ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. September 11, 2018 — Residents of the East Coast are preparing for Category 4 Hurricane Florence, with more than 1 million facing mandatory evacuation orders. But according to travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth, it is still too early for Hurricane Florence to trigger travel insurance benefits for residents with homes in the storm’s path.
Travel insurance experts at Squaremouth explain why it’s too early for coverage to kick in, and when these benefits will become available.
Current Mandatory Evacuation of Residents is Not Covered
In an effort to prepare homes and belongings, residents with upcoming trips may be reevaluating travel plans, while others on vacation may consider returning home early.
Travelers who cancel a trip, or those who return early, to board up their houses or otherwise prepare, are not covered under their travel insurance policy to do so.
While most travel insurance policies with Trip Cancellation benefits include coverage for hurricanes and natural disasters, they almost always require your home to be damaged by the storm before the policy will cover related travel expenses.
According to Squaremouth, this common misconception cost travelers during 2017’s hurricane season.
“Last year, there were several major hurricanes impacting our customers. We received a handful of calls from travelers who canceled their travel plans or returned home early to prepare for a storm, and wanted to claim their unused expenses under their travel insurance policy,” says Squaremouth’s Director of Claims, Andi Oates. “Unfortunately, travel insurance benefits don’t become available until the event has happened. Preparing for an event to occur is not a covered reason to cancel a trip.”
Damage to Home Can Be Covered
While preparation isn’t covered under standard Trip Cancellation benefits, damage can be. Most travel insurance policies include coverage if a traveler’s home is rendered uninhabitable by a storm, flood waters, or other natural disaster. If this occurs, travelers can claim up to 100% of their unused travel expenses if they need to cancel their trip, or cut a trip short.
In any case, the resident would have had to purchase a travel insurance policy before Florence was named on September 1st. Squaremouth launched the Hurricane Florence and Travel Insurance Information Center to keep residents and travelers informed of their travel insurance coverage. This resource will be updated regularly as events surrounding the storm unfold.