"It's important to understand that benefits are not provided if a snowstorm or blizzard is identified and named on or before the start date of your coverage," said Jim Krampen, co-founder of travel insurance provider Seven Corners. "You need to buy the coverage before a storm develops."
I'm Automatically Covered if My Flight is Delayed
Travel delays are the most common weather-related claim during the winter months, but it is important to understand your policy's minimum delay requirements. Travel Delay or Missed Connection benefits are typically triggered after 3-12 hours, depending on the policy.
These benefits can cover extra expenses during a delay, additional transportation to catch up to your trip, and lost expenses from the missed portion of your trip. However, they are typically limited to $100-$1,500 per person and often have a daily limit. Trip Cancellation benefits can also kick in if bad weather significantly delays your flight — typically by at least 12-48 consecutive hours.
"Policyholders often make the mistake of assuming that any delay on their airline flight makes them eligible for coverage," said APRIL Travel Protection CEO Jason Schreier. "One of the most common reason claims are denied is because the minimum number of hours haven't passed in order for coverage to apply."
I'm Covered For Any Bad Weather That Affects My Trip
Most policies include coverage for flight delays due to inclement weather, but winter weather can affect travel in other ways. Heavy snow or icy roads could make it difficult to get to the airport, but many policies do not provide coverage for poor road conditions.
"Travelers often mistakenly believe they are automatically covered if there is any kind of bad weather," said RoamRight Senior Vice President of Travel Linda Fallon. "In truth, travel insurance policies have very specific language and criteria that must be met for coverage."
Some travel insurance policies include Travel Delay coverage if roads are closed due to bad weather, but few travel insurance policies will cover you to cancel your trip altogether for this reason.
"Policies can vary greatly in what scenarios trigger coverage," said Squaremouth spokesperson Rachael Taft. "If you have specific concerns about winter weather affecting your trip, look closely at the language before choosing a policy. Better yet, call and speak to an agent, and they can help you find the right fit."
Related: Thanksgiving Travel: Insurance Will Not Cover Security Delays, Warns Squaremouth
Squaremouth compares travel insurance policies from every major travel insurance provider in the United States. Using Squaremouth's comparison engine and third-party customer reviews, travelers can research and compare insurance products side-by-side. More information can be found at www.squaremouth.com.
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