St Pete Beach, FL September 6, 2010 — With the 2010 hurricane season entering it’s busiest period, Squaremouth, America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison web site, today announces some essential tips and terms to help travelers sort through options for hurricane coverage.
Hurricane insurance tips:
1- No insurance covers absolutely everything that could happen when a hurricane hits or a traveler needs to be evacuated. “Hurricane Warning” coverage from Travelsafe and Global Alert Administrators, for example, works only if the warning that a hurricane is about to hit comes within 24 hours of departure date, and only if the policy was purchased more than 15 days ago.
2 – Buy the policy before a storm is named… Or there will not be cover for losses relating to that storm. This is because insurance is based on unforeseen circumstances; once a storm has a name it’s deemed to be foreseen. (The same is true for things like airline strikes: if the impending strike becomes public knowledge before the insurance is purchased, the claim will be denied.)
3 – The wording of a policy may be vague. Some policies don’t refer to hurricanes at all; coverage may fall under the catch-all category of a “natural disaster” instead. And often they’re interpreted case-by-case at claim time.
4 – Some benefits that don’t specifically mention hurricanes can help. An example is “cancel for any reason” cover, though most policies pay out less than 100% and stop within two days of departure (there is cover for cancelling travel plans ahead of time if a hurricane threatens but not for an emergency evacuation once the storm rolls in).
5 – If bad weather is predicted, but no warning is given… No insurance carrier will pay claims in this situation. The only option is to buy “cancel for any reason” coverage.
6 – Consider options offered by the airline, cruise or tour operator. Travelers offered alternate trips with the same travel dates, may not be able to make a claim if they refuse their offer. If the dates are different, most insurance companies will pay the claim, however, the tickets must be surrendered.
7 – There’s plenty of variation in hurricane benefits from one company to the next, so it pays to shop around. But keep in mind that policies offered by the same company tend to offer similar protection against hurricanes, although the carrier’s higher-end product might afford slightly better coverage.
Hurricane insurance terms:
1 – “Accommodation at destination made uninhabitable”
In the past, even if the hurricane soaked hotel were flattened and the pool awash in filth, travelers would be on the hook for a vacation as long as the airline could still fly them there. With this benefit, they may cancel if they can no longer reach the resort, it has become unsafe, or has lost electricity and running water.
2 – Mandatory evacuation “Conditionally covered” or “Not covered”
If a vacationer is thinking of cutting short her trip because of a hurricane, she should check her policy. “Conditionally covered” means covered for going home early if there is a certain amount of the trip left; this varies by carrier and is usually 50 percent, or four days or less remaining at the end of an evacuation order. If a traveler is “Not covered,” they can’t make a claim if the hurricane missed their destination despite the order to evacuate. (If the hurricane does hit, they can make a claim under the “Accommodation at destination made uninhabitable” portion of the policy.)
3 – “Hurricane warning” coverage
Timing is everything when it comes to buying peace of mind this hurricane season. “Hurricane warning” coverage from Travelsafe and Global Alert Administrators works only if the warning that a hurricane is about to hit comes within 24 hours of your departure date, and only if you’ve held the policy for more than 15 days.
4 – “Complete cessation of common carrier services”
If an airline has stopped flying due to the weather and a traveler can’t get to their destination, they have missed a cruise departure or connecting flight, or they are stuck in an airport, most carriers will let them make a claim. The difference between policies is in the number of hours the airline is down: at least 24 hours of downtime is usually required, though some policies allow claims for any period of downtime.
5 – “Covered for inclement weather”
This benefit is a more liberal version of “Complete cessation of common carrier services” and will allow a claim without the required number of hours’ downtime. This means that if a flight cancellation impacts in some way, a traveler can claim the loss.
If the trip includes a cruise:
If a hurricane makes a traveler miss their departure, insurance will pay for them to catch up at the next port of call. If the cruise is canceled, any losses not reimbursed will be covered. If the itinerary is changed and the traveler refuses an offer of an alternate route with the same travel dates, they won’t be allowed to make a claim. If the dates offered are different, most insurance carriers will pay the claim (the tickets will need to be surrendered).
If the trip includes flights:
If a flight is canceled, depending on the policy and trip itinerary, there could be a claim for an alternative flight, cancel and go home, or wait for the flight to be rescheduled and claim for expenses.
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 Squaremouth.com or Squaremouth.co.uk.
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