A couple of months ago I wrote about the forecast for a “near normal” hurricane season this year. Now, as hurricane season begins — coinciding with summer travel plans — InsureMyTrip, a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation WRN Ambassador™, launched a new hurricane preparedness campaign to help prepare you, and improve readiness and responsiveness against extreme weather.
The Hurricane Educational Center includes info for upcoming trips, access to travel data, a free travel guide ebook, videos, and other resources.
Understanding Hurricane Coverage
Travel insurance is a way to cope with the risk of travel during hurricane season and to help guard against potential financial losses. Keep this in mind before you travel: Once a storm starts forming, it is considered a foreseeable event and travel insurance coverage will no longer be available to cover losses related to that storm.
When it comes to severe weather, here are some examples of how insurance may enable you to receive reimbursement of pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs if you must cancel a trip due to severe weather-related issues that are covered under the trip cancellation benefit:
Flights are grounded due to a hurricane: Many plans will cover a traveler when common carriers such as airlines and cruise lines cease service due to weather. The cessation of services must be for a certain number of hours, usually 24-48.
Resort is in the path of a hurricane: A few plans will cover when the traveler’s destination is under a NOAA-issued hurricane warning.*
A hurricane damaged my hotel or resort: Many plans will cover a traveler when a hotel, resort, or vacation rental is devastated and made uninhabitable by a storm.
A hurricane damaged my home: Many plans will offer coverage when the primary home of a traveler sustains destructive storm damage that renders the home uninhabitable.
I changed my mind: For the opportunity to cancel a trip for reasons other than those listed as “covered reasons” on a policy, a traveler may consider Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) protection.
CFAR is an optional time-sensitive benefit available on some plans that allow a traveler to cancel a trip for any reason, up to 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure. Reimbursement is usually 50-75% of the prepaid, non-refundable trip cost. A traveler must meet specific eligibility requirements and must purchase a policy with CFAR selected within 14-21 days of making an initial trip payment or deposit.
Hurricanes and Airline Cancellation Policies
Flight cancellation policies vary by airline and circumstance. When an airline cancels a flight due to bad weather, most will try to rebook passengers on the next available flight.
Airlines are not required to reimburse travelers for losses incurred as a result of a canceled flight due to weather. Travelers concerned about protecting pre-paid, non-refundable trip expenses should buy travel insurance.
*With most comprehensive travel insurance plans, the NOAA-issued hurricane warning must be issued for the traveler’s destination within 24-48 hours of the traveler’s scheduled departure. The cancellation must also be more than 14 days after the traveler’s effective date for trip cancellation coverage. This means this coverage would not be available if the traveler is 15 days or closer to the departure of a trip.