Lessons From Tropical Storm Debby

Published by June 28, 2012

Not all storms are alike, one reason why it is good to understand what is covered by a travel insurance policy.  While many tropical storms and hurricanes are associated with high winds delaying flights and causing damage, Debby brought a lot of rain, some tornadoes and more rain.  Now that the storm has slowed, many travelers are wondering how a similar situation might be covered by travel insurance.

First, it is important to understand how flooding is covered.  Most policies allow cancellation if the traveler’s home or the accommodation at the destination is damaged and made uninhabitable by flooding.  One key distinction is that this covers the lodging, it does not apply simply if there is flooding in a general area.

Flooding caused by a storm can also trigger benefits related to weather, namely travel delay and missed connection.  Travel delay reimburses the costs of food, hotel and taxi during a flight delay.  Missed connection reimburses the expenses to catch up to the trip if a connecting flight is missed due to this type of delay.  The key with both of these is that they pertain to flight delays, or other common carrier delays.  So these benefits aren’t important for those driving to the destination.

When a common carrier delay is for a significant amount of time, trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage is available in most policies.  Some require the delay last for 12, 24 or even 48 hours before a claim will be paid, while other plans don’t require a set amount of time.  Learn more about these distinctions in the press release It’s Too Late to Buy Travel Insurance for Tropical Storm Debby, Squaremouth Warns.

The most important question for people planning trips during the rest of this hurricane season is what can be done to avoid the unpleasant experience entirely?  Many people don’t want to wait for the flight to be cancelled or for damage to occur, rather, they don’t want to go on the beach vacation if they are certain it will be rained out.  The only way travel insurance covers this type of cancellation is through the benefit cancel for any reason.  This lets a traveler cancel the trip without providing an explanation why. There are some restrictions around this coverage.  To get this coverage, shop soon after making the trip deposit, make sure to insure the full cost of your trip, and, if you are going to cancel, you must do so at least two days before the trip.  Also, be aware that this coverage is normally an option that raises the cost of insurance by about 50%.