Protect Against Hurricane Season: It’s Here.

Planning a late summer or early fall golf trip to the Carolinas, Florida, or Texas? Make your arrangements, but protect your deposits and prepayments with trip cancellation/interruption insurance in case of storms or hurricanes. We are nearing the peak of hurricane season, and you don’t want to be in one. Take my word for it.

I have weathered several hurricanes and have been through the eye of more than one, and I can tell you the thrill of the experience wears off very quickly. Terror sets in fast.

Once a tropical storm reaches hurricane status on the Saffir Simpson scale, you need to get out of the way.

But if your travel plans take you into the path or even close to an impending storm, you want to be able to change your plans quickly. That’s what many travellers get trip cancellation/interruption insurance for.

But you need to know what you’re buying. There are lots of exclusions and limitations, and you can’t just cancel a trip on a whim if you think a storm may get close to your vacation destination or may cause you some slight inconvenience. The storm has to render your destination uninhabitable, or cancel your flights, and in most cases it must disturb your plans for a given period of time—not just a day or a few hours.

For example, some policies will not cover your cancellation claim if a storm disrupts your vacation for less than three days and leaves the other days habitable.

There are also limits on how much your plan will pay out. You may pave paid $10,000 in deposits or prepayments, but if your plan is limited to a $2,000 payout, you won’t be fully covered. Make sure you insure the full value of your trip when purchasing cancellation coverage.

And you also need to know what qualifies as sufficient warning of a storm to trigger trip cancellation benefits. If a friend in South Carolina calls and tells you to cancel your trip because he feels a storm is going to hit the area and the big blow never materializes, you are out of luck. Under most cancellation plans for Canadians, only an official travel warning by the by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada posted on its website is considered sufficient warning. And in any case, before you cancel, check with the person or office that sold you the policy and get them to clarify your cancellation options.

Trip cancellation/interruption plans are good products to protect you from natural or manmade disturbances.  But they have limitations and requirements that you need to know before you make your vacation commitments. Some also require you to buy the insurance at virtually the same time you buy your trip, so check with your insurer before you put down any deposits.

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