I canceled my Club Med vacation, but my claim was denied

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By | September 11th, 2016

I’d like to help Jack and Sue Guenza. A late spring storm interrupted their Mexican vacation, and they assumed their travel insurance would cover them. But, of course it didn’t, which is why they’re here now, asking the E-Team to do its thing.

A quick fix isn’t always in the cards which is one of the reasons I’m writing about this. The wheels turn slowly, and sometimes not at all, when it comes to travel insurance. Add a delay that may or may not be related to the weather, and you have today’s conundrum.

The Guenzas had booked a package at the Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, which included accommodations, resort fees and airfare on Delta Air Lines. They also bought insurance through CSA.

“We were to depart San Francisco on a Saturday morning with a stop in Los Angeles, and arrive at the resort late in the afternoon,” he remembers.

Didn’t happen. Instead, a storm forced their airline to reroute them. Their new route would fly them to Atlanta on a redeye and then Mexico City — a circuitous path that made them miss a day of their vacation. Instead of taking the new flight, they canceled their vacation.

“When we applied for reimbursement from CSA insurance for our out-of-pocket expense to Club Med for $3,740 and $130 in miscellaneous expenses, our claim was denied,” he says.

The reason: He says Delta didn’t list the correct reason for the flight delay.

“Delta said our flight was delayed due to crew-related issues,” he says. ” No mention of the obvious weather problems at all.”

Related story:   Her doctor grounded her, but why can the airline keep her money?

Our advocacy team asked to see the paper trail between Guenza and CSA. Here’s the form he would have filled out. The delay should fall under a “covered” reason in his policy. That includes “common carrier delays and/or cancellations resulting from adverse weather, mechanical breakdown of the aircraft, ship, boat or motor coach that you were scheduled to travel on, or organized labor strikes that affect public transportation.”

So something else is going on here. It’s possible CSA would have covered a hotel for the couple if they’d decided to continue with their vacation. But they canceled.

Our team recommended Guenza contact Delta and CSA to ask for a more detailed explanation. Our own research suggests there were no delays that affected flights to Atlanta or Los Angeles on the day he traveled, so there’s probably more to this story than we know.

A denial letter would certainly help clear things up.

Once Guenza knows why he’s been turned down, he can appeal to someone higher up at CSA. We list the names and numbers of CSA’s executives on the site. If that doesn’t work, I’m happy to jump in and assist.

There’s a bigger issue here, of course. CSA sold him a policy that left Guenza with the impression that he’d be protected. So why wasn’t he protected?

Should I take Jack and Sue Guenza's case?

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  • Charles Owen

    What they should have done when their flight was delayed was to call the travel insurance provider. They always include 800 numbers you can call during your trip and you will much more clearly know what your options are. While they may have decided to cancel, most travel insurance will not consider cancellation due to departure delays unless you lose at least 50% of the trip time. Had they called the provider, they may have been able to find them a faster way to get to the destination and they certainly would have reimbursed expenses for the delay.

  • Not building an airline buffer day into your schedule means missing prepaid resort time in event of trouble.

  • Bill___A

    I don’t know why they cancelled it. Yes, they would have got there late. It happens. It is difficult for an insurance company to figure out premiums if they have to pay out that much when someone does something like this. Maybe they could have gotten a one day refund or something. They should have probably made sure they used a travel agent and let the agent handle their options.

    I did vote no, because although it was sad they lost that money, I don’t think it was the resort’s or the insurance company’s fault.

  • Rebecca

    I’m not understanding why they cancelled the entire vacation? Instead of arriving late that afternoon, they get there the following morning, so they just decided not to go? I suspect this has something to do with it. In most cases, you have a responsibility to mitigate your damages.

  • AAGK

    You should take the case after they appeal it without success and supply the denial letters for the original claim and the appeal.
    Airlines refuse certain accommodations for crew time outs after a weather delay bc it links the the two as weather related events. It seems unfair for an insurance company to draw the opposite conclusion. The real reason for the delay exists somewhere. I may find the new routing too inconvenient as well. There are a few unique variables here and I’m interested in hearing what positions the various companies involved take.

  • Kristiana Lee

    This would be a slam dunk case if they got to the resort one day late and were asking their insurance to reimburse them for the missed day. Isn’t what they did akin to getting a dent in their car bumper and expecting their auto insurance to pay for a new car instead of just fixing the bumper?

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    The ‘mistake’ that the OP made is that they cancelled their trip without contacting the trip insurance company. For example, if you have a claim with your auto insurance, you won’t start repairs until the insurance company approved your claim.

    The few times that we had to use our travel insurance, the first thing that we did was to call the insurance company to review the situation, etc.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    Totally agree…nothing is perfect…we have added one to five days to our international tours to insure that weather delays or airline delays wont affect our trips.

  • sirwired

    I agree with the other commenters on how they should not have canceled the entire vacation because of one day’s delay. Insurance companies generally require you to minimize your damages, and canceling your whole trip because of a single delay is a bad idea. It is doubtful that even if the delay was weather instead of crew, that insurance would have covered more than one-day of their stay.

    However, it does bother me that they don’t cover “Any Common Carrier Delay”; I don’t understand why they do this. It’s true that weather and mechanical cover most delays, but they leave a lot of things out.

    I’m a big fan of trip insurance, and I always take out a policy, but it is frustrating that they don’t make some minor (and inexpensive) tweaks to provide better coverage.

  • Annie M

    Who cancels a whole vacation for a one day delay? Maybe that’s why the insurance company denied it. I bet the airline stayed that they rescheduled him and he declined the flights.

  • Charles Owen

    I fully understand adding a buffer day for cruises, where missing the cruise departure would be a big mess. But, I don’t understand why you would feel a need to add a buffer day for a resort trip, prepaid or not. If for some reason I am delayed, I get to the resort one day late. It’s not that big a deal. Adding a buffer day would mean flying to some exotic locale and staying in an airport hotel before moving on to a luxury resort the next day on the off chance your flight is delayed, something that has been very rare in our experience. Airlines seem to get us to islands and even Europe pretty much on time, but can’t seem to get us home on time a lot.

  • Pegtoo

    I tried this once late at night, wanting to verify my options for a flight cancellation causing a very long delay with the rebooked flights. There was no one at the insurance company who could definitively give me an answer at that hour. Very frustrating. The people who knew the policy only worked 9-5. I read the policy carefully and made a decision to purchase new (sooner) flights on another carrier. Luckily I was right, and we were covered.

  • Rebecca

    Not judging, what in my statement was judging? I was just pointing out that that’s probably why the insurance wasn’t covering the whole trip. The first day, that seems like it should be covered, but not the whole trip. As a general rule, you need to minimize your losses if you want to collect from someone.

  • CasaAlux

    I also fail to understand why they decided not to go at all. They should have taken the new flights, and then requested some compensation from their insurance company for the missed day. Who cancels their entire vacation because of a 12 ish hour delay?

  • Of course you would schedule one additional day at the resort if you could, provided the price is not prohibitive. What I mean is scheduling a vacation for which a first missed day does not badly affect the whole package. This would mean no excursions on the first full day, for example.

  • sirwired

    I don’t see what facts are missing. The article clearly states they’d be getting there only a day late. Unless they inexplicably only were going to stay a couple of days, canceling your whole trip because you are going to miss a single day of it is a terrible idea. Even if the insurance covered the delay, their reimbursement would have been limited to a single day.

  • sirwired

    But they just missed A SINGLE DAY, NOT THE WHOLE TOUR.

    Because I love car analogies: I drive my new Mustang off the lot, and promptly break off the side view mirror against my garage when I get home. I carefully document the damage. The next day, I have my new car hauled to the junkyard and crushed. I shouldn’t be surprised when I get a check for a new side-view mirror (minus deductible), even though I insured THE WHOLE CAR.

  • AAGK

    Fixing a bumper doesn’t repair the day you spent dealing with the rental and insurance and accident so it’s the same problem.

  • AAGK

    They chose to miss the trip. Insurance is meant to cover risk for unforseeable events. Had this couple told the insurance company they planned to cancel the trip and file a claim for any flight delay, the policy would have been much more expensive.

  • Lindabator

    THIS was NOT a tour – a simple hotel vacation, so one day missed is NOT the end of the world here!

  • Lindabator

    The problem here is the flight was listed as crew-related NOT weather-related delay, and this is NOT a covered reason for the policy — and unless there is a weather filing to prove this was inaccurate, he isn’t going to get anywhere

  • Lindabator

    actually, if they had used a reliable (TravelGuard, TravelEx) 3rd party policy, and CALLED the insurance company before deciding to cancel, they would have been aware of their options, and this would have gone much simpler. If they were my clients, I would have had them rerouted (easier) to their destination, and had them continue with the trip, making a claim for the lost time instead

  • Noah Kimmel

    good advice, didn’t know this before. Always good to try to get info and have a paper trail or something in place before making such a potentially expensive decision

  • Desk Jockey

    While standing at the ticket counter, I would have had the airline extend the trip by one day. Then call the tour operator & inform them of the day and time of arrival, and request the land portion be extended by one day. The airline will not charge a fee to make this change because it’s their issue(s) that caused the problem in the first place.

  • cscasi

    Do we know if the travel insurance would have refunded them the day missed because of the travel delay because of weather? No. because they decided to cancel the whole trip rather than just miss one day at the resort. Could have called the travel insurance company first and got the straight word before making the decision they did.

  • cscasi

    Obviously, not everyone here sees things the same way and that’s OK. People are entitled to state their thoughts and feelings about the subject at hand, whether or not everyone else agrees with them is not what matters here.