 72 hours or more since your trip started.
Ultimately, the decision to purchase travel insurance of any kind is completely up to each specific traveler. Interruption For Any Reason policies can be a valuable tool for those who plan on taking extended trips, usually to locations that are farther away than a brief road trip. The flexible nature of these policies makes them a useful resource for travelers who may need to interrupt a trip and return home for a reason outside of the standard covered reasons found in most policies. If you think that IFAR Insurance is a useful tool for you, get a quote on TravelInsurance.com today.
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