Hurricane Irma – am I covered?

Posted on September 6, 2017 by Guest Writer
high altitude image of a hurricane

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has published some information about Hurricane Irma but at the time of publishing this article (6 September 2017) there has been no official directive from the FCO advising against travel to the affected areas.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hurricane-irma-advice-for-british-nationals

General advice to customers travelling to affected areas

In the first instance please contact your Airline, Travel Agent or Tour Operator to find out if your travel plans are affected. Monitor news reports and if you are in the region please follow the advice of the local authorities and stay in contact with your Airline, Travel Agent or Tour Operator.

Disinclination to travel (abandonment) is not covered. However, the trip may be abandoned if you have checked in to a flight and the flight is delayed for more than 12 hours, due to a peril specified in the policy. Reimbursement is subject to the level of cover purchased by the customer and applicable excesses.

Customers already abroad

Under Section 2 – Trip Interruption / Curtailment, cutting a holiday short due to inconvenience caused by the hurricane is not covered under the policy, unless any person with whom the policyholder arranged to stay during the trip suffered injury or death as a result of the hurricane.

If you purchased the Travel Disruption Extension (TDE) Additional Cover Option, please read the section below about this.

Under Section 3 – Medical Expenses, any insured persons requiring treatment as a direct result of the hurricane should automatically be covered for treatment, subject to all other aspects of the claim being in order and cover validated, provided they followed the instructions of the local authorities. We may not cover a claim if there is evidence the policyholder took inappropriate actions or risks or disregarded the advice of the local authorities.

Customers with booked trips to the affected areas

If the flight or trip has been cancelled, customers must contact the airline or tour operator to discuss the status and re-booking options.

Under Section 1 – Cancellation, paragraph f, a claim will be accepted if “the FCO issues a directive against travel to your trip destination because of … hurricane”.

While there is no official directive from the FCO, no claim will be considered under this section for this event.

Under Section 4 – Missed Departure and Section 5 – Travel delay (and abandonment), any claim is subject to the missed departure or travel delay only caused by “Weather Conditions” in the UK.

If you purchased the Travel Disruption Extension (TDE) Additional Cover Option before 4 September 2017, we will consider claims as follows under Section 14:

  • Cancellation and curtailment: We will accept a claim following “the Travel Advice Unit of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) or regulatory authority in a country to/from which you are travelling issuing a directive: … recommending evacuation from the country, or specific area or event to which you were travelling, providing the directive came into force after you purchased, renewed or extended this insurance or booked the trip (whichever is the later), or in the case of curtailment after you had left the United Kingdom to commence the trip.”If observing a directive issued by the Local Regulatory Authority that recommends evacuation, claimants must provide substantiation confirming the recommendation and confirmation that they were not offered any alternative flights or assistance from their Airline, Travel Agent or Tour Operator.Claims will be subject to terms and conditions, level of cover purchased and applicable excesses.
  • Overseas Security and Catastrophe cover: Customers will be able to claim up to £1,000 for accommodation costs which cannot be used and refunded by the Airline, Travel Agent or Tour Operator; or if you require repatriation if unable to secure a return flight to the UK or country of residence with your Airline, Travel Agent or Tour Operator.

Please click here if you want to know how to make a claim. The telephone numbers for the 24 hrs Emergency & Repatriation Assistance Helpline are:

When calling from within the USA: +1 844 780 0639

When calling from within Canada+1 819 780 0639

Other outside the UK: +44 1403 288 414

Inside the UK: 01403 288 414

Customers who after 4 September 2017 want to purchase or upgrade to Travel Disruption Extension

Customers will not be able to purchase or upgrade Travel Disruption Extension for trips booked prior to 4 September 2017 or if planning to travel to the affected areas until they have been deemed safe by the local authorities.