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(Hurricane) Bertha and a Nation

Scott Vogel

"The indication is that the hurricane is turning away from Bermuda, so we don't want to alarm people."

That's Tyrone Smith of the Bermuda Police Service, speaking about the possible path of Hurricane Bertha over the next few days. As of yesterday afternoon, the storm was 780 miles southeast of Bermuda and heading northwest. Current computer models generally agree that Bertha is likely to head east of Bermuda and may well only be a tropical storm at that point, but if things should change, travelers to the island should be aware of Bermuda's 2008 Hurricane Guarantee, a promotion honored by some of the island's largest and best-known properties. (Details are available at

"In the event that a hurricane-force storm is predicted by the Bermuda Weather Service to approach within 200 miles of Bermuda and within five days, guests will be able to cancel their reservations without penalty," says a press release. (Note: As of yesterday afternoon, the storm was expected to get only within 300 miles of Bermuda. For continually updated reports on Bertha, visit the National Hurricane Center online.)

The guarantee goes on to address such hypotheticals as the island taking a direct hit from a hurricane while you're staying there (no charge for rooms, food or beverages) or the hotel being forced to shut down as a result of damage (you're invited to return for a complimentary stay).

Other Bermuda hotels not participating in the guarantee may well have their own hurricane contingency plans, so if you're planning to visit the island in the next few days, it's worth checking with your own property. And regardless of your destination this summer, if you're heading into a hurricane-prone area, by all means keep your eyes out for a similar guarantee, especially if you're heading to the Caribbean. It's a piece of insurance that's definitely worth looking into, especially in these uncertain travel times.

Anyone else have experience with these sorts of weather-related guarantees?

By Scott Vogel |  July 10, 2008; 6:40 AM ET  | Category:  Scott Vogel
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