ST. PETERSBURG, FL November 9, 2012 – Hurricane Sandy left a path of devastation, killing 50 and causing an estimated $50 billion in damage. In the storm’s aftermath, many affected vacationers with travel insurance policies have found out the hard way that they did not have the coverage they thought they had. Squaremouth, America’s fastest-growing travel insurance comparison site, explains these exclusions so it will be easy for travelers to make sure they get the right coverage next time.
One of the most important aspects of hurricane and weather benefits is time. “We want travelers to understand that if travel is booked or if a policy is purchased after a storm is named, it is highly unlikely that losses related to the storm can be claimed,” explains Chris Harvey, Squaremouth’s CEO. “It is always a good idea to purchase insurance as early as possible, but it is especially crucial for those traveling to or from areas affected by hurricanes.”
Since travel insurance is designed to protect travelers against the unforeseen, it is important for travelers to note that concerns over anticipated events are not insurable. Regardless of when it is purchased, travel insurance will never cover fears or doubts. The possibility of a destination being affected by a storm is not sufficient grounds for cancellation. For example, losses for cancelling a scheduled flight due to arrive in a destination that could be in the path of a storm does not justify a claim.
In order to understand what is required for weather-related claims, it is necessary to examine what travel insurance will cover.
If insurance and travel arrangements are purchased before a storm is named, many policies offer varying degrees of hurricane and weather coverage. The following list explains policy language frequently used to describe these benefits.
Policy Terms Explained:
1. “Covered for inclement weather”
Delays caused by common carriers, any ticketed form of public transportation, or cancellations caused by adverse weather conditions may trigger cancellation and interruption benefits.
2. “Complete cessation of common carrier”
All operations of a common carrier must be completely suspended in order for a claim to be supported. There is often a minimum time requirement for service cessation.
3. “Accommodations at destination made uninhabitable”
Claims can be made if booked accommodations cannot be used because of inhabitability, which includes loss of water, electricity, and structural instabilities.
4. “Mandatory evacuation conditionally covered”
If local authorities have ordered evacuation at the covered person’s destination, a claim may be substantiated. “Conditionally covered” means an additional stipulation, such as a minimum amount of remaining trip length at the time of evacuation, will be required.
5. “Hurricane warning issued within 24 hours of departure after 15 day wait”
A claim may be made if the covered person cancels their trip within 24 hours of their scheduled departure and the National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for their destination. This benefit is only valid if the cancellation occurs more than 15 days after a policy’s effective date.
6. “Place of employment being rendered unsuitable for business due to natural disaster”
The covered person’s workplace must close due to damages caused by a natural disaster, including loss of water, electricity, and structural instability.
7. “Your home made uninhabitable by fire, flood, volcano, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster”
This is a benefit that many are unaware of. If a covered person’s home is damaged by a hurricane while they are away, they may claim interruption benefits in order to return home to assess damages. Interruption benefits can reimburse travelers for unused portions of trips and additional transportation costs incurred to return home.
The first step travelers should take to ensure that they are protected against hurricanes is to examine policy benefits closely. Travelers should fully understand all conditions and exclusions before purchasing a policy to make sure they are receiving the coverage they need. Because most weather benefits must be purchased before a storm is named, it is also essential to purchase travel insurance policies as early as possible. When purchased early, travel insurance can often help travelers recover losses associated with major storms like Hurricane Sandy.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest-growing travel insurance comparison site, providing the tools to instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major provider. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. For more information on Squaremouth or its extensive network of partner sites worldwide, visit www.squaremouth.com.
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