The Guide to Hurricane Travel Insurance

For coverage to apply, buy your policy at least 24 hours before an approaching storm is given a name.
Lee Huffman
By Lee Huffman 
Published
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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Hurricane season comes around every year, but you don't have to let it ruin your travel plans. One of the ways to protect your trip — whether it’s a wedding in Miami or a weeklong cruise in the Caribbean — is to buy hurricane travel insurance. It lets you travel without worrying about whether you'll be covered in case a hurricane impacts your trip.

To make sure you’re prepared, here’s what you need to know about when hurricane season is, whether travel insurance covers hurricanes and what options are available to you to protect your reservations.

When is hurricane season?

Hurricane season is the time frame during which hurricanes are most likely to occur. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the hurricane season begins June 1 of each year and lasts through November 30.

While hurricanes are more likely to form during this six-month timeframe, it is possible for them to occur at other times of the year as well.

Hurricanes are storms that form over tropical or subtropical bodies of water, and therefore they typically impact the Caribbean, Central America and U.S. states along the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard.

Even if your destination isn't in one of these areas, your plans could be impacted if you're traveling through the area or if your plane is coming from one of the region’s airports.

Will travel insurance cover bad weather?

The protections of travel insurance kick in when unexpected situations occur while traveling. Depending on which policy you've purchased, these benefits may include coverage for trip interruption or cancellation, trip delay, lost or stolen luggage, emergency medical treatment, rental car protection and more.

However, travel insurance generally doesn't cover refundable reservations or other bookings that you can cancel without penalty.

Additionallywhen bad weather strikes, the details of your travel insurance policy matter. Let's focus specifically on how coverage is affected during hurricane season.

Does travel insurance cover hurricanes?

Travel insurance can cover hurricanes, but there are numerous details that determine whether your trip is covered. These factors include when you booked your trip, when the storm was named and whether your trip has already started.

Once a storm has been named

When a tropical storm is named — which happens when a rotating pattern and wind speeds of at least 39 mph are detected — many travelers in potentially affected areas may rush to buy coverage for their trip.

However, once a storm has a name, any newly purchased policy likely won't cover claims due to the storm. Typically, you need to purchase travel insurance at least 24 hours in advance of the storm being named in order for all of its benefits to apply.

Like any other insurance policy, travel insurance is meant to cover unexpected situations. Insurance companies don't sell policies to cover a "foreseeable event" — like a named tropical storm or hurricane — so it’s best to purchase a travel insurance policy soon after confirming your travel plans.

While booking your trip

When booking flights, hotels, cruises and other travel reservations, you may be offered the option to buy a travel insurance policy. Some websites or travel agents offer options for booking travel insurance at the same time as your trip purchase.

Buying travel insurance for hurricanes during the booking process should cover claims if a hurricane later impacts your trip — as long as you’re not purchasing your travel when a storm is already predicted.

Before you depart

Even if you don't buy travel insurance when booking your trip, you can buy it later on. Ideally, you'll buy your travel insurance policy within 14 days of making your first trip payment.

Buying within the first 14 days ensures that pre-existing medical conditions won't be exempt from coverage. If you don't have any pre-existing medical conditions (or aren't worried about that exemption), you can buy a travel insurance policy at any point prior to your departure.

During your trip

For travelers who've already started their journey, it is still possible to buy travel insurance. However, this option is typically limited to a small number of policies and may require waiting periods for certain types of coverage to kick in.

Other sorts of coverage, like trip cancellation, won’t be applicable because you’ve already started your trip.

Types of travel insurance

While the term travel insurance is used widely, there are multiple types of travel insurance to choose from. Here are a few types of travel insurance that you may come across when looking to buy a policy.

Single-trip

Single-trip travel insurance covers just one trip, as the name implies. These types of policies are good if you don't travel very often or if you’ve made a big financial commitment on a trip that you want covered.

Those who have travel protections through a credit card or who book reservations with penalty-free cancellation policies may not need to buy travel insurance for all of their trips. But, a single-trip policy could be a good idea if you want to protect a trip with substantial prepaid, non-refundable reservations. They're also useful when you want to customize the coverage for each trip.

Annual plan

Those who travel multiple times a year may be better off with an annual or multi-trip plan. These travel insurance plans protect all of your trips during the coverage period. They can be more cost-effective than buying multiple single-trip policies. Plus, you won't have to remember to buy a policy every time you book a trip.

The downside of annual plans is that they may not be available for all travelers. For example, some insurers don't offer annual plans for travelers age 70 and over. There are also typically limitations on the length of each trip in order to be covered.

Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance

Most travel insurance policies allow you to get reimbursed for a canceled trip only for covered reasons. If your reason falls outside of those guidelines, you won't receive compensation. One way to get around this is to add Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage to your policy.

With CFAR coverage, you have more flexibility in canceling your trip while still being eligible to submit a claim. For example, even if a hurricane isn’t headed directly for your destination, you may decide to cancel your beach vacation because of predicted storm-related rain.

Keep in mind that CFAR cancellation coverage amounts are typically limited to 50% to 75% of your prepaid, non-refundable expenses. In other words, you won't be fully reimbursed for your travel expenses even if you’re using CFAR coverage.

Best travel insurance for hurricane season

Travelers have a variety of travel insurance companies to choose from when buying hurricane insurance. Here are a few well-known companies that offer some of the best travel insurance policies for hurricane season.

  • Allianz Travel Insurance. Offers single- and multi-trip plans with 24/7 assistance.

  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. Offers specific hurricane protection for cruises and pays claims via your preferred channel in minutes.

  • Generali Global Assistance. Every policy includes a free-look refund period and 24-hour emergency assistance.

  • TravelGuard. Provides free concierge service to rebook missed flights and 24/7 emergency travel assistance services.

Do credit card travel protections cover hurricanes?

Numerous credit cards offer travel protections that may cover hurricanes. These benefits include trip cancellation, interruption and delay that may cover your flight, hotel, cruise and other reservations.

Rules for credit card coverage can vary substantially. Contact your credit card issuer or benefits administrator to ask how these benefits apply.

Hurricane travel insurance recapped

While you can’t purchase a hurricane travel insurance policy per se, many travel insurance policies can protect travelers during hurricane season. These policies cover trip cancellation, interruption and other situations that can occur when an unexpected storm impacts your travel plans.

However, there are rules about when you must buy your policy for coverage to take effect. Whether you purchase your policy while booking your trip or a week before departure, as long as it's more than 24 hours before a storm is named, you should be covered if a hurricane rolls in.


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