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Travel Insurance Policy Leaves Family Confused

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Everything that Barbara Christoff read in the travel insurance policy on Travelocity made sense. Yet when she went to claim the refund for the unused ticket she was confused.

"From what I read here, it should have been covered," she told CBS 11 News.

The Christoff's bought two tickets for their daughter and granddaughter for Kansas City, MO this summer.

"My granddaughter had a volleyball camp for 4 days," she said.

It cost her $560 and additional $40 for travel insurance on both tickets.

"I saw the option to get the travel insurance, I did decide that I would be a good idea," she thought.

She said she did read the fine print under terms and conditions. "When you click on the options and look at terms and condition there is a litany of legal terms," her husband said.

"You get a lot of legal mumbo jumbo."

Yet, she believed she was covered for a full refund if her daughter and granddaughter didn't make it.

Then it happened.

"My granddaughter couldn't make the trip because she wound up in the hospital," she said.

She called Travelocity right away to inform them and receive a refund. But they told her she couldn't get the money back because it was a non-refundable ticket.

Travelocity said they do not issue refunds.

"My mouth dropped, my jaw dropped. I was like, what?" she said.

Turns out, the way to get money back, even if you buy insurance is to contact the third party insurance company and file a claim.

Something the Christoff's said is not made clear before you buy. Travelocity sent CBS 11 News an explanation as follows:

Regarding travel insurance as noted in the policy (which is provided by a third party insurance carrier), it covers "if you are prevented from taking your Covered Trip due to your, an Immediate Family Member's, Traveling Companion's, or Business Partner's Sickness, Injury or death or Other Covered Events as defined, that occur(s) before departure on your Covered Trip.

The Sickness or Injury must: a) commence while your coverage is in effect under the plan; b) require the examination and treatment by a Physician at the time the Covered Trip is cancelled; and c) in the written opinion of the treating Physician, be so disabling as to prevent you from taking your Covered Trip.

The "Other Covered Events" (while less likely) include:

a. being directly involved in a documented traffic accident while en route to departure;
b. being hijacked, Quarantined, required to serve on a jury, or required by a court order to appear as a witness in a legal action, provided you, an Immediate Family Member traveling with you or a Traveling Companion is not: 1) a party to the legal action, or 2) appearing as a law enforcement officer;
c. having your Home made uninhabitable by fire, flood, volcano, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster;
d. Your involuntary termination of employment or layoff which occurs after your effective date of coverage and was not under your control. You must have been continuously employed with the same employer for 1 year prior to the termination or layoff. This provision is not applicable to temporary employment, independent contractors or self-employed persons.

Hopefully, the traveler won't have an occurrence take place that requires them to make a claim but if they do, there will be information in the policy giving information (i.e. a website or phone number) to begin the claims process.

Any time a customer is thinking about protecting their trip with this kind of coverage, the best rule of thumb is to always take a few minutes to read the policy or at a minimum, the "Summary of Coverages" section of the policy it will give a good outline of exactly what the policy covers.

For the Christoffs to activate this policy, they will need to contact the insurance company via the contact information on the policy at that point, the insurance company will make sure that they have the correct forms to make a claim, and will outline what documentation that they will need to get the approvals process rolling."

The Christoff's filed a claim with the third-party insurance company and have since got their money back.

But they still want to company to be more transparent when explaining the insurance plan. "At least give people information and in their info under travel protection," they said.

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