Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina have all been placed in a state of emergency as Hurricane Dorian rips through the Bahamas and makes its way towards the US states. The category five storm has battered the Caribbean island, causing severe flooding and damage to infrastructure.

According to the BBC, Hurricane Dorian is the most powerful storm to ever hit the Bahamas.

The hurricane is currently making its way towards the popular US states, and residents in the coastal areas of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have been ordered to leave their homes immediately. Disney World, Orlando, have said they are monitoring the storm.

As the hurricane continues it is becoming larger and is now covering an area of 45 miles from it’s centre. Officials have also warned of a storm surge of 7m high.

I have booked to travel to America and no longer wish to go, can I cancel my trip?

If you have booked your trip as a package holiday you may be able to cancel your holiday, postpone travel or change destinations. Having said that, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not advised against travel so the package holiday provider is under no legal obligation to offer any reimbursement or alternative arrangements. You will need to speak to the company directly and check their terms and conditions.

Travel insurance may be able to help those who have booked there holiday independently. If the travel insurance policy offers cover for ‘cancellation for any cause’, and the policy was purchased before the hurricane was announced, you will need to speak to your insurance company about submitting a claim. This travel insurance cover is not widely available, so to be sure to check the policy wording.

You will only be covered if Hurricane Dorian affects your destination, disinclination to travel will not be covered.

I am already abroad and am concerned about the hurricane, can I come home?

Similar to cancellation cover, you will not be covered by travel insurance to come home because you no longer wish to stay at the destination.

If you have booked a package holiday, and your accommodation has been affected by Hurricane Dorian, you will need to speak to your provider directly. It is their responsibility to move you to alternative accommodation.

If you have booked your trip independently, most travel insurance policies will offer to pay any reasonable expenses to get you to a safe area. This will be classed as ‘Force Majeure’ or ‘Natural Disaster’ cover. You will also be covered for accommodation, food and drink. Cover limits will vary between policies so you will need to check the maximum limits with your travel insurance company. Keep hold of all receipts as these will be needed to submit a claim.

This cover will only be available if the hurricane had not been announced BEFORE you left for your trip.

I am unable to return home as planned due to the hurricane, what should I do?

If flights are cancelled due to the hurricane, you will be able to reschedule the flight. The airline may offer you overnight accommodation, where necessary, and refreshments. However, this is not the case with all airlines.

If the airline does not offer accommodation or refreshments you will be able to submit a claim for the airline to reimburse your expenses. Make sure you keep holiday of any receipts.

Some travel insurance policies will offer to cover expenses for additional baby essentials or prescription medication if you are delayed returning home. You will need to check the policy wording for this cover and provide any receipts when submitting a claim.