As U.S. Hurricane Season Approaches, Insurance Travel Tips Go Up
(News4us.com) May 26, 2013
June the 1st is the official commencement of the hurricane season for 2013, and forecasts sounding out right now say that we might be in for another wild one.
For example, an powerful forecast from meteorologists at Colorado State University proposes that the Atlantic area — which includes the Caribbean — will encounter 18 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
An ordinary season wreaks 12 storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
The prospect comprises unwanted news for travelers who recall the disturbances and harm created last October by Hurricane Sandy, which merged with two other different storm systems to finally slam into the East Coast as a frightening super-storm.
“Who would have ever imagined that so many masses would have been stranded for so long in New York?” says Linda Kundell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.
And although the bulk of hurricanes hit in August, September and October, the 2012 season jumped the gun in May with tropical storms Alberto and Beryl. The season normally ceases around Nov. 30.
When storms disrupt your travel plans, the right travel insurance policy can cover costs related to flight delays, unexpected hotel stays and transportation rerouting.
Here are seven expert tips on how to protect your vacation during the height of hurricane season.
‘Insure’ your trip goes well
Shop around. No two travel insurance policies are exactly the same, warns consumer advocate Christopher Elliott. “They vary based on your age, state of residence and coverage,” says Elliott, author of “Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles and Shady Deals.”
He recommends that travelers get prices from at least two of the three most common sources of travel insurance: travel insurance companies; travel agents; and travel providers, such as airlines, cruise lines or tour operators.
Expect to pay a premium equal to 4 percent to 8 percent of your trip’s prepaid, nonrefundable cost, he says, though a less restrictive “cancel for any reason” policy can cost as much as 10 percent.
“Travel insurance is extremely competitive,” Elliott says. “By checking with multiple sources, you won’t just find better terms or prices. You’ll also avoid buying a potentially useless policy.”
Buy early. Once a tropical storm has formed, you won’t be able to buy travel insurance for trips potentially in its path. “If it’s already been named and sighted, it will be too late,” Kundell says. Purchasing your insurance at the same time you book your trip ensures you’ll have protection for cancellations and interruptions, she says.
Examine the fine print. “It’s better to ask about your policy and what it does and doesn’t cover before it becomes an issue,” Elliott says. Call if you have any questions as soon as you receive your insurance documents. Many travel insurance companies give customers up to 10 days to cancel and receive a refund if the policy doesn’t meet their needs, he says.
Keep receipts. Most travel insurance policies require you to pay any covered expenses upfront and then submit for reimbursement. So keeping track of your expenses in a verifiable way is crucial, Kundell says. “Keep receipts for everything,” she says, including hotel rooms, transportation and meals.
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