In the wake of the recent hurricanes, Irma and Harvey, and reports of more due to hit the Caribbean and Florida over upcoming months, timeshare holders are worried about their position. Diamond Resorts hit headlines for damage to its timeshare properties in Florida and St Maarten as a result of Hurricane Irma, for which the cost and extent of damage is still being calculated..
Should a timeshare resort or unit become subject to a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tsunami, or earthquake, what are your rights as a timeshare holder?
If your timeshare is struck by a natural disaster, then there may be special fees to pay in order to repair the damage. It’s generally accepted that members must do their part to help with repairs, and in the event of a natural disaster at a timeshare resort, the cost of those repairs may exceed your usual maintenance fees.
The cost of the damage will be assessed by professionals, and your maintenance fees will rise accordingly to be split with all other timeshare holders at the affected resort. It is unlikely that these additional fees will exceed more than around £500, though, of course, it does depend on how much damage has been done, what needs to be replaced or repaired, and whether the units are even liveable anymore.
There’s also the possibility that your timeshare unit may be unavailable for use for an indefinite period until the repair work has been completed. Some timeshare resorts may let you “bank” your timeshare week for later use when the resort is back up and running again, though this is not guaranteed.
If you own a deeded timeshare, then you can buy specific deeded timeshare property insurance to cover you against natural disasters, though if your timeshare is in a location that is particularly prone to natural disaster, your premium may be steep and in some cases it can be difficult to insure at all given the risk.
In most other kinds of timeshare, such as points-based and right-to-use, the timeshare management company or developer will be insured, which you may be paying for as part of your maintenance fees. Nonetheless, this may not necessarily protect you from extra costs if a natural disaster hits your timeshare resort. You will need to purchase contents and liability insurance.
Check your own homeowner’s insurance policy at home, because this might cover your timeshare too. If you need to take out new contents and liability insurance, then research well and have an in-depth discussion with the insurance company to make sure it covers timeshare and also what kinds of disasters are covered
Please bear in mind that standard travel insurance will not cover damage to your timeshare. Your travel insurance only comes in if you are at your timeshare at the time of the natural disaster, and will cover you for the standard aspects of holiday cover that you’d expect from any kind of trip.