By Jordan Ffolkes on 08 September 2017

Hurricane Irma tears path through the Caribbean and Florida

Travellers heading to the Caribbean and Florida over the weekend are justifiably on high alert about the progress of Hurricane Irma. Already tearing into the eastward islands of Turks and Caicos on Thursday night, Irma has been upgraded to a category five hurricane– the highest level on the scale. Residents are bracing for potentially catastrophic damage to property and essential services.

Check if this affects your travel:

Although it’s too early to forecast Irma’s path or effect on the nearby continental US around southern states including Florida, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has issued a hurricane warning for the following Islands: Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, The British and US Virgin Islands, Peurto Rico, Vieques and Culebra. (As a result, British Airways have been forced to cancel flights between Gatwick and Antigua and Tobago.)

I’m at the airport and my flight’s been cancelled

If either your outbound or return flight is delayed or cancelled, it’s important to contact your airline or tour operator – they’ll usually be able to help with alternative flights and getting you home. If your flights are delayed for more than 12 hours due to adverse weather conditions on the outbound leg, you may be entitled to claim for travel delay or abandonment of your trip. You may also be entitled for travel delay on the return flight.

I’m abroad at the moment and have been advised to evacuate

The advice from the FCO is to follow the advice from local authorities. You must get in touch with your tour operator directly for help with further accommodation. If your Columbus Direct policy has catastrophe cover you may be entitled to claim for additional accommodation and transport costs if you are forced to move from your pre-booked accommodation. Please contact the assistance phone number on
+44 (0)208 865 1640 for further advice.

What to do if you’re travelling to the region

If you have a trip to the Caribbean or Florida booked and are concerned this will affect your travel, or if you are currently abroad and facing potential disruption to your flights or holiday, please contact your airline or tour operator in the first instance. It’s important to note that your Columbus Direct travel insurance policy does not currently cover you for any cancellation costs, or costs to curtail your trip and come home as a result of Hurricane Irma. Cover may be in place for cancellation costs should the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the country that you are due to visit, however, at the time this blog went to press, the FCO have not advised against any travel to the affected areas.

If you’re insured with Columbus Direct and have any questions or concerns, please get in touch – our customer services team are on standby to help. Call us from the UK on 0800 068 0060 or +44 (0)203 056 7994 from overseas (selecting option 2 for customer services). Alternatively, send an email to

Keep informed:

Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

National Hurricane Centre:

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