Hurricanes - What You Should Know About Insurance Coverage

Published on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We buy travel insurance for a number of really good reasons, many of which provide easy to understand assurance that if something goes wrong, we’re covered. Not so easy to understand is insurance against ‘acts of God,’ which includes hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and probably volcano eruptions.

Any coverage at all has to be taken before a storm is named. Once that happens, all bets are off and no travel insurance will cover your loss directly, should you choose to play it safe and stay home or modify travel plans. Many insurance plans do include coverage for other expenses that might come up like lost luggage over and above what airlines might reimburse travelers for.  Flight delays or cancellations too might be covered, depending on the policy and its coverage. In addition, many travel insurance companies have policyholder hotlines, travel experts standing by 24/7 to give qualified answers to questions that come up in an emergency.

Still, “there is a hurricane brewing in the area of where I am scheduled to travel and I don’t feel comfortable going there” is rarely covered by travel insurance…with one exception. Cancel For Any Reason coverage will provide a percentage of your total self-inflicted loss (and that’s basically what it boils down to be) when a trip is canceled for reasons other than basic policies cover. Those reasons can be pretty much anything from ‘I decided I would rather have a new TV’ to ‘I lost my job’, ‘something else has come up that is more important than this trip’ or, as the coverage is aptly titled “any reason”. Expect to pay more for this coverage and get less in return but for those who have iffy plans, this might just be the best choice.

Many times though, waiting to add travel insurance until just before final payment on a trip that allows an initial deposit to be made with final payment due later might be a better choice.

This topic often comes up when travelers are booking trips in hurricane-prone areas like the Caribbean. Something else to consider; cruise lines rarely cancel sailings entirely, most often sailing an itinerary that is modified in one way or another. They might run it backwards, once the projected path of a named storm is established. Another typical move by cruise lines is to modify itineraries completely, skipping a port or staying out at sea a bit longer than planned, away from threatening weather.

Another not so easy to understand bit of coverage: Boyfriend breakups. I found that one out first hand when we had invited one of our daughter’s boyfriends along for a family cruise many years ago. At the time we made the booking, I had my doubts about the bum, thinking he might not make it another six months and still retain boyfriend status. He didn’t. Good news in a way, I was glad to get rid of him. Not so good news: boyfriend breakups are not a covered reason for cancellation. When it comes to travel insurance, any kind of travel insurance, bought for any reason, it is a good idea to call the insurance company directly and ask your “What if…” questions, just to be sure the concern you have is valid. 



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