Protect Against Bad Weather With Travel Insurance


Let’s talk about bad weather and travel insurance. One of the most important elements of travel planning is weather. For many travelers, weather actually dictates the entire plan, from destination to time of year to the type of activities that they can partake in. So when you’re comparing and selecting travel insurance policies for an upcoming trip, you’ll definitely want to take the forecast into consideration. 

What is considered “bad weather” when it comes to travel insurance?

Each provider has its own definition, usually stated in the policy certificate itself. Terms like “adverse weather” or “inclement weather” are often used. However, most standard policy benefits come into effect if unexpected or unforeseen bad weather like a hurricane, a winter storm, or a natural disaster causes some sort of delay or cancellation of your travel supplier.

Can I cancel my trip due to bad weather?

No matter how well you plan out your trip, bad weather can crop up at the last minute and could change just about everything. In some cases, less-than-ideal weather isn’t that big of a deal. Say, for example, you were planning to spend most of the trip indoors checking out museums and restaurants anyway. In other cases, though, inclement or severe weather can really throw a wrench in your plans. 

If your plans are mostly of the outdoor variety or you’re headed to a remote destination, you may consider canceling or rescheduling your trip if a stormy forecast arises and you’ll want to make sure your travel insurance policy will cover you in that case. It’s important to note that a rainy forecast during your tropical vacation likely isn’t a covered event under normal trip cancellation. You can opt for Cancel for Any Reason, a benefit which offers flexible cancellation reasons or find a policy that includes specific covered reasons for trip cancellation. Either way, just make sure you’re insured whether the trip is cancelled by a third party (like a tour company) or you decide to nix it yourself.

How can I get more flexible cancellation coverage if weather ruins my travel plans?

Keep in mind that a standard policy usually won’t provide benefits if bad weather ruins your day trip plans. If you’re worried about this happening and would rather cancel your trip because the forecast looks bleak, purchasing Cancel for Any Reason coverage would be wise. This is a specific and time-sensitive coverage that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason at all and receive a portion back (typically 50-75%) of your unused trip expenses. 

To be eligible for this special coverage, you must: 1) purchase the policy within 14-21 days of your first payment or deposit towards the trip, 2) insure all nonrefundable expenses under the policy, and 3) cancel your trip at least days prior to your scheduled departure date.

Can I cut my trip short due to inclement weather?

It’s also possible that you’ll get to your travel location just fine…and then bad weather hits. In situations like this, trip interruption coverage is a game changer if your reason for ending your trip early is covered under your policy. Not only will it provide coverage for the cost of rebooking transit and flights, but it could also help you recoup the nonrefundable payments you’ve already made. 

If you have to go home early because of adverse weather, you shouldn’t have to pay for the places you didn’t get to stay or the things you didn’t get to do. With trip interruption coverage, you’ll get your money back so you can reschedule for another shot at sunny skies (or whatever kind of weather your trip requires!). The most commonly covered reason for trip interruption is if inclement weather prohibits operation of travel services for a specified amount of time. Looking for more flexible interruption coverage? Some policies include Interruption for Any Reason, which would allow you to cut your trip short for any reason at all, as long as you meet the time-sensitive requirements to purchase. These are similar to Cancel for Any Reason purchase requirements. Be sure to always check your policy terms though, otherwise you might be buying invalid coverage.

What out of pocket expenses are there if my trip is delayed due to inclement weather?

When bad weather strikes, it often means that you won’t be the only person rearranging your travel plans. This can complicate things a bit for yourself and your luggage.

Should your flight be delayed or cancelled due to bad weather, your policy will likely cover out of pocket expenses like lodging, meals and local transportation during the delay. Each policy has a time limit as to how long the delay must be before this benefit kicks in so ensure you’re reading your policy documentation.

If you’re rerouted on a new flight path or on a different timeline than your bags, baggage loss and delay coverage will definitely come in handy. With this on your plan, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement for any costs you incur as a result of your delayed (or lost) luggage, so you don’t end up spending a bunch of extra money on personal items you need to get by while you wait for your bags to show up. Delays are painful enough on their own without the extra cost.

Pro-Tip: No matter what you do, make sure you and your fellow travelers purchase insurance policies as soon as possible in order to ensure that you’ll be covered for weather reasons. Once the State Department has named a storm, such as a hurricane or other natural disaster, it becomes a foreseeable event and will no longer be covered. Most of the time, you’ll have anywhere from 14-21 days (depending on the insurance company) after booking your trip to buy your policy, so make sure you don’t miss your window!

If you’re not sure exactly how much coverage you’ll need for your trip or need help finding coverage in case weather alters your plans, you can always talk to an expert. That way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the right policy at the right price.