ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. August 9, 2018 – This summer, wildfires have burned out of control in California and Greece. Leading travel insurance comparison website, Squaremouth, says whether your home or travel destination is in the fire’s path, travel insurance may be able to help. But before buying a policy, here are 3 things travelers don’t know about coverage for wildfires, but should.
1. Cause of the fire determines coverage
Most Trip Cancellation-style travel insurance policies will reimburse you if a natural disaster, such as a wildfire, prevents you from taking your trip as planned. However, travelers may not be aware that the original cause of the fire can dictate if this coverage is available.
In general, travel insurance policies consider a “natural disaster” something that occurred “due to natural causes”. Meaning, if arson or other human error is to blame, the event may not be considered a “natural disaster”, and coverage may not be available at all.
An example of this is the current Carr fire in California that was reportedly caused by a car’s flat tire. This determination could nullify travel insurance coverage, depending on the specific insurance provider’s definition of a natural disaster.
2. Cutoff date for getting coverage can be complicated
In order to have travel insurance coverage for any event, a policy must be purchased before the event occurs. Unfortunately for natural disasters like wildfires, and other events under investigation, it can be difficult to pinpoint the date it first occurred. As a general rule, travelers should remember that by the time an event is in the news and commonly known, it is too late to buy a travel insurance policy for any coverage related to that event.
3. Coverage available if home is in danger
Most travelers associate travel insurance coverage with a problem at their destination, however most don’t know coverage can be available if your home is affected. Most Trip Cancellation-style policies cover travelers whose residence becomes uninhabitable or inaccessible by a natural disaster, such as a wildfire. This benefit covers the cost for the traveler to cancel their trip, or return home early, as well as any unused expenses due to the early return.
Squaremouth’s California Wildfires and Travel Insurance Information Center explains travel insurance coverage with up-to-date information for travelers affected by the fires, including answers to FAQs and statements from providers. This resource will be regularly updated as the event unfolds.