|CNN's Jim Morelli reports on travel insurance and vacationing during hurricane season.
Vacations during hurricane season
Pros and cons of trip insurance
August 30, 1999
Web posted at: 2:25 p.m. EDT (1825 GMT)
From Jim Morelli
CNN Travel Correspondent
(CNN) -- It may be the riskiest time of year to schedule a seaside vacation, but that's exactly what thousands of people do during hurricane season. They take their chances, betting they won't have to deal with flooded hotel rooms, toppled trees, snapped power lines and mandatory evacuations.
The typical Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. In the eastern North Pacific, the season starts earlier, running from May 15 through November 30.
If vacationers do encounter a hurricane, it might seem by their response that getting their money back is almost as important as getting out alive. A storm can cost travelers hundreds of extra dollars, particularly if they're forced into a shelter an outlying hotel.
One option is trip cancellation insurance. You can buy it on your own, and some travel agencies include it in packaged vacations.
Loyal Charles of UNIGLOBE Travel says, "Whenever a person calls me at any time of the year -- and they say they want to travel between June 1 and December 1 anywhere in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and seaside destinations in the U.S. -- I always say to them, 'That's hurricane season, and we need to talk about trip cancellation insurance to protect your investment.'"
(Storm) surge protectors
The best of these policies reimburse for things such as lost nights of lodging and meal costs. But travel agents caution that not all plans are alike.
Consumers should ask one question before buying: What provisions allow me to get my money back? That's an especially important question because some policies don't cover natural disasters.
There are some drawbacks to cancellation insurance.
It isn't cheap. The cost sometimes runs into hundreds of dollars.
You need to keep receipts and file claim forms, something that could be difficult in a chaotic situation.
You can't get protection from known threats, among them existing storms like Hurricane Dennis.
But to many travelers, these concerns might seem minor when weighed against predictions of an active hurricane season that can blow away the plans and sink the expenditures of a long-booked dream vacation.