Every year families, couples and individuals travel to tropical destinations to spend time at the beach, playing golf and enjoying the sunshine. Tropical destinations are known for amazing beaches and clear blue ocean water, but they are also known for hurricanes. Many travelers found themselves stranded or spending extra money last year because they didn’t get travel insurance with hurricane coverage or didn’t understand what their policy really covered.
Whenever you plan to travel internationally, you need an insurance policy to protect you for medical reasons, but also in case of a natural disaster. Here are some of the things you should understand before choosing the right policy for your trip.
- 1. Don’t Wait Until the Hurricane is Named - Many times, travelers will try to get insurance once the hurricane has been given a name. This won’t help, as it is now considered a known event and most companies won’t offer coverage at this point. You need to purchase your travel insurance sooner. The best time to purchase insurance for a trip is right after making the first payment for a hotel, airfare or anything else having to do with the trip.
- 2. Don’t Buy Travel Insurance From a Travel Agent or Cruise Line - Travelers often make the mistake of buying an insurance policy from their travel agent or the cruise line. This may seem like a good idea, since it’s very convenient, but these policies won’t cover you 100%. If you have already purchased one of these policies, you can cancel it, if you act quickly. The biggest issue with these types of policies, they are not designed specifically for you. They are a one-size-fits-all type of insurance coverage and have left many stranded without the coverage they thought they had.
- 3. You Cannot Cancel Because of Hurricane Warnings - In most cases, your travel insurance plan won’t cover cancellation because of a hurricane warning. Just because a warning is issued doesn’t’ mean the hurricane will hit. It just means that a particular destination could be hit with specific force. Make sure you understand whether your policy covers cancellation due to a hurricane warning or not.
- 4. Don’t Ignore Any Exclusions - Understanding your policy is a very important part of purchasing travel insurance. If you don’t understand the exclusions, you may experience a horrible vacation when you thought your trip was covered. For example, some policies will state that cancellation of a trip for a full refund can only happen if your hotel is destroyed in the hurricane. This means, if the beach and pool are covered in garbage, you won’t get a refund. Any exclusions will be clearly stated within your policy and you need to read it. Many travelers make the mistake of ignoring the exclusions and end up in a situation they never thought was possible.
- 5. Don’t Assume Your Policy Even Covers Hurricanes - Assuming that you have hurricane coverage is a big mistake since many travel insurance plans don’t include this type of coverage. Your policy needs to specifically list hurricanes or severe weather as a reason for cancellation and you need to make sure you also have post-departure trip interruption coverage in the event that a hurricane finds your destination.
- 6. Assuming Hurricane Coverage Isn’t Necessary - Many travelers forget that hurricanes can affect more than just the destination they are traveling to. If you miss a connecting flight because of a hurricane and your plan was to go on a cruise, your ship will leave without you. Those without travel insurance will be out of luck. You need to make sure you are covered even if the hurricane that interrupts your trip doesn’t hit your specific destination.
The easiest way to avoid losing out on your vacation because of a hurricane is to get proper travel insurance. Take the time to compare a few different companies and make sure you read the policy before you commit to it. It’s very important to know what to expect when you travel, and the last thing you want is to find yourself stranded or paying for a trip that you cannot enjoy.
All insurance plans are different and may include hurricane coverage, but not all do. Make sure you understand everything within your policy. Knowing what to expect when a hurricane ruins your trip is much better than finding yourself surprised and feeling like your travel insurance was a complete waste of money.