June 1 marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, and if you’re planning a trip to any of the states along the east coast, from Maine to Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico, and anywhere in the Caribbean, make sure you get trip cancellation insurance to protect any deposits or prepayments should a storm disrupt your plans.
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance will allow you to recoup any non-refundable deposits or prepayments made to airlines, hotels, resorts, golf courses or tours if a hurricane blows in and renders your destination uninhabitable or if a government warning is issued against travel to that destination.
Hurricane season runs through to the end of November, but the peak months are August, September and October. Usually, meteorologists can provide a good heads up on storms as they brew up in the Atlantic or in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico, but sometimes they emerge very rapidly so you need to keep your eyes on the Atlantic and Caribbean all summer if you are planning any trips.
A word of caution: trip cancellation has a lot of fine print, so don’t expect that every dollar you put down in deposits or prepayments may be prepaid. All plans have limits on what they will pay, so make sure you ask the vendor what those limits are. Some will also only pay out if a certain proportion of your trip is disrupted, say more than 30 percent. So ask.
Also, be careful about cancelling a trip you have already paid for at the first sign of brewing storm. Hurricanes are notoriously unpredictable. They can travel on a certain path for hundreds of miles and then at the last minute make a sharp left or right turn and miss your destination altogether. If that happens and you have cancelled your trip, you may not get any of your money back. Before you cancel, call your travel insurance specialist and ask about the cancellation conditions.
Also, it’s no use buying hurricane insurance after a storm is brewing and has taken aim at the coast you plan on visiting. That’s like taking out fire insurance after your garage has started to burn.
Keep your eyes peeled. The Atlantic, the Gulf and the Caribbean are expected to churn up a lively season. So be prepared.