When major winter storms pass overhead, it usually means trouble for travelers.
Airlines can be forced to cancel thousands of flights that affect travelers throughout the country, hotels may abruptly sell out, and cruise ships have to change departure times to get to safe waters.
The good news in the midst of bad weather is that many travelers have some protection from the moment they purchase their trips. Many travel credit cards offer insurance benefits to cover weather-related incidents, including trip cancellation and trip delays.
But that insurance won’t necessarily cover every situation in which you have to cancel or change plans due to winter weather. Experts suggest considering purchasing additional travel insurance to cover the gaps left by a credit card on long trips, trips where medical insurance is required, or trips that cost $10,000 or more.
Before buying any travel insurance policy, be sure to understand what coverage is included from your credit card. Here’s what to look for.
Are you covered?: Coverage depends on how travelers purchase their trip. If it is purchased with a credit card, some travel insurance benefits may already apply. But if they pay by debit card or check, they may not have any coverage without purchasing a travel insurance policy.
And note: “For third-party travel insurance policies, you have to collect receipts and credit card statements to submit with a claim,” says Steven Benna, marketing specialist at travel insurance website Squaremouth.com.
Winter weather: If airplanes are still flying, trip cancellation and trip delay benefits usually don’t apply. But flights changed by an airline may count toward trip cancellation. If a flight or tour is cancelled by an airline, train, or bus line because of severe weather, travelers could file a claim to recover nonrefundable costs lost as a result of the storm.
Named storms: A traditional travel insurance plan may not cover claims resulting from a named storm, unless the plan was purchased before it was named.
Travel insurance from credit cards may not have the same restrictions, but often only covers incidents directly resulting from weather. Read the explanation of benefits to see what may be covered.
Trip cancellation: Despite the name, not all reasons for cancelling a trip are covered. Travelers can’t file a travel insurance claim because they anticipate bad weather. But if the weather forces them to miss a trip or return home early, credit card travel insurance could help recover costs.
Read the full NerdWallet article online here: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/travel/will-travel-insurance-cover-winter-woes/