With so many great fly fishing destinations available and so many great incentives and discounted rates that are offered during the late summer and fall “storm season,” travelers are paying closer attention, more than ever, to fish the “off” season and shoulder months in saltwater destinations throughout the Caribbean and throughout the world. The reality is that while tropical storms and even hurricanes can be an issue from mid-summer and throughout the fall months, there are certainly amazing opportunities for great fishing, uncrowded flats, and the very best prices and rates of the year. With all of these things in mind, how can we rest easy about paying for a fly fishing trip and traveling to an area that may or may not be affected – at some point – by severe weather conditions? And how do we stay excited for an epic saltwater trip rather than worry, up until the date of departure, that something might go wrong?
‘Insure’ your trip goes well. Storms, among other things, can disrupt travel plans. And when they do, the right travel insurance policy can and will cover costs related to flight delays, unexpected hotel stays and transportation rerouting. No two travel insurance policies are the same and they can vary depending on your age, state of residence and coverage. We recommend that our travelers get pricing through an insurance quote, which Yellow Dog can easily provide. You can expect to pay a premium that is roughly equal to 4-8% of your trip’s prepaid, nonrefundable costs, though a less restrictive “cancel for any reason” policy can cost as much as 10%. There is no point in buying a reduced rate, super restrictive (i.e. useless) policy just to save money, so take the time to kimberly [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com (talk with an insurance expert) and review your quotes to ensure you are getting the best possible coverage. Also, be smart and be aware of what refunds you might get automatically from your travel supplier. For example, if the airport is closed and your flight is canceled due to a hurricane, you’ll work out reimbursement or vouchers for a future trip with the airline. If you arrive safely before the hurricane and decide to leave when the storm begins, however, you could find yourself in a difficult situation without travel insurance.
Buy early. Travel insurance cannot insure something that has already happened. Once a tropical storm or weather event has been “named,” you won’t be able to buy a policy for trips potentially in its path. If it’s already been named and sighted, it will be too late. Purchasing travel insurance at the same time you book your trip ensures you’ll have protection for cancellations and interruptions.
Examine the fine print. It is MUCH better to ask about the fine print of the policy up front before inclusions and exclusions become an issue. kimberly [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com (Call or email your Agent) if you have any questions and read your insurance documents thoroughly once you receive them. Most insurance companies will allow between 10 to 15 days to cancel and issue a refund if the policy doesn’t meet your needs. Important: Read your policy certificate to verify that hurricanes are listed as a covered reason for trip cancellation; Yellow Dog as a rule of thumb will automatically quote these types of insurance policies unless asked otherwise.
What if a hurricane happens before my trip? Travel insurance plans that include trip cancellation for hurricanes and natural disasters will refund your pre-paid nonrefundable trip expenses if you have to cancel before your scheduled departure due to a hurricane. This coverage requires that the plan be purchased and in effect before the storm is named. See the policy limits for cancellations due to hurricanes.
What if a hurricane happens during my trip? Many travel insurance policies also cover trip interruptions, meaning that if you are forced to leave your trip early you should be covered. This could be due to a mandatory evacuation or just plain common sense, but you must verify that these reasons are listed in your trip insurance plan. Trip interruption coverage can be invaluable when you arrive safely, but a hurricane shifts direction and suddenly heads toward your destination. Trip interruptions related to hurricanes can also occur if your residence back home is rendered uninhabitable by a hurricane. If you’re fishing the Henrys Fork in September and a hurricane hits your home back East, you’ll likely want to immediately head home to assess the damage and protect what you have left. In this case, trip interruption coverage will get you back home and you’ll recover at least a portion of your pre-paid trip expenses.
Get things in writing. It might not make you a popular person at the service counter, but if you incur costs because your flights are delayed or canceled, get the reason in writing – from an airline representative – whenever possible. You can never have enough documentation. Some claims are rejected because travelers can’t prove a cause of delay and finding out the reason long after your trip can be difficult — if not impossible! Always a good idea to take thorough notes, record names and details, and more.
Be flexible. Let’s be honest. We all LOVE a good deal – especially when it comes to travel! And fly fishing anglers shouldn’t shy away from a great lodge package or fishing deal because of storms that in all likelihood will never happen. In these cases though, travel insurance is a no brainer! There are a lot of moving parts to an epic fly fishing trip which always makes it possible (versus probable) that weather can disrupt one or more legs. Don’t be afraid! Just be prepared!
Remember the big picture. Many travelers balk at paying the extra fees for travel insurance, but hurricane season is no time to skimp, as a policy can save you a lot of money in the end. Hurricanes and storms can add additional out-of-pocket costs that certainly add up when trips are thrown out of whack. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay in order to protect your travel investment.
Need a quote? Contact our in-house Travel Specialist on all things travel insurance, emergency evacuation memberships and flights; kimberly [at] yellowdogflyfishing [dot] com (Kimberly Franke )or call (888) 777-5060.