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Whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway to Napa Valley or a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the legendary vineyards of Burgundy, travel insurance can protect you in the event your wine tour sours.

Although your wine tour company may offer a refund if issues arise on their end, don’t expect them to foot the bill for your expenses. Fortunately, third-party travel insurance can reimburse you for unexpected hiccups like trip delays, medical emergencies, and lost baggage.

Let’s look at travel insurance options and explore tips for booking wine tours so you can enjoy every sip.

Trip Delay

Delays are among the most common – and frustrating – issues that passengers encounter, regardless of whether you’re traveling by sea, air, or land. Trip delay insurance is helpful when these unexpected transportation issues cause you to miss planned events that you have already paid for.

For example, you could be eligible to submit a claim if you miss your prepaid tour of Spain’s famous Rioja region due to a delayed train from Madrid. Or imagine a storm delays your flight back from the lush wineries of Cape Town, South Africa, causing you to spend an unexpected night at the airport hotel.

Trip delay insurance can provide compensation for:

  • Meals
  • Accommodation
  • New transportation
  • Missed pre-paid excursions

Trip delay insurance only kicks in after the delay exceeds the minimum time stated in your plan, so you may not qualify if your transportation is only a couple of hours late. These policies also have a maximum per day and overall coverage limit per person, so make sure to read the fine print before hitting the road.

Trip Interruption

Cutting a wine tour short is never ideal, but if you face a sudden illness, injury, or family emergency, it may be your only option. Unfortunately, booking transportation on short notice is often extremely expensive and challenging to secure. On top of that, you may also lose out on prepaid accommodations and activities later in the tour.

Trip interruption insurance is a saving grace if you find yourself in this position. It can cover your transportation home, as well as refunding the unused, prepaid costs of your abandoned trip. For example, you could file a claim for the nonrefundable hotel room and champagne tasting in France that you booked in advance and couldn’t experience.

Trip Cancellation

When booking a private wine tour, you often have to put down a significant deposit just to secure your spot on the trip. Then, around 30 to 90 days before the tour begins, you will need to pay the balance for your chosen experiences. Once you make this final payment, your trip will likely be nonrefundable.

Purchasing trip cancellation insurance can help you recoup 100% of your nonrefundable expenses in the event you can’t make the tour due to unforeseeable circumstances. Qualifying reasons can include:

  • The hospitalization or death of a family member
  • The unexpected death of you or your travel partner
  • The unexpected illness or injury of you or your travel partner that leaves you unfit for travel (must be verified by a doctor)
  • Extreme weather
  • Unforeseen natural disasters at home or destination
  • Legal obligations including jury duty or a subpoena

Trip cancellation insurance does not apply to circumstances like fear of travel or work-related issues. However, such events may be covered under a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) policy. See below for more information.

Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR)

CFAR coverage is the ultimate trip insurance policy. If you can’t get time off work, develop a sudden fear of flying, or want to cancel for other reasons that are typically excluded from travel insurance policies, CFAR will help you get up to 75% of your prepaid expenses reimbursed when you file an approved claim.

While you may be eager to add this protection to your travel insurance, you will have to pay up for the peace of mind: CFAR coverage costs an average of 50% more than standard policies.

Always review your CFAR plan carefully to see how much you will be compensated for a claim. The percentage can vary significantly, and you generally have to cancel at least 48 hours before your departure date to receive any refund.

Medical and Emergency Evacuation

While you can use your medical insurance for any unforeseen emergency mishaps during a domestic wine tour, international tours require more planning. Consider looking into travel health insurance and emergency evacuation insurance.

Most U.S. health insurance policies, including Medicare, do not provide coverage when you are outside the country. By purchasing travel medical insurance, you can get compensation for:

  • Ambulance trips
  • Visits to a doctor
  • Prescription medication
  • Diagnostic testing like X-rays
  • Extended hospital stays

Travel medical insurance can cover up to half a million dollars in health expenses, depending on your medical needs.

In addition, emergency evacuation insurance will cover transportation to an adequate medical facility, including medevac services, if you need immediate or complex care during your trip. This can be especially important if your wine tour will take you off the beaten path, such as the high-altitude vineyards of the Italian Alps.

Your medical evacuation insurance provider will likely have an emergency customer service team that can make arrangements if you are injured, allowing you to focus on getting better.

FYI: When purchasing insurance for wine tour trips, keep in mind that claims are often rejected for incidents that happen while you are intoxicated from alcohol or recreational drugs. Please drink responsibly.

Baggage Delay and Loss

Lost luggage can be a nightmare – especially if you’re about to embark on an extended wine tour or take part in a glamorous tasting. Travel insurance can cover the cost of lost, damaged, or stolen property if you ever find yourself in this pinch. However, expensive personal items like camera equipment, jewelry, or designer shoes are often omitted, and should be insured separately.

If your luggage is merely delayed in transit, as is often the case when flying, baggage delay insurance can reimburse you for a change of clothes, toiletries, and other critical items you buy while waiting for the suitcases to arrive. But don’t go overboard: most daily allowances are capped around $200.

Choose a baggage loss policy that matches the luggage you are traveling with and don’t assume you will be compensated with a new wardrobe or the latest electronics. Policies often only allow for the depreciated value of personal items.

Wine Tour Booking Tips

Ask About the Wine Tour Company’s Cancellation Policy

Before booking, find out if you will receive a refund if the wine tour company has to cancel the trip due to extreme weather, a health emergency like COVID-19, or not meeting minimum tour numbers.

Some wine tour companies will give you a choice between a full monetary refund and a credit for a future tour. However, not all companies are the same. If their coverage is vague, it may be wise to choose a tour with a refund policy in writing, in addition to purchasing third-party insurance.

Ask About Activities

Most people choose a wine tour to see picturesque vineyards and taste unique wines. But wine tours can encompass much more than that. Activities that may be included with your tour include:

  • Trips to local farmers’ markets
  • Excursions to see artisans and producers of cheese, honey, and olive oil
  • Food/wine pairings
  • Educational seminars about wine-making

Some wine tour companies also offer dedicated food tours and beer tours.

Ask to Customize Your Itinerary

Most wine tour companies offer a private experience for four to eight people. However, if your group has special requests, don’t hesitate to ask the guides if they can accommodate.

For example, you can ask for an organic-oriented wine tour, overnight accommodations that include a spa, or a private yoga class. Wine tour companies generally have relationships with local businesses and are happy to design a custom trip for you.


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