Cancelled Ryanair flight passengers warned to check insurance policies | Travel

As Ryanair launches a massive seat sale offering one million flights from £4.99, travel insurance companies are warning all air passengers to check the small print of their insurance policies.

The huge sale follows Ryanair’s recent PR catastrophe, in which the low-cost airline was forced to cancel 2,100 flights, affecting the travel plans of 315,000 customers. Despite Ryanair refunding or rerouting affected passengers, many have had their travel plans disrupted and may struggle to claim back lost expenses as a result.

Under EU flight delay legislation, passengers who have their flight cancelled are entitled to receive a full refund or choose an alternative flight. This legislation also covers “out of pocket” expenses – direct costs incurred from the delay of a flight, such as the cost of staying at an airport hotel and any meals eaten while waiting for an alternative flight. Any passengers who receive less than 14 days notice of the cancellation can also claim compensation.

However “consequential losses”, costs such as other flights, hotels that have already been paid for and other expenses such as excursions or events, are not covered under this legislation. Despite pressure from consumer rights groups, airlines are not obliged to pay for them, and they are not necessarily covered by travel insurance.

Research by the advisory website Travel Insurance Explained found that although the majority of standard policies do not cover consequential losses, seven out of 10 British travellers assume their travel insurance covers the cost of rebooking a missed flight, as well as all connected travel and accommodation expenses.

“The majority of people buy travel insurance by price,” said Fiona Macrae of Travel Insurance Explained. “Standard policies won’t cover any expenses like pre-paid hotels, car hire, event tickets. Even if you have a cancellation clause with a limit of thousands of pounds, it might only cover cancellation under certain circumstances, such as illness.”

She added: “We’re saying travellers need to be looking for a policy that has a little bit of extra cover. When it comes to cancellations, the phrase to look out for is that they will cover you for any cause beyond your reasonable control.”

According to Macrae, this could cost as little as £9 extra for a family policy, or “about as much as you’d spend on magazines in the airport”.

Consumer rights group Which? has criticised Ryanair’s communication of compensation. It called on on the airline to promptly pay out-of-pocket expenses for those affected by rerouting as well as reasonable additional expenses. Which? has also flagged up the airline’s poor track record when dealing with compensation claims. In July, it analysed data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and found that where passengers took a compensation complaint against Ryanair to the regulator, Ryanair was in the wrong in 77% of cases. The airline then failed to pay out in 19% of cases despite being ruled against.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Ryanair’s approach to informing affected passengers about compensation falls woefully short. It is legally required to spell out compensation rules when a flight is cancelled and, in our view, has so far failed to do that, leaving passengers hunting around for information.”

He added: “This is another blow for the thousands of passengers who have already had to endure huge inconvenience as a result of this fiasco. The airline must now automatically compensate eligible passengers without them having to go through the additional hassle of making a claim.”

When it comes to claiming consequential losses, the Civil Aviation Authority said passengers may be able to claim – under the conditions provided for by the Montreal Convention – for damages arising from breach of a contract of carriage by air. It advises passengers to keep any receipts or other information in order to pursue such claims and to make their claim first to the airline. In addition, passengers should check their travel insurance policy or with their credit card company.

According to Ryanair, by Sunday alternative routings or refunds had been processed for over 97% of affected customers and the remaining 3% had yet to contact the airline. The airline could be forced to pay out over €20m in refunds and compensation as a result of the blunder.

Despite the scandal, it continues to aggresively market against other airlines, launching a one million seat sale this week, with flights to destinations across Europe, including Prague, Berlin, Mallorca and Barcelona for under £10 one-way.

The One Word That Could Negate Your Travel Insurance Coverage

With travel insurance coverage (and any other kind of insurance coverage) the devil is in the details—more specifically, the fine print. And one word can make a huge difference in your risk coverage: “unforeseen.”

If you’ve followed my travel insurance coverage at all, you might know these two important travel insurance basics: First, most policies exclude trip-cancellation (TCI) and medical coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Second, many policies will waive that exclusion if you decide to purchase both TCI and medical coverage within a short time of making your initial travel insurance payment—about a week to a month after.

The ‘Gotcha’ Word in Your Travel Insurance Coverage

But the word “unforeseen” in your travel insurance plan can nullify that additional coverage you’ve purchased, which takes effect only if you are medically able to travel at the time you buy the insurance. If a pre-existing condition would prevent you from traveling at the time you buy the insurance, you won’t be covered for any issues that stem from that condition. You can’t figure, “I’ll get over it,” or “I’ll cope,” and must be able to travel upon purchasing the insurance.

A typical policy allows you to travel with a pre-existing condition that’s under control thanks to medication—but it must be fully controlled when you buy the insurance. If you can’t live with that uncertainty, buy a “cancel for any reason” policy, but read the fine print before you do.

In many cases, people with chronic medical problems can’t insure their trips risk-free. If you’re in that position, you can minimize your risk by making all of your arrangements refundable or cancellable, with only minimal penalties.

The “unforeseen” limitation appears in most travel insurance coverage policies, and can also come back to bite you in circumstances other than pre-existing medical conditions.

Say, for example, you’re considering a trip to Florida, and at the time you make arrangements, a named tropical storm is already developing in the eastern Atlantic. If it becomes a hurricane and hits Florida, is it “unforeseen,” or not? Here, my friends in the travel insurance business tell me, the answer isn’t clear. Some policies would cover cancellation; others might not. The same is true for similar possible areas of unforeseen problems like political unrest, terrorism, and strikes.

The risk is fairly clear for medical pre-existing conditions. But for many more ambiguous contingencies, your best bet is to contact one of the big online travel insurance agencies and ask for a policy that will cover whatever specifics risks are of concern to you.

More from SmarterTravel:

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

Bali volcano: Are flights cancelled? Are tourists in danger? What about travel insurance?

Updated

September 25, 2017 17:14:08

Bali’s Mount Agung is on the verge of erupting.

And when volcanoes erupt in one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations, it normally means the travel plans for thousands of Aussies are thrown into chaos.

So if you’ve got a ticket to head to Bali in the next few weeks, what should you do? And will your travel insurance cover you if Mount Agung does erupt?

Major airlines haven’t cancelled flights … yet

Here’s what the major airlines are saying:

TL;DR? It’s best to check with your airline before you go just to be safe.

Should I cancel my trip?

Unless you planned to travel near the volcano, you’re fine.

Mount Agung is located in Bali’s northeast, and an exclusion zone within 9 kilometres of the crater or within 12 kilometres to the north, north-east, south-east and south-south-west, where lava flows could reach has been created.

Officials in Bali said there is no current danger to people in other parts of the island, including the areas popular with Australian tourists.

Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry said Bali’s international airport was monitoring the situation and satellite images show “no detection of volcanic ash”.

Ferries and fast boats between Bali and the neighbouring islands of Lombok and Java are also running as normal, the Ministry said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned Australian travellers to check in with their airline before travelling on, but said the overall level of travel advice to Bali has not changed.

“Exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali,” the Smart Traveller website reads.

In light of the potential eruption, it also recommends you:

  • Make contingency plans in case you are affected
  • Make sure you have access to additional money
  • Contact your airline or travel insurer for assistance

Will my travel insurance cover me if I get stuck?

Broadly, yes.

Natalie Ball, director at Comparetravelinsurance.com.au said this is the kind of thing you’d get travel insurance for, “assuming you purchased a comprehensive policy, before the event was known in the mass media”.

There are exceptions though.

Ms Ball said certain insurance companies will not cover for natural disasters surrounding volcanic activity at all.

“While we strongly recommend obtaining travel insurance no matter where you’re headed to, you should always read your policy to understand any relevant exclusions that could blow your cover,” she said.

Crucially, you need to have already purchased your travel insurance if you’re going to be covered for a potential Mount Agung eruption.

If you purchased your insurance before September 15, before the potential eruption became a “known event”, you’ll be fine.

Beyond that, it’s best to check with your individual insurer.

This is a bit much. Will insurance cover me if I decide to cancel?

You’re out of luck, according to Ms Ball.

“Change of mind due to upgraded travel warnings are not covered,” she said.

What should I do if I get stuck?

Here’s Ms Ball again:

“In the event of a claim that would be covered by your chosen insurer, take all reasonable steps to mitigate your out of pocket expenses, particularly when altering your trip arrangements and provide all supporting documentation of the event and expenses incurred,” she said.

“By ‘reasonable’ insurers tend to mean appropriate and consistent—for example if you have been using two star or budget accommodation on your trip to date, then we advise that the replacement accommodation you seek should be of a similar standard.”

What happened last time Mount Agung erupted?

The last eruption was in 1963 and killed more than 1,100 people.

Ash was hurled more than 20 kilometres in the air and even reached Jakarta, over 1,000 kilometres away.

At the time Agung remained active for about a year.

Experts say that was a massive eruption, far bigger than anything recently seen in Indonesia.

It’s why authorities have spent the last several days evacuating more than 35,000 people (it could grow to 70,000) from areas that might be affected.

ABC/AP

Topics:

volcanic-eruption,

disasters-and-accidents,

travel-health-and-safety,

travel-and-tourism,

lifestyle-and-leisure,

bali,

indonesia

First posted

September 25, 2017 14:49:10

Fresh misery for Ryanair holidaymakers hit by flight cancellations as travel insurance firms refuse to cover costs

RYANAIR holidaymakers hit by mass flight cancellations are facing fresh misery as travel insurance firms refuse to cover their costs.

The airline cancelled more than 2,000 flights over the next six weeks leaving customers’ holiday plans in tatters and many out of pocket.

 There have been chaotic scenes at airports as many travellers only discovered their flights were cancelled at the last minute

East News Press Agency

There have been chaotic scenes at airports as many travellers only discovered their flights were cancelled at the last minute
 Ryanair has left thousands of holidaymakers devastated after a mass cancellation of flights

Getty Images – Getty

Ryanair has left thousands of holidaymakers devastated after a mass cancellation of flights

The airline has offered refunds or alternative flights to the 315,000 passengers hit but many insurers will not pay out for costs including hotels and car hire, a BBC investigation found.

A survey revealed insurers will not cough up for “consequential losses” caused by the cancellations.

Fiona Macrae, of the Travel Insurance Explained campaign, said: “The cheaper a policy, the more limitations there are likely to be on that policy and people don’t always look at the cover provided when buying travel insurance.

“We would urge anyone buying a travel insurance policy to look for one that provides cancellation cover for ‘any cause beyond your control and you are unable to claim back from any other source’.”

The budget airline’s boss Michael O’Leary admitted this week that he cannot guarantee there will not be more cancellations.

Ryanair has blamed the cancellation of 2,100 flights on a problem with pilots’ holiday rotas – with many employees due leave that has to be taken before the end of the year.

 Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has acknowledged the situation 'clearly is a mess'

PA:Press Association

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has acknowledged the situation ‘clearly is a mess’

 

As Ryanair tries to limit the damage a memo from the airline seen by The Mirror reportedly offers pilots £12,000 and first officers £6,000 if they cancel time off in a desperate bid to minimise the chaos.

Sun Online revealed that enraged pilots plan to use the crisis as an opportunity to renegotiate terms with the troubled airline after years of “living in fear and under the threat of the sack”.

Furious holidaymakers have hit out at the budget airline after thousands of cancellations left them stranded and facing hefty bills.

Customers said they were faced with a jammed £25 premium helpline or crashing website as they tried to save their holidays.

There have been reports that staff are threatening to strike but O’Leary has denied that pilots had threatened industrial action and also dismissed the idea that a large number of pilots had rejected bonuses in favour of better working conditions.

He also said the airline was handing pilots at some of its largest bases a €10,000 (£8,800) annual pay rise on top of the €12,000 bonus offered this week to those who help the airline alleviate a pilot shortage.


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‘Absolutely terrifying:’ Family faced big medical bill despite travel insurance

CALGARY — The family of a father who fell ill following a hiking trip to Spain to memorialize his soldier son says they were faced with a massive medical bill — despite having travel insurance.

Michael Hornburg made the trip last fall to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of his son, Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, a Calgary reservist who was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 24, 2007, at the age of 24.

“He really felt that Nathan was there with him on the journey,” said Hornburg’s daughter, Rachel Herbert, who operates a ranch with her husband, Tyler, south of Calgary. “Four days before he was supposed to go home, he collapsed with a seizure and was admitted to the hospital.”

Hornburg was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and was unable to walk or talk.

Herbert flew to Spain to be at her father’s bedside and immediately contacted his insurer, Allianz Global Assistance Canada. She provided all the documentation from the Spanish hospital.

The neurosurgeon said her father couldn’t fly without medical accompaniment. The cost of the air ambulance back to Canada was $60,000 to $80,000.

“So there we were — stuck,” said Herbert. “After six days in this hospital wondering why we couldn’t get out of there, the insurance company got back to us to say they had denied his claim.”

Herbert was told the claim was turned down because her father failed to reveal he’d received a prescription for indigestion 18 months earlier. She was initially on the hook for the air ambulance, the hospital stay in Spain, flights for her and her husband, plus accommodation.

“They were holding us there while they scoured his medical records for the most minute thing they could find. That is what is absolutely terrifying.”

Herbert hired a lawyer and spent the better part of a year battling the insurance company to try to get the bill covered. Allianz eventually paid $27,000, but the family was left on the hook for at least another $30,000.

“I am really just ready to forget about it all. I said I don’t have the energy to deal with this any more. Let’s just take whatever little bit of money they’re going to give us,” said Herbert.

“That’s what the insurance companies want — to just burn people out until they don’t deal with it anymore.”

Members of the military in Calgary rallied and donated $25,000 to offset the costs. Herbert said the family would prefer to donate that money back to the Military Family Resource Centre.

Her father was lucky he had family at home to come to his rescue, she said.

“What would the insurance do for somebody who wasn’t as well equipped … and didn’t have the finances?” Herbert asked. “It could put somebody on the street so easily and that’s what’s so shocking for us.”

Allianz declined an interview but did issue a statement.

“We can confirm that the expenses submitted for this travel emergency, which were eligible under the policy, were both approved and fully reimbursed up to the maximum amount of coverage available for each applicable benefit,” wrote Dan Keon, senior director of market management for Allianz Global Assistance.

The president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada said there’s little doubt insurance companies look for excuses not to pay out.

“People can be forgiven for assuming that they are looking for any excuse and every excuse if you will,” Bruce Cran said from Vancouver. “That’s a tendency that’s there and … that in itself should be dealt with.”

A professor at the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University said Allianz provides one of the least expensive travel insurances. That means plenty of exclusions on coverage.

“People purchase the tickets to give themselves peace of mind … but it’s not necessarily the best insurance,” said Frank Cotae. 

“The cautionary tale for anyone that may be out there is to read the policy.”

Herbert has learned a lesson.

“I would not take out a travel insurance policy without having my lawyer and my doctor both go over it.”

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


How having a holiday beer invalidate your travel insurance

We all love a good holiday tipple – and rightly so: we’ve earned it, after all.

Whether it’s an ice cold bottle of beer or a deliciously sweet cocktail, you just can’t stop indulging on a holiday.

The summer may be over – but plenty are opting for winter breaks in Coventry.

But should you be careful of drinking too much while abroad?

Alcohol is something of a grey area when it comes to making claims.


This is Money spoke to several insurance companies about the issue and was told if holidaymakers are making a claim on their travel insurance, they may be rejected if there is evidence they were drinking excessively, reports our sister title the Liverpool Echo.

However, the site found that most insurers did not state an exact limit on the amount of alcohol allowed.

This can be seen, for instance, in the specific exclusions section of Direct Line’s travel insurance policy, which includes “any claim made as a result of you drinking so much that your judgement is seriously affected”.

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And, in the general exclusions and conditions of Aviva’s single trip and annual multi-trip policy document, it states the policy does not cover: “any claim for your death, injury or disability resulting from your misuse of alcohol or drugs or your consumption of alcohol or drugs (other than drugs taken under medical supervision and not for treating alcohol or drug addiction) to an extent which causes immediate or long-term physical or mental harm, or where your judgement is affected causing you to take actions you would not usually take; or any exacerbation of an accepted medical condition caused by your misuse of alcohol or drugs.”

And LV told This is Money: “We don’t have a rule on the amount of alcohol someone can consume. We fully appreciate many people on holiday like to have a few drinks.

“However, we won’t pay claims if someone has drunk so much alcohol that their judgement is seriously impaired, eg. someone thinks they have become Superman and can fly from a balcony.”

However, in 2014, the Financial Ombudsman Service produced an article which stated they were often asked to step in when an insurer was insisting someone had been drinking alcohol before having an accident – and was refusing to pay out as a result.

It said: “In some cases, we find that terms describing alcohol consumption aren’t clearly defined in the policy – or have been unfairly applied by the insurer to reject a claim.

“For example, we see cases where insurers accuse their customers of ‘alcohol abuse’ or ‘alcoholism’, even though medical evidence shows they only had one or two drinks.

“Similarly, we see cases where insurers have jumped to conclusions about what had happened – for example, because of someone’s age or the particular resort they were in. But it’s our job to look at the evidence.

“We’ll consider any medical reports and accounts of what happened when making our decision.

“As with all insurance cases, it is up to an insurer to show that an exclusion applies, not for their customer to show that it doesn’t.

“We expect a high standard of proof from insurers – proof that’s consistent with other evidence.

“We generally put more weight on evidence from blood tests – and less on one-off remarks by a doctor at the time of any accident.

“If we decide a claim should have been paid, we’ll tell the insurer to meet it, adding interest.”

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Is Travel Insurance Really Necessary?

Fox Searchlight/Courtesy Everett Collection

A handy guide for the accident-prone.

To be succinct with the following understatement, insurance as a whole is complex and confusing to most. Some types, like health insurance, shouldn’t be difficult (okay haha actually, that one should be a human right). But others, like travel insurance, aren’t necessary for every single person on this earth to have for every single trip they take. Maybe you’re hiking to Everest base camp and you think maybe you should cover your future ass. Maybe you’re worried that a flight might get cancelled and you’re wondering whether you should check off the 11-dollar travel insurance box on your airline’s website. But it’s tricky to know when travel insurance is truly useful, and when it’s just another unnecessary way to spent your money.

To answer that question, we talked to three travel insurance experts who gave us a primer on when you’d be wasting money to purchase a plan and when you’d be dumb to not buy one. Adrenaline chasers and those who tend to lose their baggage, read carefully.

Does everyone need it?
Short answer: No. A few potential risks that travel insurance covers include trip cancellations, lost luggage, medical emergencies, and evacuations. Therefore, assess how likely it is that you’ll run into any of these issues. Furthermore, some credit cards, like Chase Sapphire Preferred, offer some travel coverage—you may have it and just not know it.

How does the cost structure work?
Just like every other type of insurance, not all travel insurance policies are the same. According to ValuePenguin, the average cost of travel insurance in the U.S. was $148, but a few factors can move this number way up or down. “No matter the type of policy someone buys, the price increases dramatically the older they are,” says Paul Reynolds, Head of Consumer Research at ValuePenguin. “Premiums remained relatively flat for travelers age one through 30, but then the cost begins to climb. The most drastic increases in travel insurance costs occur between ages 60 and 80.”

Does my credit score matter?
Unlike with many other types of insurance, where your credit score can be a factor in determining your premium, travel insurance isn’t influenced by this number. “In fact, when requesting a travel insurance quote your credit score or social security number are not required,” says InsureMyTrip Product Director Lynne Peters. Reynolds explains why: “The nature of the travel insurance industry pretty much precludes using credit scores, since it’s based on providing practically instant quotes based primarily on your trip particulars and the levels of coverage you require.”

Are you going bouldering or skydiving or paragliding or BASE jumping?
Your itinerary matters. “If you’re planning high-risk activities, like skydiving and scuba diving, you’re more liable to require medical care, and you might want to get travel insurance with a rider that clearly covers those,” Reynolds says. Also, if you’re going to a remote area that’s far from major hospitals, you may want to look into travel insurance that would evacuate you in case you fall off a boulder or get bitten by a shark.

What insurance do you already have?
“In short, travel insurance exists because there are gaps in your coverage elsewhere when it comes to travel,” says Damian Tysdal of Travel Insurance Review. First, check your health insurance plan, which may or may not cover you abroad. Also, if you have personal property insurance and have made the decision to mark valuable items (so, stuff that would be in your luggage) as “scheduled items,” that insurance would cover those things were you to lose them. However, if you’re concerned about your luggage being lost, stolen, or damaged, and you don’t have that insurance, look into travel insurance.

What if I’m only concerned with my material possessions and not the wellbeing of my physical body?
Federal regulations require that airlines are liable for up to $3,300 if your luggage is damaged when you fly domestically (some like American Airlines and Delta will pay up to $3,500). However, if you’re traveling internationally or with items worth more than that amount, look for travel insurance that covers baggage, or just buy baggage insurance.

Okay, where do I buy it?
While you can buy travel insurance directly from providers, such as Nationwide and AIG Travel, it’s smart to use a website to compare plans’ benefits. “It works the same way as Expedia—you enter your trip information, then it pulls quotes from all major companies,” Tysdal says. “Then, it makes it easy to compare the plans side-by-side to see which ones has the best coverage for the best price.”

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Travelers Insurance 101 for Honeymoons

If you’ve ever booked travel online, you’ve probably seen the pop-ups or options that ask if you’d like to purchase travel insurance. Some might opt to disregard, as travel is often expensive enough. For others, it’s a no-brainer, as one could never be too careful.

With so many options out there, it’s easy to get confused. We’re here to help—here’s all you need to know about travel insurance.

What is it, exactly?

Essentially, travel insurance protects both you, and your hard-earned money while you’re away from home. Depending on the coverage you purchase, it can protect your fares in the event of a cancellation, weather event, natural disaster or other unforeseeable circumstance. Often, plans can also protect you in the event of injury, death, dismemberment, or theft, will cover medical expenses from any injuries or illness acquired while on the insured trip, and may even cover rental car incidents and lost or damaged baggage.

Depending on the nature of your trip and the destination, many travel insurance plans are customizable to your needs. You can also purchase the insurance through your booking company, or independently. You can conveniently compare some of the leading travel insurance offerings here.

The Pros

Obviously, the most significant benefit from purchasing travel insurance is that in the event you suffer a covered loss, you can enjoy financial protection. Travel snafus and worse, emergencies, are stressful enough without having to worry about the monetary issues that arise.

Additionally, for many nervous travelers, those traveling far from home or for extended periods of time, often the peace of mind that travel insurance provides is benefit enough.

The Cons

As with any insurance policy, often the mentality is “better safe than sorry.” Yet, you hope that you’ll never have to actually use or benefit from your investment. Because of this, one of the only drawbacks of travel insurance would be purchasing insurance and then not needing the policy.

Another possibility that could be considered a drawback is that more often than not, reasons for cancellations to be covered can be limiting. For example, if you have a change of heart and no longer wish to cancel, many companies may feel that’s not a justifiable or covered reason. Additionally, if the insurance was improperly purchased, or the specifics of coverage left out an important area or, say, not the full amount spent for the trip, there may be uncovered expenses.

See More: 8 Places to Sleep Under the Stars on Your Honeymoon

Things to Consider

Before purchasing any travel insurance policy, it’s important to review your existing credit card features, as often times they offer varying levels of protection. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card, for example, has built-in auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance and lost luggage reimbursement. By reviewing the existing coverage, you can ensure you are not spending or insuring unnecessarily.

How to get a refund for trips disrupted by hurricane season


hurricane maria puerto rico
A
man walks close to damaged houses after the area was hit by
Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico.

REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Puerto Rico is
still reeling
from the devastation brought by Hurricane
Maria
.

The storm slammed into Puerto Rico at 6:15 a.m.
on Wednesday as the third-strongest
hurricane
 to ever hit the US, and it caused
widespread destruction. 

Governor Ricardo Rosselló
told CNN
that the island could be without power for four to
six months due to damage from the storm.

So what can you do if you had booked a trip to Puerto Rico in the
near future? If you don’t have trip insurance, there isn’t much
you can do.

If you do have insurance, the trip could qualify under
the “unforeseen circumstances” part of the policy, according
to Stan Sandberg, cofounder of
TravelInsurance.com.

“One of the main reasons why people cancel a trip and file
a claim with travel insurance is for just what we
witnessed,” Sandberg said. “The events that came out
of [this year’s] hurricanes would constitute
covered reasons, and one holding a policy would be able to cancel
and get their money back.”

Insurance policies typically will not provide coverage
against a storm that has been named by the time of purchase,
however, so some forethought is required. You would have to
purchase general coverage before the storm was named. Sandberg
recommends staying informed of weather patterns during risky
periods like the Atlantic hurricane season.

2017 was predicted to be a particularly bad hurricane
season, so travel insurance would have been a good bet. There is
no general rule that a hotel, airline, or tour agency must refund
you in the case of a hurricane. However, those in doubt should
contact the company first to see if a refund or a waiver is
avaiable.

“Many travel suppliers, including airlines and hotels, are
waiving change fees to allow rescheduling without
penalty,” Daniel Durazo, director of communications at
Allianz Global Assistance USA, said.

What to Know About Travel Insurance if Hurricane Maria Halts Your Caribbean Travel Plans

You May Be Refunded if Maria Ruins Your Trip
Travelers can be refunded their entire trip cost if their flight or cruise to the Caribbean is cancelled by the storm, as well as if their accommodations at their destination are rendered uninhabitable. Some travel insurance policies can also refund travelers to cancel if their destination is under a hurricane warning.

It’s Too Late to Buy Travel Insurance Once a Storm is on the Radar
Travel insurance only covers unforeseen events. Once Maria was named on September 16, it became foreseen, meaning new policies purchased after that date will not refund trips cancelled by the storm.

You Are Not Covered to Cancel Just Because Your Fun Plans Were Ruined
Many travelers think travel insurance will pay them back if their trip doesn’t go as planned. However, travel insurance doesn’t cover loss of enjoyment. As long as you can make it to your destination on time and your hotel is safe, you likely will not be refunded to cancel your trip.

Squaremouth created the Hurricane Maria and Travel Insurance Information Center with up-to-date information for travelers whose trips are affected by the storm, including answers to FAQs and statements from travel insurance providers. The information center will be updated as events unfold.

ABOUT SQUAREMOUTH
Squaremouth compares travel insurance policies from every major travel insurance provider in the United States. Using Squaremouth’s comparison engine and third-party customer reviews, travelers can research and compare insurance products side-by-side. More information can be found at www.squaremouth.com

Available Topic Expert
Steven Benna
sbenna@squaremouth.com 
(727) 619-7262

View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/what-to-know-about-travel-insurance-if-hurricane-maria-halts-your-caribbean-travel-plans-300523911.html

SOURCE Squaremouth

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