When I got the official “City of Key West Hurricane Guide” this week, I tried to embrace it as a ‘friendly reminder’ to think about hurricane preparedness and travel insurance again. Living in paradise is fantastic, but during the summer months we must begin preparing for the reality that there is a possibility of a storm, and educating our clients of the importance of purchasing hurricane insurance.
Summer is a favorite time for travel to Key West and the Florida Keys. Kids are out of school and families are taking annual vacations to the Keys, and vacation rentals provide a comfortable, affordable, and authentic vacation accommodation. It’s the perfect time of year in the tropics for all the water sports, when the turquoise blue water is warm and clear. Visitors love to come for scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, wind surfing, sail boarding, kayaking, sailing, power boating, jet skiing, parasailing, fly fishing on the Gulf of Mexico, deep sea fishing off the reef and just hanging on the beach.
Many people have saved their money all year for their summer vacation and their focus is to get away and have an island dream trip. So what happens when you are on vacation and there is a storm warning and you are forced to evacuate and face the prospect of losing your vacation?
The hard reality is that in the event of an impending storm, travelers have to follow the official edicts for evacuation. When a ‘hurricane watch’ is declared, properties need to be secured with storm shutters or plywood and outdoor furniture needs to be stored. And when a tourist evacuation is officially ordered, guests must pack up and leave just like all the other tourists.
So how do we address the loss of their vacation rental investment and offer some peace of mind? There is actually a simple and affordable solution, travel Insurance that covers trip cancellation and interruption.
In the vacation rental business, most guests rent vacation properties well in advance of the trip, and most rental companies have no cancellation and no refund policies. While at first thought, a ‘no refund’ policy may seem tough, it’s important to recognize the fact that property owners and vacation rental agencies that provide and maintain vacation rentals, depend on this business income to pay for property mortgages and expenses for their livelihoods.
The good news is “Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance” guarantees guests a refund for non-refundable pre-payments for vacation rentals, while at the same time guarantees property owners and rental agencies their expected income. Prepayments and nonrefundable deposits generally amount to thousands of dollars for a vacation rental, and the insurance can provide coverage for your investment. Insurance can also provide coverage for cancelled flights, an accident, and medical expenses that may not be covered by health insurance.
It is also important to be sure you choose the correct kind of travel insurance that will cover possible loss of stay at your vacation rental. Also pay attention to when the insurance needs to be purchased. It is generally required that you purchase it when the final payment is made for the vacation rental and no later than 30 days prior to arrival.
It is always a good idea to encourage vacation rental guests to purchase travel insurance prior to any trip. But during hurricane season, it is extremely important to remind guests how they can protect their vacation investment by purchasing travel insurance. Why risk losing your vacation investment when you can easily and affordably protect it?