STEVENS POINT, Wis., June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Though hurricane season officially began June 1, activity in the tropics heated up ahead of schedule this year with Tropical Storm Alberta forming off South Carolina in late May, followed by Tropical Storm Beryl, which was the strongest pre-season storm to make landfall in history when it came ashore in Jacksonville, Fla.** With this early tropical activity in mind, Travel Guard (www.travelguard.com) is urging travelers to prepare for upcoming vacations by considering travel insurance options.
No matter if travelers are taking advantage of off-season deals in Florida and the Caribbean or heading to destinations outside of the hurricane belt, their plans can be drastically affected by delays and cancellations that can affect airports far from the coasts should a storm arise. Travel Guard offers the following tips to help travelers understand the ins and outs of using Travel Guard's travel insurance plans in the event of a hurricane.
Safeguard your trip investment: In the event of a covered hurricane or other unforeseen severe weather, travel insurance may provide benefits under trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage. If a trip is cancelled for a covered reason, travel insurance may refund the prepaid, forfeited, non-refundable trip costs up to the limit of coverage.
Purchase in advance: Insurance must be purchased at least 24 hours prior to a hurricane being named in order for trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage to cover losses due to the hurricane. Once a hurricane watch or warning is in effect, it's too late. To avoid a last-minute scramble, travelers should purchase insurance at the same time they book their travel plans.
Monitor status of airports, accommodations and driving routes: If a storm directly affects travel arrangements or accommodations, insureds may benefit from trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage. A few examples: an airport is closed due to the high winds; mandatory evacuations are enforced at a policyholder's hotel/resort; roads are impassable due to high water and alternate modes of transportation are not possible. If a resort, hotel or vacation home is damaged and cannot be used, or if comparable accommodations cannot be provided, non-refundable costs could be covered.
Be aware of the difference between what has happened and what "might" happen: Inclement weather must directly affect travel arrangements for travel insurance to cover the loss. Base travel insurance plans never cover losses incurred by a cancellation based upon what "might" happen because of a storm. For example, if a policyholder chooses not to take a flight because of concern about a hurricane, and that flight still operates on schedule, the cost of the flight will not be a covered loss.
Prepare for delays: If the airport from which flights are scheduled to depart is closed due to a hurricane or other weather event, travel insurance may cover the expenses incurred because of the delay. Additionally, reasonable accommodations and travel expenses may be covered until travel becomes possible. It's important to understand that Travel Guard's travel insurance plans do not cover cancellations solely made by the traveler's choice not to go because of possible delays, unless a plan including "Cancel For Any Reason" coverage has been purchased.
"With the many unanticipated situations that can arise during hurricane season, our best advice to travelers is to be prepared," said Carol Mueller, Vice President, Travel Guard North America. "Travel Guard travel insurance plans average 5-7 percent of the total trip cost, meaning an affordable cost can provide travelers with confidence throughout hurricane season."
Hurricane season runs through November 30, 2012. To keep track of the latest hurricane-related news, visit the National Weather Services' National Hurricane Center.
For more information about Travel Guard's selection of travel insurance solutions and assistance service plans, travelers can talk to their travel agent, visit www.travelguard.com or call Travel Guard's World Service Center at 1.800.826.1300. Travelers can also "Like" Travel Guard at www.Facebook.com/TravelGuard or follow the company on Twitter @TravelGuard to stay abreast of travel trends, news and views.
About Travel Guard
Travel Guard Worldwide, Inc., a Chartis company and worldwide leader in travel insurance and assistance, provides products and services to millions of travelers around the globe, including a wide range of emergency services through its wholly-owned assistance centers located in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Travel Guard helps leisure and business travelers alike solve problems and manage risks. Travel Guard's global reach, unparalleled service quality and proven operational capabilities allows clients to receive best-in-class care. Travel Guard's suite of technology platforms enables seamless integration with all major travel distribution systems and supplier channels. The travel insurance products marketed by Travel Guard are underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries and affiliates of Chartis Inc. For additional information, please visit our websites at www.travelguard.com and www.travelguardworldwide.com.
The coverage listed here is for U.S. residents only. To learn more about coverage in Canada, please call 1-866-648-8422.
This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445. Coverage may not be available in all states. Travel assistance services are provided by Travel Guard.
**Source: National Hurricane Center - http://www.nhc.noaa.gov
SOURCE Travel Guard North America