Hurricane season – what you need to know about travel insurance

Published by July 7, 2008

St Pete Beach, FL  July 08, 2008 – Tropical Storm Bertha is currently blowing in the Atlantic, and the August peak of hurricane season is coming soon.

With experts forecasting higher than usual hurricane activity this June through November, Squaremouth, America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison web site, today announces some essential tips and terms to help customers sort through options for hurricane coverage.

Hurricane insurance tips:

1- No insurance covers absolutely everything that could happen when a hurricane hits or you need to be evacuated. New “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 your departure date, and only if you’ve held the policy for more than 15 days.

2 – Buy the policy before a storm is named… Or you won’t be covered 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 you buy insurance, you can’t make a claim.)

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 (you’ll be covered for canceling travel plans ahead of time if a hurricane threatens; 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. If you’re offered an alternate trip with the same travel dates, you can’t make a claim if you refuse their offer. If the dates are different, most insurance companies will pay the claim, however, you must surrender the tickets.

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 your hurricane soaked hotel were flattened and the pool awash in filth, you’d be on the hook for a vacation as long as the airline could still fly you there. With this benefit, you may cancel if you can no longer reach the resort, it has become unsafe, or has lost electricity and running water. Only AIG defines the term “Accommodation at destination made uninhabitable” although every carrier offers versions of the same cover.

2 – Mandatory evacuation “Conditionally covered” or “Not covered”
If you’re thinking of cutting short your trip because of a hurricane, check your policy. “Conditionally covered” means you’re covered for going home early if you have a certain amount of your 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 you’re “Not covered,” you can’t make a claim if the hurricane missed your destination despite the order to evacuate. (If the hurricane does hit, you 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. New “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 your airline has stopped flying due to the weather and you can’t get to your island, you’ve missed a cruise departure or connecting flight, or you’re stuck in an airport, most carriers will let you 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 let you claim without the required number of hours’ downtime. This means that if a flight cancellation impacts you in some way, you can claim the loss.

If your trip includes a cruise:
If a hurricane makes you miss your departure, insurance will pay for you 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 you refuse an offer of an alternate route with the same travel dates, you won’t be allowed to make a claim. If the dates offered are different, most insurance carriers will pay the claim (you’ll have to surrender the tickets).

If your trip includes flights:
If your flight is canceled, depending on the policy and your trip itinerary, you could claim for an alternative flight, cancel and go home, or wait for the flight to be rescheduled and claim for expenses.

If it’s a car trip:
A small number of policies all from the insurer AIG will cover a delay if you’re traveling by car, including any expenses incurred during the delay. Or you could cancel the trip and go home.

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

About our “Zero Complaint Guarantee”
The cornerstone of our commitment to customers is Squaremouth’s guarantee to remove any company from our web site until a complaint is 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.

Squaremouth offers products from the following travel insurance carriers:
CSA, Global Alert Admin, Global Underwriters, HTH Worldwide, ITravelInsured, Medjet Assist, MH Ross, Multinational Underwriters (MNU), Seven Corners, Travel Insurance Services, Travel Insured, Travelers Liberty, Travelex, TravelSafe and USA Assist.

This article is available at:

Chris Harvey
Toll-free (800) 240-0369
Direct (727) 490-5802
U.S. travel insurance –
U.K. travel insurance –
International Medical Insurance –