When Vance Luke bought an airline ticket for his daughter, he added optional “Ticket Protection” through International Travel Network (ITN). So when his daughter was hospitalized just before her trip, he expected that she would get a full refund for the cost of the ticket.
It didn’t happen.
Not all insurance is the same, as Luke learned. His story is a warning to anyone considering travel insurance or “protection.”
Here’s what happened to Luke. He’d planned to fly to Kenya with his daughter to help rebuild a school. But the trip never happened after she ended up in the hospital just before they were supposed to leave.
“I applied for a refund,” he says. “A letter from the physician was submitted. But she was only refunded 50 percent because she was not in the hospital at the time of departure.”
Luke says he believes ITN misled him about the insurance. But did it?
Luke had purchased insurance through a company called ASAP Tickets Protection
Unfortunately, the terms of the insurance were clear on the purchase page. While an introductory video to the protection glosses over the fine print, the actual contract is unambiguous:
Refunds: 100 percent refund of fully unused tickets for traveler(s) hospitalized at the time of scheduled departure. The traveler(s) must provide his/her hospitalization certificate to ITN and cancel the reservation before the scheduled departure. 50 percent refund of fully unused ticket for traveler(s) unable to take their trip due to sickness. The traveler(s) must provide doctor`s note to ITN and cancel the reservation before the scheduled departure. The doctor`s note must be verifiable and state that the doctor clearly prohibits passenger to take the trip.
Also, Luke had to click on a button that said that he agreed to the terms.
Although the insurance did not cover much, it did cover something.
Luke’s daughter was flying with British Airways. Had Luke not purchased the insurance, his daughter would have been charged a $300 penalty and then been given a credit to apply to a future flight.
That might have suited some travelers, but not Luke.
Because he had purchased the insurance, albeit a basic policy, Luke was entitled to a cash refund of the ticket price, less the $300 British Airways refund penalty, an ITN penalty of $82 and a $121 service fee. That meant that he got a refund of about 50 percent, which he wasn’t happy with. But without this policy, he would have received no refund at all, and because the terms of the policy weren’t hidden we could not help him obtain a full refund.