As Irene has come and gone, airlines are still trying to figure out how much they will lose. With trip cancellation insurance, thankfully, a traveler doesn’t have to ask the same question. However, one question that most people with trip cancellation insurance have is: Now what?

Usually, if your travel plans have only been postponed (and airlines usually offer an alternative as soon as possible) and you take up the airline’s offer, you will not be able to claim trip cancellation benefits. However, if you do have a legitimate claim, you will need to file a claim, typically by filling out a Claim and Authorization Form and mailing it to the appropriate person.

To accompany the form, you’d want to file all receipts you have of expenses incurred as a result of the trip cancellation or interruption. These include hotel, cab, and other expenses. Although Irene is a well-known event, if you have a circular from the airlines or any proof of your flight being cancelled, include that as well.

If you have the time, look at your travel insurance plan carefully. Some plans covers trips that are delayed by even six hours. If your home was made uninhabitable due to the hurricane, and you were on a trip and had to return home, trip interruption benefits will kick in. Always remember to make a copy of all the documents you send as part of your travel insurance policy claim for yourself.