It’s an experience Michael Grosberg calls “very curious” and given the recent news about travel insurance, very timely.
Last year, Grosberg bought travel insurance through Access America for a Labor Day trip to New Orleans.
You may recall that the Crescent City was evacuated that weekend, in preparation for hurricane Gustav. My trip was certainly interrupted when Continental airlines canceled all flights and rebooked me on a flight leaving a week later than scheduled. I had rented a car, drove to Houston, and was able to get home not much later than originally planned.
I submitted a claim to Access America for my car rental and other expenses. After a three-month delay, I was told that my claim was approved and a check will be mailed in short order. Imagine my surprise when, after a couple of weeks, I received a letter stating that my claim was denied because “evacuations” where not covered by my policy
Grosberg followed my advice for resolving this issue: He wrote a polite, strongly-worded letter to Access America and copied the California insurance commissioner.
“The check arrived just a few weeks later,” he told me.
Since my Troubleshooter column about Access America appeared last week, I’ve received numerous reports of delayed or denied claims — even with insurance companies that are completely legitimate.
What’s going on?
Well, it’s pretty simple. Insurance companies aren’t in the business of paying all claims. If they did, they’d go belly-up faster than AIG without a bailout.
They make money by denying claims.
Sometimes they take it too far. Sometimes you need to persuade them them to take another look at the denial.