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Action 9 Investigates: Will travel insurance cover pandemics differently from now on?

Sep 1, 2021

Seven Corners News

CHARLOTTE — Debbie Boyle said she and her husband planned a “bucket list trip” to New Zealand and Australia. She told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke they were supposed to go for a month in 2020.

Then, the pandemic hit.

Boyle said a lot of the hotels, airlines and other vendors refunded them -- but not all. She said they were still out about $4,000.

But they had travel insurance, so they were feeling pretty good.

“Oh yeah, no concerns,” Boyle said. “Something happens, God forbid, we’re covered. We get all of our money back.”

But Boyle said the insurance company denied their claim -- not once, but twice.

“Of course, there’s no verbiage in there for pandemic. Nor did we think to look for that, right? I think that caught the whole world off guard,” she told Action 9.

Boyle said she kept fighting and finally got reimbursed, but that she’ll think about travel insurance differently from now on.

“Trip insurance sounds like a good thing,” she said. “Now, I’m going to think twice about the fine detail and really question them about pandemic-type situations. If we buy travel insurance again, I’m going to go through that thing with a fine-tooth comb.”

Stoogenke wanted to know if travel insurance will cover pandemics differently moving forward. There are two kinds of travel insurance policies: “Standard” and “Cancel For Any Reason” (which, despite the name, doesn’t cover every reason).

Before COVID-19, typically, neither covered pandemics. Currently, most “Standard” policies still don’t, but many “Cancel For Any Reason” policies do. But there’s a lot of gray area.

Read more about COVID-19 and Cancel For Any Reason coverage.

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