Consumers growing frustrated with travel refund denials after COVID-19 cancellations

VIDEO: Consumers growing frustrated with travel refund denials after COVID-19 cancellations

An Ormond Beach family claims they’ve lost $17,000 on a COVID-cancelled cruise vacation and their travel insurance offered no protection.

Action 9 found lots of consumers faced the same dilemma and are looking for answers on protections for booking travel in 2021.

Jocelyn Daley and her husband were looking forward to a 30th-anniversary cruise they would always remember.

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COVID-19 cancelled the trip, and Daley, will never forget her fight to get a refund.

“It’s too much money at this stage in our life,” Daley said.

Daley booked a 2-week European cruise through Vantage Deluxe World Travel. After COVID-19 forced cancellations, Vantage Deluxe only offered travel credits. Daley had travel insurance to protect her major purchase, but that policy did not cover worldwide pandemic cancellations.

“I thought I should get everything back I paid them, which included the travel insurance money, and that’s what I was expecting to get back,” Daley said.

Without a travel insurance refund, Daley expects to lose $16,000 since she fears rebooking now for health reasons.

“I’m a little bit, we’re a little bit scared,” Daley said.

Since March, Action 9 has been contacted by dozens of consumers who lost thousands on airline tickets and cruises that were cancelled by COVID-19, and their travel insurance claims were all denied.

Standard policy fine print excluded pandemics.

There are “Cancel for Any Reason” policies, but consumer experts warn it’s expensive and offers limited protection.

“It’s hard to know whether spending more money for a cancel for any reason travel insurance policy is worth it because you don’t know what your losses are going to be,” said Susan Grant with the Consumer Federation of America.

Many insurance providers include COVID-19 now. If a traveler tests positive, they may be able to cancel.

“Cancel for Any Reason” remains the best option if you’re booking extensive travel in 2021.

Stan Sanberg from Travelinsurance.com, “48 hours from their departure date they can cancel for any reason and get up to 75% of their trip costs back.”

Vantage Deluxe Travel did not respond to Todd Ulrich’s questions about Daley’s refund request.

“It’s been very frustrating,” Daley said.

Travelinsurance.com told Ulrich, one out of every five travel policies bought for next year’s travel includes “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrades. The policy costs about 40% to 50% more and it won’t cover all your losses.