Understanding how travel insurance responds to hurricanes can be a daunting task because of the different coverages that are found in most travel insurance plans. John Cook, President of QuoteWright.com says “We receive a large number of calls from client’s during the hurricane season asking about coverage for trip cancellation coverage if their plans are changed by a hurricane.” He explains that trip cancellation and interruption coverages are “named peril” coverages, which means that only those “covered reasons” listed by the insurance companies in their policies are considered by them as reimbursable reasons to cancel or interrupt a trip.
Most travel policies do not specifically mention hurricanes as a “covered reason” but will allow you to cancel or interrupt your trip due to weather conditions if they cause your common carrier(airline, train, cruise, bus) 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 to a minimum of 24 hours. Also 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 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 a “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 then you should be ok.
Cook said that “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.”