Guide to understanding how travel insurance responds to hurricanes.
Understanding how travel insurance responds to hurricanes can be complex because of the different coverages that are usually found in most travel insurance plans. First trip cancellation and interruption coverages, the predominant feature of most travel policies, are “named peril” coverage. In simple English this means that only those “covered reasons” listed by the insurance companies in their policies are recognized by them as being valid reasons for canceling or interrupting a trip. Most travel policies will only allow you to cancel or interrupt your trip due to weather conditions if they cause your common carrier to stop operating. Usually they require your common carrier to cease operating for a specific time period and as a direct result it causes you to cancel or interrupt your trip. The period of time that your common carrier has to be delayed varies from company to company, starting from none being stated to a minimum of 24 hours. In addition most plans allow you to cancel or interrupt your trip if your home is made uninhabitable due to a natural disaster (hurricanes qualify as one). There is at least one company that also includes your destination being made uninhabitable due to a natural disaster. Companies usually include forced or mandatory evacuations due the hurricane as qualifying as being uninhabitable..
Besides the trip cancellation and interruption coverages many “package plans” have travel delay benefits which will reimburse you for additional living expenses if your trip is delayed due to a natural disaster. The travel delay coverage is another “named peril” coverage and most plans refer to a delay caused by a “natural disaster” as being covered.
As with all insurance the “covered reason” must be unforeseen at the time you are buying the insurance. Generally it means that if the storm hasn’t gotten on the map or hasn’t been named yet then you should be ok.
This year the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration has predicted a record year for hurricanes and tropical storms with the possibility of the hurricane season yielding 9 to 11 hurricanes and 18 to 21 tropical storms. Travel insurance can help you protect the investment you are making in your trip and the best advice is to buy your travel insurance early.
Updated June 12, 2014