A recent comment indicated that at least one traveler is confused about whether travel insurance provides trip cancellation coverage for panic attacks, and we decided to dig into the plan certificates to find out.
How panic attacks are defined
The Mayo Clinic defines a panic attack thus: “A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions.”
The National Institute of Mental Health defines this disorder as: “an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.”
Travel insurance plans and panic attacks
Travel insurance plans specifically exclude coverage for any loss that is caused by or results from mental, nervous, or psychological disorders, and given the definitions above, a panic attack falls within those categories.
Specifically, travel insurance plans include text like the following (from CSA’s Custom Luxe plan):
The following exclusion applies to all coverages:
We will not pay for any loss under the plan, caused by, or resulting from:
2. mental, nervous, or psychological disorders (does not apply to Medical Expense Beneﬁts);
Therefore, while a panic attack is a recognized condition and those who suffer from them deserve careful consideration, panic attacks are not a covered reason for trip cancellation, trip interruptions (going home before your trip has ended), missed connections, and other travel insurance coverages.
The alternative for people with a panic disorder is to have adequate ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage. ‘Cancel for any reason’ will reimburse between 50 and 100% of your pre-paid non refundable trip expenses if you have to cancel your trip for any reason. Be sure to cancel the trip within the usual 48-hour prior-to-departure window.