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Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What should I ask when rounding up insurance quotes for a Mexico trip in hurricane season?

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Q I am travelling to Cancun, Mexico, in late September, which I understand is in hurricane season. What should I ask about when getting quotes for travel insurance, and can you recommend a provider?

Sally Thorn

A In Mexico, travel insurance is essential - but mainly in case you need emergency health care. You can either go for a no-frills deal that has a 24-hour medical service attached, or a travel specialist such as Columbus, or indeed extend your household policy.

Most travel insurance policies usually provide some cover for disruption caused by severe weather, and do not charge extra if you happen to be heading for the Caribbean during the storm season between now and November.

I assume you, like most people, are travelling to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on a package holiday with a tour operator - which is going to confer the most valuable consumer protection in the event of a hurricane, irrespective of the travel insurance you choose. Looking back to October 2005, when Hurricane Wilma wrought such devastation upon Cancun and its surroundings, those on proper package holidays fared much better than independent travellers; the tour operator has a duty of care to provide secure accommodation and meals until such time as the traveller can be brought home. The same thing happened during Hurricane Sandy in New York last October, when travellers who had been flights and accommodation separately endured considerable expense in addition to all the discomfort.

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