Travel Insurance and Hurricanes: What You Didn’t Know You Should AskJuly 19th, 2011
One of the reasons we’re so adamant about trying to stay in touch with our customers is that it’s often the experience of one traveler that helps us better serve the needs of all travelers. One person’s experience can sometimes help us to uncover unique questions and concerns about travel insurance that might help somebody else in choosing the right policy for their trip. That’s why, for many of our Customer Care Representatives, the most memorable Hurricane Season stories are the ones that involved slightly less common questions from travelers.
“I had clients call who were in Mexico at the time of a storm, and their hotel mandated that everyone had to evacuate. Luckily they made it to the airport before it was shut down, so they were able to get home. They used their trip interruption coverage to help recover their costs.” Lynne, Customer Care Training and Communications Specialist
Why it was unusual: Although Lynne’s clients were told by their hotel manager that they had to leave the property, there was actually no mandatory evacuation from the city in which they were staying. While some travel insurance plans state that a mandatory evacuation is a covered event, many travelers could be confused by what a “mandatory evacuation” really means. In this case, while the term didn’t apply, the travelers were still able to recoup the expenses involved in cutting their trip short, because uninhabitable accommodations — i.e., a hotel that’s closed and evacuated due to the storm — are often covered as reasons for trip interruption.
Confused? Here’s what to ask: What happens if a hurricane hits while I’m on vacation, and I can’t stay in my hotel any longer? What kind of coverage would I have if I left early?
“This is kind of an unusual one, but it’s something I think people should really be aware of. I spoke to some travelers who were supposed to be spending the night on a sailboat while the hurricane was coming through. They were covered, fortunately, because it was a charter boat – but I want to make sure people know that they have to ask questions about getting coverage for something unique like a stay on a sailing vessel, because it’s not the type of thing that is covered by every standard policy.” –Darryl, Customer Care Representative
Why it was unusual: Cruising might be a popular travel choice, but spending just one or two nights on a private boat isn’t for everyone.
Confused? Here’s what to ask: If there is anything about your travel plans that you think may be somewhat unconventional — unusual accommodations, adventure sports, wilderness experiences, whatever it may be — please share that with a Customer Care Representative. You may want to say something like, “I’m not sure if this is significant, but I’m planning to spend the night on a raft going down the Nile…what happens if the river floods unexpectedly and I can’t fulfill my plans?” As Darryl’s experience with the charter-boat passengers illustrates, there may be specific coverage readily available for certain things, while others may require a bit more research, or may not be covered at all. It’s best to know well in advance of your trip whether or not your exotic plans can be protected by travel insurance, so there are no surprises in the midst of your adventure.
“I do remember speaking with an insured that had purchased (one of the policies offered on InsureMyTrip.com). There was a hurricane warning and she was able to cancel her trip and receive the cost of the trip back. She wanted us to know how extremely happy she was that she had spoken to a knowledgeable customer care specialist who had suggested purchasing one of the policies that offered cancellation due to a hurricane warning. “ –Nancie, Customer Care Representative
Why it was unusual: As Nancie points out, not every package policy will cover you if you decide to cancel your trip based on a hurricane warning alone. Many of them stipulate that a hurricane must actually occur, and cause certain complications for travelers, for coverage to kick in. However, we do have some plans that extend the cancellation coverage to travelers who want to change their plans based on a warning, so this particular customer was fortunate to have made an informed choice.
Confused? Here’s what to ask: If you really feel that you’d be among the people who would want to cancel due to the threat of a hurricane, then it’s absolutely worth asking one of our Customer Care Representatives to explain to you about not only policies that will cover cancellation due to a hurricane warning, but also Cancel For Any Reason coverage, which provides a broader spectrum of protection and may be the most comfortable choice for some travelers.
The bottom line: We can never know too much about your travel plans. The more information you provide to us as we’re helping you research your options, the better able we’ll be to provide you with a policy that truly meets all of your unique needs as a traveler. Call one of our Customer Care Representatives at 800-487-4722 to receive personalized service and answers to all of your travel insurance questions.