When you buy trip insurance, you’d think it would protect you if the trip was canceled. However, always read the fine print.
GREENSBORO, NC — Jennifer Freeman and her husband were excited about the cruise they booked, but more so for their son. The Royal Caribbean cruise was a surprise he had been talking about for months.
“Every time the commercial would come on, he would get excited and wanted to go,” Freeman said.
Late last year, Freeman and her husband booked the cruise but did not tell their son. Scheduled for the end of March the trip would eventually have to be canceled.
“We didn’t cancel the trip, Royal Caribbean canceled it,” Freeman said.
The cruise line providing a full refund but now Freeman had to reach out to the airlines for a refund as well. The flights were booked through Travelocity. When Freeman initially called to book the flights, she purchased travel insurance.
“It was just some added protection because there are so many variables when you are traveling with a child,” Freeman said.
When Freeman contacted Travelocity about a refund, she was directed to a third-party company that provided the insurance coverage. Travelocity provided contact information for Travel Guard and told Freeman she needed to reach out to them.
“I didn’t realize I bought insurance through another company,” Freeman said.
When Freeman reached out to Travel Guard, she was told her insurance did not cover cancellations and she was only able to get a credit for future flights from the airlines. Freeman reached out to both American Airlines and Frontier who were the airlines involved and was told the same thing.
“American (Airlines) said, I had to refer to Travel Guard for my carrier protection,” Freeman said.
At first, Freeman wasn’t overly concerned about getting the refund but the runaround was starting to bother her.
“I was calling them (Travel Guard) almost every other day,” Freeman said.
Eventually, Freeman was told that she would not be getting a refund but would be able to get credit for the flights. Travel Guard told her the trip insurance she purchased was not eligible for a full refund.
“I did not know there were different types of insurance,” Freeman said.
Frustrated about the entire orderal Freeman reached out to WFMY News 2 for some help and clarification on her policy. After sending us the emails she exchanged with Travelocity, Travel Guard, American Airlines, and Frontier we reached out to all four companies.
“I didn’t really know what else to do,” Freeman said.
Both airlines expressed compassion for the situation that Freeman found herself in but directed us back to Travelocity since that is where the flight was booked. When we reached out to Travelocity a representative directed us to Travel Guard as the insurance provider.
“We are dealing with a historical number of claims as a company this is completely unprecedented,” a Travel Guard spokesperson said.
At first, it seemed like a refund would just take time but ultimately it was determined that based on the policy Freeman purchased she was not entitled to a refund.
“It’s in the name, trip insurance, so if you don’t go on the trip there’s nothing to insure,” a Travel Guard spokesperson said.
It seems unusual that you could purchase trip insurance but to enact the policy you must go on the trip but there are restrictions based on cancelations. While it may seem like a good idea to purchase trip insurance as an added layer of protection there are different policies available that cover different issues.
“Our terms and conditions are listed on the policy but unfortunately people don’t read the policy,” a Travel Guard spokesperson said.
The other issue in this situation and most likely many others is that Freeman was never informed about the exact policy she was purchasing or given options. She was simply asked if she wanted trip insurance and said, “yes.”
“How they (Travelocity) present (the policy) is a real problem for us. We don’t like the way they market our policies,” a Travel Guard spokesperson said.
The company has several insurance options but said travel companies often sell the basic version to clients without explaining the details.
In this instance, we reached back out to Travelocity and explained the situation. We also told a representative we had spoken with a Travel Guard representative. A couple of days later a representative with Travelocity contacted Freeman and agreed to give her a full refund.
“News2 is awesome! They really helped to resolve my problem when I couldn’t do it myself, and really I don’t think even at this point now we would have had a resolution without News 2,” Freeman said.
Purchasing trip insurance is not a bad thing and, in many situations, can prove to be beneficial but it is important to know exactly what you’re purchasing before buying it. The best advice is to simply ask questions about the policy to ensure what you want to be covered is in fact – covered.
Then make sure you read it closely before signing and paying.