With the arrival of this year’s hurricane season, forecasted to be above average, consumers are reminded to protect their investment in the event a named storm threatens their plans. The US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) says it’s important for consumers to know when, why, and how to activate their travel insurance benefits.
If the potential for a hurricane is looming, travellers have been asked to keep five things in mind:
• Read your policy before you travel. Understanding the coverage and services that are available to you is critical, including trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance benefits.
• Contact your travel suppliers—like your hotel and airline—before you cancel your trip. They may allow you to change your trip without penalty, which is trending as a result of the impact on travel due to Covid. Most major airlines are currently waiving change fees for events such as hurricanes, and many cruise lines are offering refunds and future cruise credits. Prior to filing your travel insurance claim, check with your travel suppliers to determine if any penalties or fees will be waived. If you're able to change the dates of your trip, your travel insurance provider may also change the dates of your policy to coincide with your new dates of travel.
• Include all pertinent documentation if you need to file a claim. Provide your invoices and receipts, proof of payment (such as credit card statements), proof of any refunds already received, communication with travel suppliers, etc.—everything you have to substantiate your loss.
• Consider filing your claim online. Many travel insurance providers can become inundated with phone calls immediately before, during, and after a hurricane. Filing online can save you time and may expedite the processing of your claim.
• Be sure to take your travel insurance information with you on your trip. Make sure you pack your policy number and information on how to reach your provider for assistance and to activate coverage and services in case your trip is interrupted.
The timing of filing a claim can be important. For example, cancelling a trip before a hurricane warning is given, before a hurricane is named, or before the actual hurricane hits might not be covered. Make sure to read the terms of your specific policy or call your travel insurance provider for clarification.