Tricks to Finding the Best Hurricane Trip Cancellation Insurance

August 25, 2008 | By | 1 Reply More
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HurricaneThe season for tumultuous weather is here. From June 1st until November 30th, (aka the hurricane season) all eyes are tuned to the weather channel on the lookout for seasonal storms that can totally disrupt your carefully planned vacation. Smart travelers take steps to secure Trip Cancellation Insurance to protect their vacation dollars in the event of hurricane, floods or wild fires – which have all been far too prevalent this year. Many travelers have learned the hard way, all travel insurance policies are not created equal. Here’s what you need to watch out for when securing hurricane or storm coverage:

Purchase coverage before a storm is named. Travel insurance provides coverage for “unforeseen events and circumstances”. Once a tropical storm receives an official name, it’s no longer considered to be an unforeseen threat. Even though you can purchase some travel insurance policies up to 24 hours prior to departure, the company would refuse to pay on a claim for expenses in connection with a named storm in existence before you purchased the policy.

Be aware that before paying on a claim the insurance company will first see what compensation has been offered by the airline, cruise line, tour company or hotel. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – If a tour company or cruise line offers you an alternative vacation option for the same dates of travel, and you refuse the offer, it is very likely the insurance company will refuse to make payment on your claim. So if you are scheduled for a western Caribbean cruise that turns out to be in the path of a hurricane, and the cruise line offers a cruise in the eastern Caribbean instead, you need to think long and hard before saying no to the offer.

We all expect that our insurance policy will kick in if the hotel we are headed to is declared ‘uninhabitable’, but make certain that your policy also covers you if YOUR home becomes uninhabitable as well. For instance, let’s say a severe storm comes through two days before you are scheduled to go on vacation and a tree falls through your roof :< You would want to cancel your trip in order to take care of the dangerous situation at your home. Make sure your coverage protects both at home and at your vacation destination.

Don’t bail out on a vacation to return home early until an official “mandatory evacuation” is declared. If you are experiencing terrible weather on your vacation because of a coastal storm, but no official evacuation is called for, I’m sorry to say your policy will not be in effect.

The best and least complicated coverage for all types of disasters before you leave home, is a policy that offers “cancellation for any reason up to 24 hours prior to departure”. These policies take most of the fine print pitfalls out of the equation. Just be sure to DOUBLE CHECK that they cover up to 100% of your vacation cost. Many policies offered by cruise lines and tour companies have changed in recent years to only offer 75% or less of your total package price. If you have to evacuate mid-way through your vacation, the policy will only cover your unused vacation portion.

It’s always a good idea when traveling outside of the United States to register your travel plans with the US State Department. If you should be caught in the middle of a natural disaster in a foreign country, the State Department would be aware that you may potentially be in danger. Registration can easily be done by visiting the Travel Registration Website.

So…. how can you compare travel insurance policies to be sure you are getting the coverage you need at the right price? Fortunately there are several great websites for comparing travel insurance companies and policy coverages head to head:

Category: How To, Money & Technology