Couple denied travel insurance claim because of cancer diagnosis

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Couple denied travel insurance claim because of cancer diagnosis
Image Credit: Video still via NBC 4 Washington
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Shortly after getting a diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer, Walter Savoy had some more bad news to break to his wife Betty…

The couple wouldn’t be able to go on their 39th cruise together — a riverboat tour from Germany to Amsterdam — because he would need to start treatment right away.

Read more: How to get 10 days off work by using only 4 vacation days

Not taking ‘no’ for an answer

The Savoys were glad they had the peace of mind of trip insurance to cover the cost of the nearly $5,000 cruise that they wouldn’t be able to use. They called their insurer and explained the situation…only to be quickly rebuffed.

CSA Travel Protection denied the Savoys’ claim on the ground of pre-existing conditions.

“At the time I purchased [the policy],’ Betty told NBC 4 Washington, ‘we had no clue [about the diagnosis] and nothing had been said of that nature.”

Yet CSA still stood firm on their denial of the claim for the $4,998 cruise.

However, the travel agents at Vacations to Go appreciated the couple’s loyal booking over 38 prior years. Amazingly, they refunded the entire cost of the cruise even though they were under no obligation to do so!

Now Walter is recovering and his prognosis looks good. He and Betty are planning to finally go on that cruise they missed and say they’ll buy trip insurance again — just not from CSA.

Clark’s rules for buying travel insurance

When do you need it?

Travel insurance policies should always be purchased when you are taking a cruise, a tour or traveling on a trip that requires pre-payment of thousands of dollars.  

What kind of coverage does it offer?

Policies are designed to protect consumers by giving them refunds in the event of illness to the traveler or immediate family member, or to provide a refund in the case of company, tour operator or airline default.

But here’s the thing: You’ve got to read the policy carefully to see what it covers and what it excludes. If you don’t have time to read through the entire trip insurance document, at least read through the ‘Summary of Coverages’ section.

How much does it cost?

Policies cost about 5% of total cost of a trip, but it’s worth it. Consumers should always purchase a policy independent of the cruise, tour or vacation planner. Never purchase the trip protection plan from the trip organizer. They are designed to protect only the company and not the consumer. Always pay deposits and final payments by a real credit card and never by debit card or check.

Where should you get it?

You can comparison shop for trip insurance that suits your needs at InsureMyTrip.com. Again, be sure to pay special attention to any exclusions!

Read more: 10 ways to survive holiday travel

How to protect your frequent flier miles

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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