The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Service Climate Prediction Center issued its forecast for the The June 1 start of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season, predicting between nine and 14 named storms, of which four to seven may become hurricanes, including one major storm of Category 3 (111 m.p.h.) or larger. There is, according to NOAA, a 25 percent probability for “above-normal” 2009 storm activity, and a 25 percent probability for “below-normal” activity.
In wake of the forecast, Travel Insured International reminds travelers that seasonal National Weather Service (NWS) hurricane forecasts, combined with actual seasonal results since 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina, show how unpredictable hurricane season can be. While the NWS Prediction Center has forecast the number of storms with remarkable accuracy, especially in the last two years following the record storm activity of 2005 and the quieter 2006, there are surprising results each year, Travel Insured says.
Last year, for example, six consecutive named storms (Hurricane Dolly, Tropical Storm Eduoardo, Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike) struck the U.S. for the first time ever. There were also major Category 3 Atlantic hurricanes in each of five consecutive 2008 months for the first time, including Bertha in July, Gustav in August, Ike in September, Omar in October and Paloma in November.
Travel Insured offers the storm data as a reminder that adding travel insurance provides peace of mind in protecting against hurricane-related trip cancellation and delays when traveling during the hurricane season from June 1 until November 1. Remember, however, that you must plan early, preferably with your initial trip deposit, to get protection from an unforeseen hurricane disruption. Once a storm has been named by the National Weather Service you cannot obtain coverage against any storm-related disruption from that storm, Travel Insured says.
As a guide for agents, Travel Insured also offered guidelines for Hurricane-related insurance coverage:
Trip Cancellation: Travel Insured International’s Worldwide Trip Protector plans can provide coverage for Trip Cancellation if weather causes complete cessation of your common carrier for 24 or more consecutive hours. This coverage can also protect you if a hurricane or natural disaster renders your destination accommodations uninhabitable. And it can protect you if your primary residence within 10 days of your scheduled departure is made uninhabitable by a flood or other natural disaster.
Trip Interruption – Mandatory Evacuation: If local authorities order a mandatory evacuation at your destination due to a hurricane or other natural disaster during your trip and at the end of the evacuation you have 50 percent or less of your trip remaining, this coverage can protect you.
Cancel for Any Reason: When you are concerned about the potential of traveling when a storm might be building but has not yet reached your destination, your best option is to purchase a Cancel for Any Reason upgrade within 14 days of your initial trip deposit. This option will allow you to cancel up to two or more days prior to your scheduled destination for up to 75 percent reimbursement of your non-refundable prepaid vacation costs. But remember the insurance and option must be purchased before the storm is named for coverage to apply.
Trip Delay: A weather-caused delay of your common carrier for six or more hours can provide Trip Delay coverage of up to $500, $750, or $1,500 depending upon the terms of the Worldwide Trip Protector plan you purchase.
Missed Port of Call: Worldwide Trip Protector and Gold plans offer a “Missed Port of Call” benefit that addresses cruise or tour disruptions due to unforeseen events such as hurricanes. Insured passengers who prepay for a non-refundable shore activity in a port of call, or a scheduled stop on a tour, but miss the activity due to a change of itinerary, can be reimbursed up to $750 unless the missed activity is rescheduled during the course of the trip.
Missed Connection: This coverage can protect you if, as a result of a weather-related disruption of your common carrier for three or more hours, you miss your cruise or tour departure. Benefits can be paid up to the limits specified on your selected Worldwide Trip Protector plan.