The storm slammed into Puerto Rico at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday as the third-strongest hurricane to ever hit the US, and it caused widespread destruction.
Governor Ricardo Rosselló told CNN that the island could be without power for four to six months due to damage from the storm.
So what can you do if you had booked a trip to Puerto Rico in the near future? If you don’t have trip insurance, there isn’t much you can do.
If you do have insurance, the trip could qualify under the “unforeseen circumstances” part of the policy, according to Stan Sandberg, cofounder of TravelInsurance.com.
“One of the main reasons why people cancel a trip and file a claim with travel insurance is for just what we witnessed,” Sandberg said. “The events that came out of [this year’s] hurricanes would constitute covered reasons, and one holding a policy would be able to cancel and get their money back.”
Insurance policies typically will not provide coverage against a storm that has been named by the time of purchase, however, so some forethought is required. You would have to purchase general coverage before the storm was named. Sandberg recommends staying informed of weather patterns during risky periods like the Atlantic hurricane season.
2017 was predicted to be a particularly bad hurricane season, so travel insurance would have been a good bet. There is no general rule that a hotel, airline, or tour agency must refund you in the case of a hurricane.
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