Travel Insurance for Natural Disasters
Each year, thousands of travelers are forced to change or cancel their plans due to severe weather events. From delayed flights to flooded accommodations, natural disasters can turn any trip into a nightmare without a moment’s notice.
Examples of natural disasters include floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, and avalanches. While these events are almost impossible to predict or prevent, there are measures travelers can take to protect themselves financially if disaster strikes.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Natural Disasters?
Yes, most comprehensive travel insurance plans provide cancellation coverage for natural disasters. In almost all cases, eligibility for this type of coverage is determined by when the policy was purchased. To be covered in the event of a natural disaster, the plan must be purchased before the natural disaster occurred or become a known event. Once a weather event becomes foreseeable or reasonably predicted, it’s no longer covered by travel insurance.
If your travel insurance policy includes Hurricane and Weather coverage within its Trip Cancellation benefits, you can be reimbursed up to 100% of the unused trip costs if a natural disaster prevents you from traveling as planned. This can include coverage for expenses like flights, hotels, rental cars, tours, and excursions. Travel insurance policies may also cover delays, medical emergencies, and evacuations that result from a natural disaster.
Important Travel Insurance Benefits to Consider for Natural Disasters
Travel insurance can provide peace of mind heading into a trip, especially if you’re concerned that severe weather may disrupt your plans or traveling to a destination with a history of natural disasters.
While most comprehensive travel insurance policies offer coverage for natural disasters, the best plans offer generous coverage for the following benefits:
- Trip Cancellation: This is a pre-departure benefit that can reimburse travelers if a natural disaster is reported at the destination and travel is no longer viable. This benefit can also kick in if the destination is uninhabitable.
- Trip Interruption: This post-departure benefit can cover unused trip costs and transportation expenses if a natural disaster forces a traveler to end their trip early. This coverage may also apply if a mandatory evacuation has been ordered.
- Cancel For Any Reason: Travelers can cancel their trip for any uncovered reason, such as loss of enjoyment, with this pre-departure benefit. If you fear that bad weather may negatively impact your trip, you may cancel your plans and receive partial reimbursement for your prepaid trip costs.
- Emergency Medical: If you get injured or ill as a result of a natural disaster at any point during your trip, you may be covered for medical expenses such as hospital bills, x-rays, emergency surgeries, physician visits and other treatment.
- Medical Evacuation: Travelers that require emergency transportation to another hospital or back home to receive treatment for an unexpected illness or injury can be covered by their policy’s Medical Evacuation benefit.
- Non-Medical Evacuation: Non-Medical Evacuation provides transportation from a place of danger to a place of safety during a natural disaster.
- Travel Delay: If a natural disaster causes a significant delay heading to your destination, this benefit can cover the cost of food and lodging for travelers during the delay. This benefit may also cover unused trip costs and expenses required to catch up to your trip.
- Missed Connection: Travelers that miss a connecting flight as a result of a delay caused by a natural disaster can be reimbursed any additional costs needed to purchase additional transportation and catch up to their trip.
Destinations With a History of Natural Disasters
Natural disasters can happen anywhere, at any time. However, there are a few destinations that have encountered more natural disasters than others. Below are a handful of popular vacation spots prone to natural disasters:
Visit our Destination Center for travel insurance recommendations to some of the world’s most popular destinations. Even if your destination is not listed above, it’s still recommended that you find a travel insurance policy that covers severe weather and natural disasters. It’s also advisable to take other cautionary measures leading up to a trip, such as sharing your travel plans with a relative or close friend.
Squaremouth’s Natural Disaster Center explains travel insurance coverage related to tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that may disrupt travel. This resource is regularly updated with provider position statements, press releases, and answers to FAQs.
- Can I be reimbursed if my prepaid tour was canceled due to wildfires?
- Can I cancel my upcoming trip because of a flood?
- What types of natural disasters can be covered by travel insurance?
- Can I cancel my upcoming trip due to a wildfire at my destination?
- When can I buy travel insurance to cover a wildfire?
- Am I covered if I have to evacuate because of a wildfire?
- When can I buy travel insurance to cover an earthquake?
- What types of current events are covered by travel insurance?
- See all 17 FAQs
- Can I cancel my upcoming trip because of an earthquake?
- Can I still buy travel insurance after an earthquake happens at my destination?
- What coverage do I have if an earthquake strikes while I’m at my destination?
- Can I cancel due to the earthquake if I have Cancel For Any Reason?
- Is non-medical evacuation coverage available if the Icelandic volcano erupts while I'm traveling?
- What coverage is available if the Icelandic volcano erupts while I'm traveling?
- Can I cancel my trip if my airline stops traveling to my destination due to the Icelandic volcano?
- When do I need to purchase a policy to have coverage for the Icelandic volcano?
- Can I purchase a travel insurance policy after the Icelandic volcano has erupted?
Natural Disaster Event Center External Resources
Natural disasters, such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, can leave large areas uninhabitable and significantly impact travel. Check with local authorities at your destination, and use these resources to determine if your destination has been evacuated or deemed uninhabitable: