September 10, 2012
Understanding Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is protection against those unexpected bumps in your travel plans, and may be well worth considering now that hurricane season is underway. However, just like trying to buy homeowners insurance after the house is on fire, you can’t buy travel insurance for a trip that’s threatened by a tropical storm or hurricane that’s been publicly named by the National Weather Service. That storm is now a ‘known peril.’
“Trip cancellation and interruption protection, the most popular form of insurance coverage, is based on the occurrence of unforeseen events,” says Jim Grace, president and CEO of InsureMyTrip.com. “Once a storm has been publicly identified, it can only spell trouble for travelers without insurance protection. You need to purchase travel insurance coverage before a storm is predicted and named, not when it’s bearing down on you or your intended destination.”
The key is to plan ahead. Will you be traveling through or to a hurricane-prone region? Do you live in a hurricane zone where weather could prevent you from taking a trip to somewhere else?
Not all travel insurance policies are created equally. Coverage for weather-related trip cancellations and interruptions differs by insurance company and plan. The covered cancellation reasons can include:
- Cancellation due to weather: when common carriers such as airlines and cruise lines cease service due to weather
- Cancellation due to hurricane warning: cancellation of your trip if your destination is under a NOAA-issued hurricane warning
- Destination made uninhabitable: if your hotel, resort, or vacation rental is devastated by a storm
- Primary residence made uninhabitable: if your own home sustains destructive storm damage
- Cancel For Any Reason: an optional benefit that allows you to choose whether or not to cancel.