Virginia Woman Learns Travel Insurance She Bought Doesn't Cover Death of a Friend

When a Virginia woman booked a trip to see a dying friend, she purchased travel insurance in case she was too late, but when that turned out to be the case, she learned the protection she paid for didn’t cover what she expected, she turned to NBC4 Responds for help.

When Roz Gann of Reston recently booked a nonrefundable flight through an online travel site to visit a dying friend, she chose to purchase travel insurance.

“They say, ‘Do you want to protect this flight?’” she said. “Sure I wanted to protect it because she might die.”

Gann said payed $43 for cancellation protection, but when she needed to actually cancel her flight a few days later, she was denied a refund.

“If you're refusing to give refunds, even for very legitimate reasons, are you really serving the public?” Gann said.

She couldn't understand how she could have interpreted cancellation protection any differently.

For Gann to have understood what was covered, she needed to click on another link to see the terms of the policy. She would have been covered if she got sick and couldn't travel or if a family member had died, not a friend.

Neither the airlines, the travel insurance company nor the online travel agency would budge.

“I wrote a congressman,” Gann said. “Still haven't gotten an answer.”

NBC4 Responds contacted both Delta and American Airlines, explaining Gann’s situation. Though they weren't obligated to, they both agreed to refund their portion of the trip.

“I think it showed me the value of shedding light on what's happening,” Gann said.

If travel insurance isn’t going to cover what you need, consider another option.

“If you think you might change at the last minute, your schedule is up in the air, you might want to spend a little bit more money and get a ticket that's refundable,” said Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.

If you are going on a big trip with your family or spending thousands of dollars on a trip, you should buy the insurance. It will cost a few hundred dollars.

The Insurance Information Institute has advice for choosing travel insurance.

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