Holidaymakers to be offered travel insurance against extreme heat

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Travel insurance that provides coverage for extreme temperatures and heatwaves will soon be made available to British travelers, according to US-based insurance start-up Sensible Weather. The company, which already offers policies to protect against extreme rainfall, has recognized the need for coverage related to high temperatures, following the disruption caused by recent heatwaves during the summer season. Sensible Weather plans to tailor its offerings to meet the specific needs of each customer, location, and time of year.

Two major heatwaves, named Charon and Cerberus, have affected millions of holidaymakers in recent weeks, leading to record-breaking temperatures reaching up to 47C and resulting in wildfires across countries such as Greece, Portugal, and Turkey. These extreme weather events, linked to the climate crisis, have raised concerns about the potential impact on European holidays.

Sensible Weather’s approach to extreme heat coverage is expected to follow a similar strategy to their rain coverage, where weather data is used to assess the risk of rain. Satellite monitoring detects downpours, triggering automatic payouts for customers. According to the company, compensation is typically provided for each day with two or more hours of rainfall between 8am and 8pm. The heat policy, on the other hand, could offer different payments based on the severity of the temperature.

Sensible Weather’s CEO, Nick Cavanaugh, stated that tiered coverages could be utilized for extreme temperatures, similar to their rain policies. For example, temperatures of 35C or higher could warrant a 50% reimbursement, while temperatures of 40C or higher could result in a full reimbursement. The goal is to develop a coverage plan that maximizes value for consumers while remaining affordable and financially viable for the company.

While acknowledging the potential market for such insurance, Simon Calder, The Independent’s travel correspondent, suggests an alternative solution to mitigate the risk of extreme heat during summer breaks – traveling to cooler destinations such as Ireland, Scotland, or the Baltic. Calder believes that these locations are unlikely to experience temperatures exceeding 40C, providing a cheaper and more effective way to avoid the negative impacts of extreme heat.

In summary, Sensible Weather plans to introduce travel insurance coverage for extreme temperatures and heatwaves, addressing the growing concerns of holidaymakers. By tailoring their offerings to specific customer needs and utilizing weather data to calculate risk, the company aims to provide maximum value to consumers while managing their financial exposure. However, some individuals, like Simon Calder, suggest exploring alternative destinations with milder climates as a more cost-effective approach to avoiding extreme heat.

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