When Hurricanes Come Early

This morning, some news from the Weather Channel caught our eye: Although June 1 is marked as the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season each year, it’s not unheard of for tropical storms to develop earlier than June 1.  In fact, in recent years, early formation of storms has happened several times.

What does that mean for travelers?  Better safe than sorry; better early than late.  In other words, don’t forget the cardinal rule of purchasing travel insurance for hurricane season: Buy it before the storm is named.  Once tropical storms are named, they’re officially considered an active threat, which makes them “known perils” in travel insurance parlance.  And if you’ve ever read a travel insurance policy from cover to cover, you probably figured out somewhere in that reading that “known perils” are not generally covered by even the best of travel insurance plans.

If this information surprises you, picture this: You’ve just purchased a vacation home and are calling to have the house insured.  While you’re on the phone with your insurance company, water from the nearby lake is rising and lapping at the back door.  Would you expect to be able to purchase flood insurance for your house?  That’s the scenario travelers are facing when a major weather event has been identified as a threat.  For this reason, we have always strongly encouraged travelers to make sure that they’re aware of hurricane season as a period of high potential for travel disruptions, and that they purchase their policies well in advance to avoid any issues that might prevent them from being eligible for coverage.

Knowing that June 1 is fast approaching, and that it’s no magic number — realistically, as the Weather Channel reminds us, a storm could strike at any time from here on out — the smartest and safest thing you can do to protect any upcoming trips you’ve planned is to look into purchasing a travel insurance policy as soon as possible.  That way, you’ll be protected fully within the parameters of your plan if a storm does strike, while those who haven’t planned ahead could find themselves out of luck.

For more information about travel insurance during hurricane season, you may be interested in reading these posts from our archives:

How has travel insurance coverage changed since Hurricane Katrina?
What happens if my travel plans are delayed or cancelled due to a hurricane?
What if my accommodations are destroyed by a hurricane?
What if my home or the area I live in is severely damaged by a hurricane, and I can’t travel?
Are there any “little known” scenarios I should learn about before I travel during hurricane season?

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