Don’t Let Hurricanes Ruin Your Trip: Learn What Travel Insurance Covers

Coastal destinations are some of the most popular vacation spots for many reasons. Warm beaches. Surfing. The smell of fresh, salty air. However, there’s one looming risk of planning a vacation next to the ocean: hurricanes. Are you traveling to a hurricane-prone area, especially during hurricane season? Then here’s what you need to know about hurricane travel insurance and how you best prepare for a safe trip–no matter what might happen.

Jump Ahead

concrete dock in the ocean with waves crashing into it

blue outline of arrow pointing right When Is Hurricane Season?

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are different names for the same weather phenomenon. It’s a tropical storm with violent winds and thunderstorms. A hurricane begins over the ocean and can cause astronomical damage when reaching shore, such as flooding. The name for this topical storm will differ depending on where you are in the world. So here’s a quick breakdown for you:

  • Hurricanes: Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific Ocean
  • Typhoons: Northwest Pacific Ocean
  • Cyclones: South Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean

Additionally, “hurricane season” differs depending on your location in the world. Here’s when you’re most likely to experience a hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone. 

  • Hurricanes: June to November
  • Typhoons: April to December
  • Cyclones: November to April

Thankfully, we have such advanced technology to track tropical storms, so you are unlikely to get caught in a hurricane without notice. Even so, you can travel to a hurricane-prone region with peace of mind by taking these extra measures before leaving.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Is A Hurricane Covered Under Travel Insurance?

Yes. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies will cover natural disasters like hurricanes. However, you cannot get a policy for a destination with a “named” hurricane. This is because a named storm is no longer an “unforeseen circumstance.” That’s why it’s important to purchase hurricane travel insurance as soon as possible after booking your trip, especially if you’re traveling to a hurricane-prone region when hurricanes are most likely to happen.

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blue outline of arrow pointing right Does Travel Insurance Cover Hurricane Evacuation?

Some policies will include coverage for a non-medical evacuation due to natural disasters. Basically, if the destination country declares a hurricane as an official disaster or the U.S. advises tourists to leave that destination, coverage could apply for a “hurricane evacuation.” 

A covered hurricane evacuation would typically transport you to the nearest place of safety or your home, as determined in advance by the sole discretion of the travel insurance company. Any reasonable and customary expenses for your necessary transportation would be considered as Covered Transportation Expenses. 

If an evacuation is necessary due to a hurricane or another natural disaster, we usually advise travelers to contact the 24/7 emergency provider included in their policy to coordinate the evacuation details. The emergency provider will have a better ability to coordinate the evacuation–and in an affordable manner. Usually, the traveler doesn’t pay out of pocket for this when working with the emergency provider. Instead, it would be covered by the travel insurance company as a covered event.

Man standing on fishing pier next to stormy skies and strong winds in the ocean.

blue outline of arrow pointing right How To Prepare For Travel During Hurricane Season

If you do decide to travel to a coastal destination when a hurricane is most likely to happen, here are some important steps you can take to keep yourself safe, manage the risk, and still have a good time.

blue circle with white number 1 in middle Enroll in STEP

When you enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), you can opt to receive safety updates on countries you plan to visit, weather-related or not. There are many other helpful resources on this website that can help give you more peace of mind about your future travels. You can also check the National Hurricane Center website for updates leading up to your trip – they usually name a hurricane 36-48 hours in advance.

blue circle with white number 2 in the middle Buy Travel Insurance As Soon As Possible

Most comprehensive travel insurance policies include cancellation coverage in the event of a natural disaster, like a hurricane. However, you’ll want to purchase your plan as soon as possible. Because once a hurricane is named, it becomes “foreseeable,” and you will no longer be able to purchase a policy with coverage to cancel. 

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common travel mistakes made by policyholders. But you can guarantee coverage for non-refundable expenses when you purchase your policy right after you make your first trip deposit.

Pro Tip: Are you planning a trip to a hurricane-prone area during hurricane season? Don’t wait – you can get an instant quote right now below. To compare hurricane travel insurance policies with the right coverage for trip cancellation, select the filter for “There’s a hurricane or bad weather where I’m going.” (See below)

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there's a hurricane or bad weather where im traveling

blue circle with the white number 3 in the middle Stay Flexible With Your Travel Activities

Weather can be unpredictable. Even if the forecast says it will be sunny for your entire trip, you may end up getting caught in the rainy outskirts of a tropical storm. So, make a list of the indoor activities your destination has to offer. From museums to adventure centers to historical sites, you’ll at least have a list of options if you experience an unexpected rainy day.

blue circle with the white number 4 in the middle Determine The Stability Of Your Destination

Strong hurricane winds and high tidal waves can do major damage to infrastructure, so take some time to consider where you are staying. If your condo is along the beach, moving as inland as possible would be a great option. If flooding is a common hazard at your destination, we recommend staying in a low-risk flood zone. Wooden buildings are highly unstable in a hurricane, so you should relocate to a more secure location. For peace of mind knowing it can withstand the storm, moving to a shelter is your best bet for staying safe.

blue circle with the white number 5 in the middle Plan An Emergency Departure

If the worst-case scenario happens, how hard would it be for you to leave the country? It’s important to check out possible transportation options, especially if you’re traveling outside the United States. Having an alternative exit plan in case an unforeseen storm gets named is better than having no plan!

  • If your vacation is stateside, look at renting a car to drive to a safe zone. 
  • When traveling in a land-locked country, consider buses that route to a safe zone or a safer neighboring country. 
  • If your vacation is happening on an island, this can be a bit more tricky, so your options are limited to boat and plane. Just make sure you check the schedules because the routes fill up fast when there’s a storm about to hit. 

blue circle with the white number 6 in the middle Pack Like A Hurricane Might Happen

Even if your trip is right around the corner and the weather looks like it’s going to hold, make sure you’re still prepared with what you pack. Pack a small first aid kit, battery-powered flashlight, and non-perishable foods just in case a natural disaster heads your way. Having enough cash for you and your family for two weeks is recommended since ATMs might not be accessible during and after the storm. Again, the likelihood you’ll need to use this storm kit is slim, but it’s worth it to have it on hand, just in case.

a big wave in the ocean

Are you feeling more prepared to book your vacation during hurricane season? If you’re traveling somewhere prone to cyclones, typhoons, or hurricanes, buying travel protection is wise. It can help you recover non-refundable costs and provide coverage for trip cancellation if you need it.

On the other hand, perhaps you decided traveling in a hurricane-prone region during hurricane season just isn’t worth the risk. That’s completely understandable. If that’s the case, then here are four destinations a hurricane will never hit.

Skylar, a seasoned content writer with over seven years of experience, possesses a deep understanding of the travel and travel insurance industries. Her commitment to authenticity infuses her work with a unique perspective, drawing from three years of dedicated writing in the travel and travel insurance sectors. Skylar's expertise is further enriched by her proactive approach to seeking insights from industry professionals, ensuring that her findings are comprehensive and reliable.

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