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When do you need to buy travel insurance?

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A hurricane has a compelling way of getting people to talk about travel insurance, and the number one question: When do I need to buy it to be protected against a hurricane?

Experts tell us, once a storm is "named" it's no longer "unforeseen"...which is required for coverage.

As Hurricane Irene clashes with people's end of summer vacations, it is now too late to buy trip protection says travel agent Alexandra Balfour Stewart. But vacationers who already have trip insurance plans are still protected against other mishaps, depending upon what they purchased, and what's spelled out in the fine print, of their policies.

"It's a pre-existing known condition and no insurance company is going to let you buy protection against that," said Alexandra Balfour Stewart with Alkar Travel.

However, if you want to just take it for the sake of having if there was an illness in your family, a sickness and you couldn't travel, your bags get lost, you get delayed, whatever, which is not related to this little storm we have coming, then you're covered.'

When buying travel insurance, Alexandra says make sure you buy insurance to cover what you are 'likely' to lose. From there, determine how much you want covered. You can cover everything or the bare minimum.

Acts of terrorism is now covered except, she says, in regions where there is terrorism. So, if a country is deemed not safe, and you go anyway, you're not covered. The best advise is to read the fine print in the policy.

"You have to be so careful to read every single exclusion. Not the inclusions the exclusions will tell you when you're up a gum tree and you can't get anything back," she said.

Alexandra says people don't like buying trip insurance because 90% of the time they don't use it. But the "unforeseen" would have been covered Tuesday -- the day a surprise earthquake hit Louisa.

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