Travel insurance inquiries spike as Irma makes landfall

News

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Travel insurance companies like InsureMyTrip in Warwick are being inundated with calls from would-be travelers whose vacations have been impacted by Hurricane Irma.

“The phones have been ringing off the wall. Constantly. All day long,” said InsureMyTrip sales representative Gail Mangiante.

Many of those callers are wondering how they can get their money back for vacations to places like Florida and the Caribbean, both directly in Irma’s path.

“They didn’t purchase coverage at the time they booked their trip,” explained Mangiante. “Now there’s something out there and they know they have to cancel, and unfortunately, for the most part, we can’t help them.”

Mangiante said as soon as a threat to a destination is known — like a named tropical storm or hurricane — travelers can no longer qualify for traditional coverage. However, it is still possible for folks traveling to destinations impacted by Irma to see if they can qualify for a “Cancel for Any Reason” policy. This policy is only available within 10 to 30 days of making an initial payment on the trip, and only covers up to 75-percent of the trip cost.

Other callers, spurred by the recent events, rang InsureMyTrip looking to purchase policies for future travels. Mangiante said it’s best to get travel insurance within days of booking your trip. She said customers should always read the fine print of their policies so they know exactly what’s covered.

“You don’t want to be disappointed when you call the insurance company and they say, ‘No, I’m sorry, we can’t pay this claim for you,'” she said.

Mangiante said it’s not just Irma impacting travelers, but Hurricanes Jose and Katia, too. Now that those storms are named, no new policies will cover their impacts.

For those looking to get travel insurance or file a claim with their insurance company, Mangiante said expect to wait longer than usual to speak with a representative.

“We’ve just been inundated with calls,” she said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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