Travelers take risks when they book trips during stormy seasons. Winter storms can shut down airports, train stations and even whole cities; high wind gusts can cause flight delays; and hurricanes come with their own set of complications for travel.

What can you do as a traveler to make sure you are protected in the event that Mother Nature doesn’t comply with your plans? Purchase travel insurance, of course. The right plan can provide many important benefits to get you back on track and help with many additional expenses.

Flight Delay Due to Weather

In the case of a standard weather-related delay, travel insurance can offer coverage, up to the stated amount, that reimburse for the costs incurred. If the delay lasts six hours or more (depending on the plan details), reimbursement for incidental necessities, like food and temporary lodging, may be available. On the very rare occasion, some plans may pay for these arrangements up-front, eliminating the need to file a claim for reimbursement.

Don’t worry if you are feeling overwhelmed with impromptu arrangements. Most travel insurance companies have assistance services that can help make arrangements for alternative lodging and transportation as needed; such as getting a seat on another flight, changing a rental car reservation or getting a room at a nearby hotel. Some plans may even assist in catching up to a cruise ship that has already left port.

Trip Cancellation Due to Weather

Unfortunately, weather does cause trip cancellations, especially during hurricane season or the winter. If a severe storm wreaks havoc on your travel plans, you’ll be extremely glad you invested in a plan that includes trip cancellation insurance.

In the case that a storm has caused your destination to become uninhabitable – meaning your accommodation is no longer available for you to stay due to damage from the storm, your comprehensive plan may cover trip cancellation up to 100% of your insured trip cost.

The same may be said if damage occurs at your primary place of residence, prior to departing and after you purchased a travel insurance plan. Many comprehensive travel insurance plans will offer trip cancellation benefits if your home is damaged badly enough that you must change your plans to deal with repairs.

Caveat to Coverage

Neither travel delay nor trip cancellation benefits would be available if the coverage is needed for a “known peril”. This is a fancy insurance term for a weather event that was predicted prior to you purchasing your travel insurance plan. If you purchase a plan after the storm has been predicted or, in some cases, after a tropical storm or hurricane is named, you could be denied benefits if you file a claim citing the storm as the reason for coverage.

Bottom line? Don’t hesitate to purchase a plan – especially if you are traveling during a time where weather could be a factor. Hurricane season in the Atlantic stretches from June 1st to November 30th and, of course, the winter months can always be a concern.