Hurricane Travel Insurance – Is It Worth It?

July 25, 2019

Several years ago, I was traveling through Asia when I had a connecting flight in Taiwan cancelled due to flooding caused by a nearby cyclone, which is what they call hurricanes in that part of the world. The airline rescheduled my flight and I had to sleep in the airport. It wasn’t the worst experience in the world, but it is only in later years that I realized how much money I lost through missed compensation opportunities.

Did you know that you could be owed compensation for delayed or canceled flights up to $1,300? And that over $300 million in airline passenger compensations went unclaimed in the first half of 2018? However, claiming such money isn’t as easy as it sounds. There is a lot of paperwork involved and you usually have to be delayed or canceled in a Western country for significant compensation.

Also, you may not be compensated for a delay or cancellation due to inclement weather, depending on the airline. However, having enough hurricane related travel insurance may be a good way to cover money losses in such situations. Still, is it important to have a dedicated hurricane travel insurance policy or will any other travel insurance policy be enough?

Well, it all depends on several factors. Most people travel in the summer, which is the heart of hurricane season. The types of travel insurance policies that you should get depends more on timing, fine print, and the outsized probability that a hurricane will strike the place where you plan to vacation.

Hurricane Travel Insurance

You should only buy dedicated hurricane travel insurance policies if you are vacationing anywhere that is more than likely to be hit by a hurricane. The thing to keep in mind is that such policies only pay out if your vacation is actually disrupted by a hurricane and not only by the threat of such.

The Fine Print

If you buy hurricane travel insurance, you must by all means buy it as early as possible. That means you have to buy a policy before a hurricane forms, has been publicly named, or whose potential trajectory has been publicly protected. If you wait until a hurricane forms in the area where you plan to vacation, you’ll be ineligible for coverage.

For you to file a claim, a hurricane would have to directly delay or cancel your flight, unexpectedly interrupt your trip, or destroy your planned destination of travel. If you opt for such coverage, you should buy it weeks or months in advance. Some insurance companies might deny you coverage unless you buy coverage 24 hours before a hurricane affecting your travel.

If you preemptively cancel your own plans out of fear of a hurricane strike on your vacation, and it doesn’t happen, or worse, happens after you cancel your plans, you’re not eligible for a claim.

The Cost

A hurricane travel insurance policy might cost 4% to 8%, or more, commensurate to the total value of your trip. Since the average cost of a vacation is about $4,500, that can end up being a lot of money.

Alternatives

Unless you are planning to vacation in an area known for hurricane strikes, I don’t know if such coverage is worth it. You can compare hurricane related travel insurance policies at websites like Squaremouth or Insuremytrip. Also, any trip cancellation, trip delay, or trip interruption policies may be adequate if you buy them in advance. Don’t forget, your credit cards may offer complimentary travel insurance coverage.

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