The recent ‘bomb cyclone’ that hit the eastern coast of the United States from South Carolina to Maine impacted millions of travelers. A bomb cyclone is a storm, similar to a warm-weather tropical storm, that brings high winds, heavy precipitation and rapid and steep pressure drops to the areas it hits. This type of storm is known for wreaking havoc with airline travel and disrupting vacation and business plans. In cases like this, travel insurance coverage can help in recouping some of the unplanned losses.
If a storm interrupts travel plans, it may seem that the money paid for airline tickets or other expenses would be irretrievably lost. For example, a traveler who is already at the airport when their flight is cancelled or significantly delayed due to a storm will want to stay overnight at a hotel as opposed to sleeping in an airport chair or on the floor. Trip insurance coverage for travel delays of at least 6-12 hours will likely pay for accommodations and meals while waiting for the first available flight within 48 hours of the original departure time.
A vacationer who hasn’t yet left their house for the airport might discover that flights have been cancelled due to weather or local roads are too treacherous to travel to get to the airport. If a flight is cancelled due to inclement weather, trip cancellation coverage can reimburse for lost trip costs. If authorities close the roads or an accident holds up traffic so that a traveler can’t reach the airport in time to make their departing flight, trip cancellation coverage can often help in recovering the money lost because of the missed flight. Travel insurance generally applies only to road closures, however. If the roads are still open, but a vacationer doesn’t feel comfortable driving on them, insurance won’t offer reimbursement for a missed flight.
Purchasing travel insurance is easy, particularly since trip cancellation coverage is very popular. It’s best to purchase trip coverage within a day or two of the date the tickets are paid for so you are covered for as long as possible for unexpected events that might disrupt your trip. Someone booking travel close to the planned time of departure may find that many travel companies require the insurance to be purchased at least 48 hours before a bomb cyclone storm is named in order to have coverage. This usually occurs about 24 hours before the storm’s full effects begin to be felt. Other companies expect the insurance to be purchased no later than 24 hours before an official National Weather Service (NWS) watch or warning has been issued. Insurance bought once a watch or warning is issued generally won’t cover travel cancellations or interruptions for that particular storm, unless you purchase a Cancel For Any Reason upgrade, which will allow you to cancel for any reason at all.