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3 On Your Side: Travel Insurance Warning

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Are you planning a big summer vacation?   You may be weighing whether to buy travel insurance, just in case something happens while you’re away or even before you go.  But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, just because you’ve got insurance, doesn’t mean getting a payout will be easy.

You’ve planned the trip of a lifetime.  You got a deal on the airfare.  Your hotel has won rave reviews. Your itinerary is packed with activities you’ve been dreaming about for years.  What could possibly go wrong?

“Just when you think everything is wonderful, boom, you get sick and of course you’d lose your money,” says Toby Rosenberg.  When Toby and her husband Herb booked a $12,000 luxury New Year’s cruise last September, they also purchased travel insurance.  In fact Toby says she always takes out travel insurance when booking a trip.

In late October Herb was diagnosed with cancer and the trip had to be canceled.  When the couple filed an insurance claim they were denied.  The Rosenberg’s son Mitchell says, “they believed my father had a pre-existing condition.”  Stonebridge Casualty pointing to the fact Herb had received medical treatment 60 days prior to the policy going to effect.

Toby says those medical visits were for back pain.  According to Toby, “He did not present with any symptoms of kidney cancer.”  Herb’s doctor even provided a letter which said there was no mention of cancer until over late October too.  Toby says, “They had no right to reject us.”

Then the family reached out to 3 On Your Side.  Mitchell says, “It became more of a matter of principal to me.”  After CBS 3 got involved the carrier agreed to reimburse the Rosenbergs saying they were doing so “solely as an accommodation.” Mitchell says, “Plain and simple they were wrong, they don’t want to admit it, but they were wrong.”

“If you have money at risk of having non-refundable or heavy refund policies you need to consider trip cancellation insurance,” says travel expert and writer Ed Perkins.  Perkins suggests that travelers consider a policy which allow you to cancel for any reason.  He says, “that gets rid of all this fine print about exclusions because it’s you, not some insurance company bean counter that decides.”

The insurance company wouldn’t discuss the Rosenberg’s claim citing privacy concerns.  But Toby is thankful their complaint has been resolved, allowing her to now focus her energy on Herb’s health and treatment.  Making it another 3 On Your Side problem solved.

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