On April 20th, 2010 the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatened thousands of vacationers planning to visit the beach. The potential impact the oil would have on the shoreline was unknown, and many people inquired how travel insurance would help in this situation. One year after the disaster, it is still important to remember that man made disasters are not covered by trip cancellation.
Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage only applies if it is for a covered reason written in the policy. Fear of a bad time, or choosing to scrap the trip are not among the covered reasons. Even if the beach is closed because of tar, unless the travelers are quarantined, benefits are not available. There are many situations that could be covered by a natural disaster, but not man made disasters.
Someone wanting to protect their trip against a man made disaster should select a policy with cancel for any reason coverage. This allows the traveler to simply decide to cancel the trip, without explanation. To qualify for this coverage, shop early because it is only available for about 14 days from the first trip payment. Also remember that a claim will pay less than the full trip cost and the cancellation must be at least two days before departure. This is the only way a traveler could cancel because the beach could be closed.
Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.