October 26, 2018

Does Travel Insurance Cover Hurricanes?

Traveling during hurricane season can be risky. Read on to learn how travel insurance can protect your investment.

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Travel insurance is important for any trip. But it's especially important if you're traveling during storm season or to a hurricane-prone area. So, first things first - check your policy documents. Make sure a hurricane (or natural disaster) is a covered reason for trip benefits. If it's not, you might need to check out a different policy.

When your policy includes hurricane benefits, here's how it can help recoup your money if your plans are derailed.

There's a Hurricane Before Your Trip

If your destination is in the path of a hurricane, there are a few things you need to check. First, contact your resort or cruise line. Is the resort closing or has the cruise line canceled? If so, you may get a refund from them without involving your insurance. If you're not offered a refund, it's time to involve your insurance.

Here's where your policy's trip cancellation benefit comes in. Your plan should cover pre-paid expenses if you have to cancel. Check your policy for the specifics. Some plans allow you to cancel as late as two days before your departure. Others require you to cancel further in advance.

TIP: Before your next trip, check out this travel checklist.

Hurricane During Your Trip

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You're on your trip and a hurricane is heading toward your location. What next? Check in with your resort or cruise line. Has an evacuation notice been issued? Is the cruise returning to port?

If you need to cut your trip short, you can file a trip interruption claim. This will help recover some of the pre-paid expenses you'd otherwise lose.

How much does travel insurance cost? Plan on paying 4%-10% of your total trip cost for a good policy.

Important to Remember

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  • Be sure you purchase your travel policy around the time you book your trip. Your plan must be active before the hurricane is named, otherwise you won't have coverage. Don't wait until you hear about the hurricane to start looking for insurance.

  • You must insure the full, pre-paid amount of your trip to qualify for trip cancellation benefits.

  • Generally, a hurricane warning or an evacuation order must be issued. This is what triggers the insurance benefits. If a hurricane might be headed toward your destination but there's no official word, you probably won't be covered if you cancel.

  • As with any insurance claim, be sure you document your cancellation as much as possible.

Look Out for These Exclusions

  • We've already mentioned buying your policy in advance of the hurricane. This is important. Your claim will most certainly be denied if you buy insurance after the hurricane is named.

  • Pay attention to travel warnings. If an official warning is in place and you travel anyway, related claims could be denied.

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