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Look Closely at Natural Disaster Coverage in Travel Insurance, Squaremouth Chief Executive Warns

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ST PETE BEACH, FL July 14th, 2010 – Recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have people taking a closer look at whether to buy travel insurance. But travelers should be extra cautious now because situations they might assume are covered, may not be, warns, America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison website.

“Always check the fine print to learn how extensively you’re covered,” said Squaremouth Chief Executive Chris Harvey.

Consider this scenario: A trip to the interior of Chile is canceled after an earthquake shuts down the airport for days and devastates the country’s infrastructure. Hotels are intact, but there is no way to enter the country or reach them. Travel insurance was purchased long before the disaster, so there should be a paid claim, right?

Depending on the plan, this may not be the case.Policy language for canceling or interrupting a trip is very specific, there are rarely blanket statements that define coverage.  Even if a traveler experiences something completely out of their control and entirely unforeseeable, if it is not clearly stated in the policy, then coverage may not be available.  It is always a good idea to review the covered reasons for trip cancellation and trip interruption to fully understand how the trip is protected.

Airport closures, and damaged roads or bridges from natural disasters are seldom covered reasons to cancel or interrupt a trip. There might be coverage if an airline stops servicing the destination for 24 or 48 hours, but normally only if caused by inclement weather. Few policies cover when it is the result of a natural disaster.

The volcanic ash over Europe, meanwhile, offers a different example of how coverage applies. Eruptions are considered natural disasters; however, some carriers have generously defined the ash cloud emanating from Iceland as a weather event, meaning more coverage is available.

An alternative solution is “cancel for any reason” coverage, which gives the traveler a choice to cancel the trip altogether without explanation.

“Cancel for any reason” has boundaries as well.  If the traveler is aware of this option and the requirements early in the travel planning process, then there is a much wider scope of protection.

  • Shop early in order to get this coverage. The option is available for a limited time from the first trip payment, anywhere from 9 to 30 days depending on the plan.
  • This benefit is usually a selectable option that will increase the premium by 40% – 50%.
  • All trip costs that are paid before departure and potentially non-refundable must be insured on the policy.
  • The trip must be cancelled at least two days before departure, avoiding any last minute change of mind.
  • “Cancel for any reason” provides partial reimbursement, typically around 75%, whereas canceling for a covered reason under “trip cancellation” reimburses 100%.

Concern that a hurricane might hit the destination or that oil from the Gulf of Mexico will possibly reach the vacation spot are two examples of how”cancel for any reason” allows the traveler to simply choose to cancel the trip.

“If a policy doesn’t cover scenarios you think might cause the trip to be scrapped, then ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage is a great option,” Harvey said.

About Squaremouth
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major carrier. Squaremouth has web sites in the US and UK, and an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL., with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. Visit or

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The cornerstone of our commitment to customers is Squaremouth’s guarantee to remove any company from our website if there is a customer complaint that cannot be resolved to our satisfaction. Squaremouth offers the broadest selection of insurance with an emphasis on quality and follow-up care in companies featured. We also factor in independent evaluation from the insurance industry watchdog AM Best.

Joshua Walker
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