In April 2010 I booked a trip to St. Lucia for November 11-15 through Travelocity. Because it was hurricane season I bought the International Trip Protection Plan. Due to Hurricane Tomas, on November 4th my resort contacted me cancelling our reservation because the resort was without water, had spotty electricity, and was not accepting guests. I called Travelocity to see if I cancelled my flight is the resort being uninhabitable a covered reason for cancellation? Travelocity told me to call Travelguard, the company that provided the insurance to get the full desciption of coverage.
I called Travelguard and gave them all my information (booked through Travelocity, bought International Protection Plan). The call center said they were well aware of what was going on with Hurricane Tomas and explained the details of my policy. Travelguard also sent me my policy so I could look over it before I filed a claim. Clearly stated in the description of coverage (DOC) was a destination being made uninhabitable due to a natural disaster. The DOC included definitions of uninhabitable that included "rental property being without water or electricity." Travelguard told me that as long as I had an email from the resort saying it was uninhabitable due to a lack of water from Hurricane Tomas this fell under the DOC. Before I officially filed the claim I called Travelguard several more times - as the flight was very expensive - and I was nervous about relying on one single email to verify the claim.
My hesitation was well founded. About three days after filing the claim I received a call denying my claim because my reason for cancelling my trip was not covered by my policy. Today, about a week later, I finally was able to speak to a claims arbitrator from Travelguard. Turns out the "call center" I contacted several times before filing my claim sent me the wrong description of coverage. Conveniently for Travelguard the policy had been updated August 21, 2010 and since I booked my trip in April 2010 I did not fall under the new policy (that was sent to me by Travelguard AND that Travelguard said was my policy multiple times) but under the old policy. The old policy does not include "destination uninhabitable" as a covered reason for cancellation.
I explained the situation to the claims arbitrator because I am really confused why Travelguard would continuously send me false information about my policy coverage. Furthermore, I relied on the false information that was sent to me by Travelguard to my detriment. Travelguard admitted that it was human error on their part that I received the false information, relied on the false information, and now am out of a lot of money due to the false information. Yet, they will not refund me any money. If I knew from the beginning that my flight cancellation would not be covered under my insurance I would have worked with the airline directly to pay to change my flight and possibly recieved a credit. However, due to "human error" on the part of Travelguard I am only left with a denied insurance claim, a lot less money, and no vacation.
What is also interestesting is that Travelguard told me I should have received the original policy from Travelocity. Travelocity never sent me the original policy or any policy for that matter - but they did charge me for the policy
Has anyone ever experienced this issue with Travelguard? Or any other insurance compay? Is there anything I can do now that I have relied on false information?
I plan to write to Texas Insurance Department (that is where Travelguard is incorporated) but beyond that do I have any other options?
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