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What to do about Travelguard denied insurance claim?

What to do about Travelguard denied insurance claim?

Nov 30th, 2010, 07:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2
What to do about Travelguard denied insurance claim?


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?
beran2401 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2010, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,524
Keep pushing. Insurance companies typically make you fight for your money, hoping you'll get fed up and walk away.

If they sent you any sort of paperwork or emails that said you were covered, remind them you relied upon that information and expect it to be honored as your decision to cancel the trip was based on that info.

If they still say no, file a claim in your local small claims court. Doesn't matter if they owe you more than the max amount...most likely, they will pay attention to you once they get the notice and you won't have to actually go to court.
lcuy is offline  
Nov 30th, 2010, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,553
I'm not a lawyer and there are lots of them who do post on Fodors so maybe one of them will have advice for you.

But as I see it -- you were not covered for that sort of cancellation. Whether or not they sent you a copy of the incorrect DOC after the fact, the DOC that was in effect at the time you booked didn't cover this.

The human error essentially involved sending you a copy of a DOC for a different policy -- not yours. But that doesn't change the DOC you contracted for.

It is a shame IMO but I really think you are SOL.

Maybe the fact that their info meant you didn't try to re-book/salvage something will make a difference/help???
janisj is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 04:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,598
The terms of the policy YOU PURCHASED will govern what is covered and what is not. It makes no difference what the terms of other policies are ONLY the one you purchased. That's why it's important to read the fine print to make sure it covers the event you wish to insure against. One thing that many people misunderstand is that there are many different types of Travel Insurance and not all have "storm related" coverage. You should have been given a copy of the policy at the time of your purchase. Look through your travel documents and review the policy terms to find out if you actually had "hurricane" coverage. If so, you'll have the basis for a proper claim. If you don't have that coverage no amount of pleading will help.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 08:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2
Thanks for all these replies!

@Janisi and RoamsAround - The main issue is that NO ONE is able to tell me what the policy is that I purchased. The call center is telling me I purchased one description of coverage under which my claim is generally coverable and the claims arbitrator is telling me I am covered under a different policy under which my claim is not covered.

Also, after speaking with Travelguard again this morning they said that there never was a revision of any Travelocity description of coverage and they were confused as to why the claims arbitrator would say that. They said they only issue ONE policy to Travelocity customers for International flights and that is the DOC under which I would be generally covered.
beran2401 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,598
OK, got it.

Since you are now being told by Travelguard that they only issue one policy to Travelocity customers and you believe your loss is a covered event I'd suggest you ask to speak with a supervisor to see if they can help resolve the matter. Keep going up the ladder until you get someone who can fully explain how and under what terms your claim is being processed (either approved or denied, as the case may be).

Whatever you do, keep your cool and don't let your emotions get in the way during the process. Don't threaten to take your future business elsewhere as then they have no incentive to assist you. Instead tell them you have confidence in their company, you are aware they are one of the leading travel insurance companies and you are sure there has been some mistake in processing your claim. Then state the facts and the reason you believe your claim should be paid. If necessary, write a letter to the President or Chairman of the company briefly outlining your problem and ask him/her to assist you. He/she probably won't do it personally but often they will pass your inquiry on to a senior executive who can. Keep your letter brief and stick only to the facts. You'd be surprised and how often this tack will result in a favorable disposition.

Good luck.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
Thank you for pointing out the importance of actually reading and understanding any insurance policy before buying it (and, similarly, reading and understanding any contract before signing it). Had you read the policy, you wouldn't be in your current situation. But from what you have written, you don't even have a copy of the policy.

As to what you can do now, I suspect the letter denying your claim went on to tell you how to contest that decision, which is most likely by arbitration. But you probably didn't read that either.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,886
When one pays for insurance, they send a copy of all "small print" in e-mail. You bought your insurance through Travelocity, so most likely you don't have it. And as they've changed the insurance terms, there is nothing on their website that helps you, it looks.

Just try everything you can: BBB, Atty general, newspaper, tv.
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 1st, 2010, 06:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,008
I'm not sure why you would purchase a policy from Travelocity without reading it.

You said you bought the International Travel Policy from Travelocity because it was hurricane season. Were you told at the time you purchased this policy back in April what coverage you would receive? Were you not concerned when you didn't receive a copy of the policy you purchased? Did you contact Travelocity and ask for a copy of the policy you purchased?

IMO, without a copy of the policy you had no way of knowing WHAT you had paid for. And that is asking for trouble.
bettyk is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 2
Hi @beran2401 This is Joe from Travel Guard. Sorry to hear about your experience with us. Having been with Travel Guard for a number of years, I can assure you, we are an extremely customer-focused company and take great care to ensure our customers walk away feeling good about our service. Stories like yours are uncommon. I've read it carefully and I believe you have a legitimate concern. It seems there has been some miscommunicaiton at some point in the process.

I'd love to advocate for you on this to help reach a fair resolution on your behalf. I've spoken to one of our senior arbitrators and together we reviewed the details of your case. She will be calling you with some news I hope you're happy with. In the meantime, feel free to email me, Joe, at: [email protected] with any questions or concerns you may have.

JoeTraveler is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2010, 02:09 PM
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Posts: 2,032
Kudos to Travel Guard!
NoFlyZone is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 779
Beran2401 pls let us know how this turns out. I have used Travel Guard in the past, but have been lucky enough never to have to test their claims process. Indeed, I have an existing policy with them now for an upcoming trip.

It things don't work out head to small claims court. Its a simple procedure, though it can take some time. The T&C that applied to your trip were those set forth in the policy that you purchased, not a subsequent one. Kontract law is in your favor, assuming the T&Cs are different. Good luck.
tengohambre is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,739
I am happy to hear that Travel Guard will review your claim. Based on what you have written, you relied on incorrect information given you by a representative of Travel Guard which led you to believe that you had a covered claim and you acted based on that misinformation. Many readers of this forum use Travel Guard insurance, and I think the company has more to loose than the cost of reimbursing you for your airline tickets, if they do not review your claim and pay you. Please let us know how things turn out.
shelleyk is offline  
Feb 19th, 2011, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1
Beware of the 'preexisting condition' scam! Travel Guard will deny your claim on this basis, even if it's injury sustained after the purchase of their policy (see below).

I purchased travel insurance from Travel Guard on November 7, 2010. The coverage included trip cancellation due to injury. Late at night on the same day I got into an accident, resulting in hand injury, and checked into the Beth Israel Emergency Department the following day. Due to the accident, I had orthopedic surgery on November 12, which caused me to cancel my trip.

Based on the above, I filed an insurance claim with Travel Guard. After collecting all the paperwork and months of follow-ups, the claim was denied on the basis of 'preexisting medical condition.' Although my injury was most certainly not a preexisting condition or a condition known before the purchase of the policy, I was unable to appeal it. It was impossible to get a hold of anyone in the claims department over the phone. Responses received via voice-mail did not result in a resolution.

I lost both the trip cost and $131 spent on the purchase of the Travel Guard policy.
jennieolg2 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2011, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,739
Was coverage denied for a preexisting condition or because coverage did not begin until 12:01am the day after you paid for the policy, which would be standard for most insurance policies?
shelleyk is offline  
Feb 20th, 2011, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Sorry for your trouble have confronted similar issues in the

past if you paid with credit cards you can file disputes

and trigger investigations for free threaten to do this.

Also threaten to file a complaint with insurance commission

of your state they do not like this always do this with

a supervisor.Might speak also to a supervisor threaten to

file a complaintwith www.bbb.org Travel Guard's current

rating/record(currently A+ below.

These complaints concerned:

1 regarding Advertising Issues
1 regarding Advertising Issues

7 regarding Billing or Collection Issues
7 regarding Billing or Collection Issues

24 regarding Contract Disputes
24 regarding Contract Disputes

8 regarding Customer Services Issues
8 regarding Customer Services Issues

1 regarding Delivery Issues
1 regarding Delivery Issues

4 regarding Guarantee Or Warranty Issues
4 regarding Guarantee Or Warranty Issues

2 regarding Not Classified
2 regarding Not Classified

60 regarding Refund Or Exchange Issues
60 regarding Refund Or Exchange Issues

8 regarding Selling Practices
8 regarding Selling Practices

13 regarding Service Issues
13 regarding Service Issues

These complaints were closed as:

19 Administratively Closed
5 BBB determined that despite the company’s reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.
6 BBB determined that despite the company's effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.
3 BBB determined the company made good faith and reasonable offer to resolve the issues, but the consumer did not accept the offer.
4 BBB determined the company provided proper verification that indicated there was no obligation to resolve the issues of the complaint.
1 BBB determined the company provided proper verification that indicated there was no obligation to resolve the issues of the complaints.

76 Assumed Resolved
8 Assumed Resolved
17 Assumed Resolved
29 Assumed Resolved
22 Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to the BBB.

33 Resolved.

Hope this is of some help the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

In the future might www.insuremytrip.com separately with

accountable quality companies cheap wise and copy cotracts.

I always do saved me twice last year in the Iceland volcano

and Ecuador civil unrest got 100% of my money back X 2.

Good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2011, 03:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,238
Beran: I would love to hear how this turned out. I have used TravelGuard for several trips, but have never had to file a claim. I now have to consider buying insurance within 10 days for an upcoming trip (have to cover pre-existing condition), and I'd be interested in the follow through in your matter.
AlessandraZoe is online now  
Feb 24th, 2011, 12:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2
This is like a nightmare. I generally purchase a annual travel insurance policy as I travel frequently. Now I will have to look into buying something else. I generally buy from a online agent http://www.nriol.net/. Will check and find something better now.
Leah12 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2011, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,593
You could write to the travel guru Christopher Elliot or the ombudsman at the Conde Nast magazine. Sometimes big names can make things work for you.

TravelGuard outsources its claims operation to something called Mercury, and they're very bad at responding to e-mails. We had to deal with them on a delayed-baggage claim, and it's fortunate that Air France paid up and we didn't need the TravelGuard coverage.
Underhill is offline  
Mar 19th, 2011, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,255
I almost never buy travel insurance, because I keep hearing stories about how hard it is to collect if there is a problem.
travelgirl2 is offline  

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