Is this fair? They saved $74, but they lost $10,074

They missed Italy and lost their vacation. / Photo by Ryan Wood - Flickr.
Question: I’m writing on behalf of two friends who booked a trip of a lifetime to Italy recently. They also purchased trip insurance through Access America. A couple days after paying for the insurance, they found out that the husband had to have hip replacement surgery. It was a situation that became chronic within a couple of days.
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Why doesn’t travel insurance cover dad’s illness?

When Jessica Kamzik’s father was diagnosed with stomach cancer last summer, there was no question about what she had to do. Dad’s prognosis was “grave” — the doctors said he probably wouldn’t make it to the holidays — and, “as any loving daughter would do, I immediately cancelled our vacation to stay closer to him,” she says.

Good thing she had travel insurance through Access America, she thought. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about losing the cost of her trip.

But she thought wrong.
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Case dismissed: “The insurance will not cover our tickets”

Beware of the pre-existing medical conditions clause in your travel insurance policy!

Oh alright, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But could you at least pay attention to it?

I mention this because of Ingrid Murray, whose claim against Access America recently crossed my desk and then made its way into the “dismissed” file.
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Case dismissed: “I feel that the insurance is useless”

Marcel Meth’s wife and daughter had plans to visit his recently widowed sister-in-law in Minnesota. As a precaution, they bought a travel insurance policy through Access America.

But they bought the wrong policy.

“Four days before my wife and daughter were to leave for Minnesota, my sister-in-law called us and told us that her son was hospitalized and that he would be remaining in the hospital for a week or more,” he says. “In response to this, my wife needed to cancel the vacation. We obtained all the necessary documentation and filed it with the Access America. They immediately denied the claim, saying that the reason for hospitalization was not covered by the policy.”
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Insurance claim denied after bike accident

Question: I recently booked a trip to Colorado Springs on American Airlines. I paid for the tickets with a credit I’d received after canceling a previous flight, plus $350 in fees. I bought travel insurance from Access America, which is offered through the American Airlines website.

I had a bicycling accident and we could not travel to Colorado. I sent a claim to Access America with complete documentation, including receipts from American Airlines. The receipt shows a payment of $601 plus $350 in fees.

Now Access America says they won’t pay the claim since we used the $601 credit from the earlier trip. Needless to say, I am upset because American advertises Access America on its site and the ticket agent when I rebooked said to call them. Can you help me get my money back? — John Frow, Plano, Texas

Answer: Access America should have refunded your entire ticket, regardless of how you paid for it. Unfortunately, insurance claims are often denied because of a misunderstanding, and that’s what appears to be happening to you.
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