He bought travel insurance through Vrbo. But where’s his policy?

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By Christopher Elliott

Sam Maniar buys a travel insurance policy through Vrbo. But when he tries to file a claim, he discovers he has no insurance. Is he still covered?

Question

I paid for a vacation rental in Paradise Island in the Bahamas through Vrbo. I also purchased trip cancellation through CSA Travel Protection on the Vrbo site and have confirmation.

Unfortunately, one of the members of my party is unable to travel for medical reasons. I called CSA to file a claim, but they have no record of my policy. A representative also told me they have been having problems with Vrbo confirming trip insurance but not sending the info to CSA. 

CSA said that I am not covered as far as they are concerned.

I reached out to Vrbo again. An agent told me to contact CSA. I even copied and pasted my insurance confirmation in the correspondence, but he wasn’t interested. I also asked him for his badge number, but he said he wasn’t allowed to provide it.

To resolve the problem, I would appreciate a trip insurance policy so that I can take the necessary steps to obtain a refund or a full refund directly from Vrbo. Attached are copies of the trip insurance confirmation and the cost of the rental. Can you help me, please? — Sam Maniar, Hudson, Ohio

Answer

If you paid for a travel insurance policy through Vrbo, you should have one. What Vrbo does — or doesn’t — do with your money once it confirms the policy is not your problem. 

Your correspondence with Vrbo clearly shows that you purchased an insurance policy. That turned out to be a smart move because the policy covers an unexpected illness. Since a member of your party can’t travel, you should get a full refund for your stay. (Related: Can you solve this Freedom Mortgage problem?)

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The paper trail is confusing but it supports your position. Vrbo’s system says, “the original purchase did not go through and was canceled.” Yet you received a confirmation. But Vrbo also says it initiated a retroactive purchase of the trip cancellation insurance for you. So you should have been covered. (Related: Case dismissed: “The insurance will not cover our tickets”.)

Vrbo refunded the stay

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of Vrbo’s executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. It looks like you tried to contact them but never heard back. That’s problematic.

There’s only one way you could have known that you didn’t have insurance — and that is to monitor your credit card purchases carefully. If you’re expecting a transaction and it doesn’t go through, you’ll need to make inquiries. That’s especially important with insurance. And yes, even if you get a confirmation. (Related: I can’t travel. Can I get a refund from Vrbo?)

My advocacy team and I contacted Vrbo on your behalf. (Here’s what you need to know before booking your next vacation rental.)

“This is a complex case,” a Vrbo representative told me. “Our customer relations team has been looking into what happened with Mr. Maniar’s booking and speaking with CSA to get more information. We are also providing Mr. Maniar with a full refund for the cost of his booking as a gesture of goodwill, and he will be contacted by our billing team for next steps.”

Vrbo refunded your stay.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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