Gerald Phelan wants to get his money back for a travel-insurance policy on his cruise. But his cruise line only wants to issue a voucher. Is his policy refundable or not?
Q: Last October, I purchased a travel-insurance policy through Travel Guard for a Regent Seven Seas cruise from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The cruise line canceled the trip on Feb. 19.
I asked if the travel-insurance policy was refundable. A Travel Guard representative told me all cancellations must be made within 15 days of the effective date.
Travel Guard offered me a credit voucher, good for 90 days. But that was useless because cruise lines have suspended operations and the government is advising people to avoid travel. I’ve heard nothing from Travel Guard. Can you help me get my money back? — Gerald Phelan, Napa, California
A: We’re in uncharted waters when it comes to coronavirus.
Regent’s ticket contract, the legal agreement between you and the cruise line, says it will refund the fare if it cancels your cruise. Fortunately, it refunded your cruise immediately after the cancellation.
But your insurance is another matter. You have a 15-day “free look” period after you buy a travel-insurance policy, after which the policy is nonrefundable. If your trip gets canceled, some travel-insurance companies will allow you to cover a future trip. But what if there are no future trips — at least not in the foreseeable future?
Like I said, uncharted waters.
By the way, the next time you book a cruise, you’ll want to read your policy carefully. In reviewing the policies that Regent sells, I noticed at least one that doesn’t cover the cessation of the cruise line. In other words, if the cruise line goes under, you’ll lose your policy and your vacation.
Your question is one of thousands that are pouring in during the coronavirus crisis. Although it’s become impossible for my advocacy team and me to mediate every case, we can still help. I publish the names, numbers and emails of the executive contacts at Regent Seven Seas and at Travel Guard. We also host a help forum where travelers can post their questions and get immediate help.
You reached out to Travel Guard using our executive contacts. The company offered a full refund for your policy.
If you need help with a coronavirus-related refund, please contact me. You can send details through my consumer advocacy site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.