When a Hurricane Destroys Your Accommodations

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Ed. Update: This is Part Three in our series of re-posting information from previous years that may prove useful to travelers throughout the 2011 hurricane season.

Picture it: you’ve booked a dream vacation in some exotic locale, complete with a rental cottage in a remote, secluded spot. There’s some hurricane activity in the area, but the airports are open, so you and your companions pack your rainy-day survival kit and optimistically board your plane. You touch down, pick up your rental car, drive two hours to your getaway…and find that the hurricane has gotten there before you, leaving shattered windows, flooding, and a damaged roof. At this point, many travelers call us, asking, “Is there anything I can do?”

“Oh, no…do you have travel insurance?”

That’s the first thing we always ask, and besides being a bit awkward at parties, it’s the best place to start. Happily, if you have purchased travel insurance, there is definitely something you can do about your situation.

Travel insurance policies, simply put, are designed to help you in the event that the plans you’ve made just can’t happen, through no fault of your own. That often includes uninhabitable accommodations. Nobody wants to get to their destination and end up wishing they’d stayed home, so although individual policy details may vary, you’ll be relieved to know that most of them would consider a hotel, rental property, or guest house damaged by a hurricane to be unfit for you and your traveling companions. (By the way: if you’re lucky enough to find out before actually departing for your trip that your destination has been leveled by some force of nature, you may also be covered. But that’s another blog post.)

Assuming the policy you’ve purchased does indeed cover uninhabitable quarters, you should be able to recover the costs you’ve already incurred to reserve your accommodations. If there isn’t a possibility of getting a better place to stay, and you have to cut your trip short and return home, check your policy for information on Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefits. This type of coverage, which exists in most comprehensive package policies, will help you get reimbursed for any non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs for which you didn’t receive the intended goods and services. To get more information on the specific coverage offered in various policies, call us at 800-487-4722.

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