Travel insurance companies said Friday that Hurricane Patricia, the Category 5 storm bearing down on the coast of Mexico, was prompting a spate of calls from concerned travelers.

On Friday afternoon, Dan Durazo, Allianz Global Assistance director of communications, said the company had received about 50 calls from customers who were impacted by Hurricane Patricia.

“Some of those customers are being evacuated from their hotels, and we’re working to find them other accommodations or helping them get home, if that’s what they want,” he said. “We have other customers who are scheduled to depart for Mexico, and they’re asking for our assistance in filing a travel insurance claim for trip cancellation.”

Durazo said Allianz was well situated to assist customers affected by the hurricane.

“We fully staffed our travel assistance department to help our customers who may be impacted by the hurricane, and our Mexico office is standing by to help our customers who might become stranded in Mexico and might need assistance,” he said.

Lynne Peters, insurance project manager at InsureMyTrip, said it has also seen a bump in call volume.

“People are really concerned about losing the financial aspect of their trip if they’re unable to get to where they’re going, or if the travel is canceled because of the weather,” she said. “People who already have travel insurance will call to see what they’re covered for. People who don’t have travel insurance yet will call to see if they can get travel insurance at this point.”

People looking to get insurance now are pretty much out of luck, Peters said, because the insurance will not cover something that has been foreseen, which Hurricane Patricia certainly is. However, there is an option that some plans offer to cancel your trip for any reason.

“That is available if you purchase your policy within a certain timeframe from initially putting any money on the trip. Usually that is 14, 15 or 21 days of the initial trip deposit,” she said. Those kinds of plans also require travelers to insure the entire amount of their trip and be medically fit to travel, and they will likely not see a 100% refund; 75% is more likely, according to Peters.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI