Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures! And good weather is a big factor when booking your ideal vacation. But considering the changes in climate conditions around the world, prompting unexpected bad weather and natural disasters, there’s no guarantee for perfect weather when travelling. Travel insurance policies can help protect you from unexpected expenses during these unfortunate circumstances. Ask your insurance agent the right questions and read and understand your policy wording carefully.
A few facts to get you started:
1. Coverage does not apply to a forecast (or “known event”) of bad weather because it isn’t an “unforeseen” event (ie. It rains the whole week at your destination).
2. “Bad Weather” or “Natural Disaster Coverage” in a travel insurance policy means that you’re covered if those events haven’t happened but are likely to cause serious harm or financial losses IF they do happen (ie. snow storms, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, etc.).
3. Travel insurance can include coverage for delayed, cancelled or interrupted trips due to inclement weather. Be sure to get familiar with the details surrounding each situation.
4. Some natural disasters are classified as Acts of God and no coverage is provided.
When dealing with bad weather or a natural disaster, each travel insurance policy is different. Prior to purchasing the policy, ask your insurance agent to explain the terminology, definitions and the fine print you can’t comprehend. Here are some common terms to look for:
a. Trip Cancellation: In many cases, trips that are completely cancelled require a 24-hour shut down of common carrier services. If you cancel your trip within 24 hours of your scheduled departure date and, and if your trip destination is under a hurricane warning issued by the NOAA National Hurricane Center, full reimbursement may be issued within the guidelines of the policy.
b. Missed Connections: You may be reimbursed for additional costs to catch up to a cruise or tour if it is a carrier-caused delay or documented weather condition.
c. Trip Delay: Generally caused by bad weather or a carrier delay, you may be covered for additional expenses incurred during this delay (ie. food, accommodation). Long delays of more than 50% of the length of your trip can turn into a trip cancellation.
d. After death/Death & Medical/Dental Care: If you are injured or killed while traveling and as a result of a natural disaster, benefits may be paid to reimburse you, the medical facility who treated you, or your beneficiaries up to the travel insurance plan limits.
e. Trip Interruption: If you unexpectedly return home early from your trip (including official/forced evacuation or your travel accommodation is uninhabitable), you may be reimbursed for unused prepaid trip costs and one-way airfare.
f. Non-medical emergency evacuation coverage pays for all reasonable expenses incurred for your transportation to the nearest place of safety.