How to buy travel insurance for hurricane-prone vacation spots – Forbes Advisor


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A potential downside to booking a trip to a sunny, sandy location is the risk of hurricanes, especially from June to November.

Travel insurance should be part of your game plan when booking a hurricane-prone vacation destination, whether it’s Florida, Texas, or a Caribbean resort. Ideally, you purchase travel insurance when booking your trip and make your first deposit.

If a hurricane could affect your trip destination, look for a comprehensive travel insurance plan with solid coverage in three specific areas: Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, and Trip Delay.

If you are traveling outside of the United States, be sure to check your destination’s entry requirements well before you leave, such as required travel insurance, registration forms, and Covid testing.

Interest in beach vacations is on the rise

Many sunny beach destinations (which are also prone to hurricanes) have seen a spike in interest in relation to pre-pandemic travel. In particular, travelers are booking more trips to the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Virgin Islands and Costa Rica.

Travel insurance for hurricane-prone destinations

Due to the threat of a storm, severe weather is the number one concern for travelers scheduled for beach vacations during hurricane season, said Steven Benna, spokesperson for Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider . Make sure you have a policy that covers trip cancellation for hurricane and weather events.

This service will reimburse you at 100% for prepaid and non-refundable deposits lost if your trip has to be canceled or interrupted due to bad weather. In order to make a claim under this coverage, generally one of the following conditions must be met:

  • Your common carrier airline is significantly delayed for a specified amount of time (the required time delta will be defined in the policy, for example six hours)
  • Your destination is uninhabitable due to weather or under evacuation orders
  • Your destination is under hurricane warning

Keep in mind these important points about hurricanes and travel insurance, says Benna:

Travel insurance only covers unforeseen events “Once a storm is named, it’s too late to purchase travel insurance with coverage for that storm, no matter where it is or where it should be,” says Benna.

Buy your travel insurance as early as possible for this reason. Don’t get stuck without coverage when a hurricane has already struck near your vacation destination.

For more flexibility in canceling a trip, consider adding a “cancel for any reason” upgrade. This add-on is designed to provide additional flexibility beyond standard trip cancellation coverage. With “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage, you can cancel your trip for any reason not listed in the base policy, such as fear of traveling or simply changing your mind. The reimbursement for a CFAR claim is typically 50% or 75%, depending on the policy.

The added flexibility of CFAR results in an increase in costs which is typically around 40% greater than that of a standard policy.

Before splurging on a “cancel for any reason” upgrade, make sure you actually need it if bad weather is your main concern. “Most policies with trip cancellation coverage include hurricane and weather coverage,” Benna notes. The standard benefit “usually provides the coverage you need during hurricane season, so we generally don’t recommend” canceling for any reason “for weather issues unless you have additional issues that don’t. are not covered by a standard policy “.

For example, if you want to have the option of making a cancellation request because you don’t feel comfortable Travel to your destination, but no formal hurricane warning has been issued, “cancel for any reason” coverage would be your only option, Benna says.

Likewise, you may wish to have the option of canceling the trip if a hurricane occurs at your destination but does not have enough impact on it to meet standard coverage requirements. You would need CFAR to make a cancellation request for this reason.

As another example, let’s say you can still stay at your resort but the tours don’t take place due to the weather. Technically, this would be considered a “waste of pleasure,” but would not prevent the trip and therefore would not be covered by a standard policy, Benna says. Here, too, “‘cancel for any reason’ would be the only applicable benefit,” Benna explains.

Manage delays

Having to cancel vacations is frustrating, but so are delays once you’re on your way. Your travel insurance policy generally provides for travel delay benefits which may cover:

Reimbursement of meals and hotel accommodation in the event of a travel delay. The reason for the delay should be covered by the policy, such as bad weather or mechanical problems with the airline. There is usually a time required, such as six hours, before you can be reimbursed for the expenses.

Reimbursement of any additional costs you incur to make up for your trip such as a common carrier delay. Here, too, the reason must be covered by the policy. However, some policies with this benefit only cover cruises, Benna says.

The baggage delay cover can reimburse you if you need to purchase clothes, toiletries or other essentials while your baggage is delayed. There is a waiting period which varies by policy.

If you are worried about facing a significant travel delay, Benna recommends that you opt for a policy with the shortest time required, or without any time requirement (see below). The hurricane and inclement weather benefits in many policies require a public transport delay of 12 hours or more. Some policies require a shorter period of six hours.

Keep in mind the 24/7 emergency assistance number

Each travel insurance provider has a 24/7 emergency travel assistance service that can help you during your trip. This can include assistance with a wide range of issues such as a medical referral, finding a nearby pharmacy, arranging a medical evacuation, language translation, and even concierge services, among others.

If a hurricane threatens your trip, you can check with your travel insurance company to stay informed of national emergencies both at home and at your destination.

Find the right policy

Below are the trip cancellation policies recommended by Squaremouth for travel to hurricane-prone destinations.

Trip Cancellation Coverage: Plans with no time limit

  • April Travel Protection – Choice and Trip Cancellation Plan
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection – ExactCare, ExactCare Lite & LuxuryCare
  • Generali Global Assistance – Standard, Preferred & Premium
  • Seven corners – RoundTrip International
  • Pewter Leg – Economy, Adventure, Luxury, and US only
  • Travelex Insurance Services – Flight Insure Plus

Travel Delay Coverage: Plans with a travel delay requirement of only three hours

  • John Hancock Insurance Agency, Inc. – Gold and Silver
  • International Insured Travel – Global Travel Protector

While the right travel cancellation and delay benefits are crucial for a Caribbean vacation during hurricane season, a comprehensive travel insurance policy will also provide valuable additional benefits such as travel medical insurance. .

Compare and buy travel insurance for 2021

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About Mary Moser

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