Does your travel insurance cover extreme weather and natural disaster? Here’s what you need to check

Does your travel insurance cover extreme weather and natural disaster? Here’s what you need to check
Most travel insurance policies will not include cover to cancel or cut short your trip due to a natural disaster

A series of extreme weather events around the world – from the flash floods in Majorca to Hurricane Michael – have caused much concern among travellers.

Worries over disruption and damage has led to a sharp rise in enquires from travellers asking if their insurance will cover them if they cancel their holiday, according to specialist website travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk.

Here, Fiona Macrae from travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk answers the questions that concern most travellers:

The recent hurricanes in Florida and floods in Europe have left me fearful to travel. Can I claim on my travel insurance policy if I cancel my trip?

Travellers should make sure they have adequate cover for natural disasters.

Force Majeure or Catastrophic Events cover are the terms used by travel insurers in relation to natural disasters.

Force Majeure is typically an add-on to a travel insurance policy, so while it is not always included as standard, it is a crucial part of a policy.

Mallorca has been struck by flash floods (Photo: Youtube)
Mallorca has been struck by flash floods (Photo: Youtube)

Protection against Force Majeure will typically cover three areas, which travellers should check carefully before purchasing a policy:

1) Does the policy allow me to cancel my trip if a natural disaster occurs?

2) Does the policy allow me to cut my trip short if a natural disaster occurs?

3) Does my policy cover the costs of alternative accommodation if we want to move to a safer area to continue our trip?

Most travel insurance policies will not include cover to cancel or cut short your trip due to a natural disaster, as it would be up to your tour operator to rearrange the trip for you or get you home.

However, this can cause problems for travellers who have independently booked each part of their trip.

Travellers concerned about natural disasters should look at policies which provide ‘cancellation for any cause’ as well as Force Majeure cover.

Furthermore, if the holiday destination is affected by a natural disaster during the trip, those without dedicated cover for Force Majeure or Catastrophic Events cover won’t be able to claim for any alternative accommodation costs if they wished to move to a safer area.

Again, customers should carefully check the cover provided under their policy before purchasing.

Can I claim on my travel insurance policy if the areas I was due to travel to are badly affected/damaged by weather?

Unfortunately, many people assume that any accommodation or curtailment costs would also be automatically covered following a natural disaster which was out of their control.

In fact, natural disasters are not always covered as standard in most travel insurance policies.

More info: travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk