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Travel insurance paid off for a Brooklyn couple caught up in flight delays and cancellations, but only after the New York State Insurance Department prodded their insurance company to take a second look at their situation.

The couple were among the thousands of travelers affected by last summer’s volcanic ash clouds in Europe. They had flown to Dublin where they were supposed to catch a connecting flight to Barcelona for the start of a Mediterranean cruise.

The connecting flight was delayed and then cancelled. So, they took alternate air and train transportation, first to London, then to Paris and finally to Nice, where they caught up with their ship after missing two days of the cruise.

When they returned home, the couple filed a claim under the travel insurance policy they bought before their trip. They wanted to get paid for the part of the cruise they missed and out-of-pocket expenses they ran up for the rebooked airline flights and train travel needed to get them to their ship mid-cruise.

The insurance company sent them a check for around $1,300, covering costs only for parts of the cruise and transportation they had missed but had “pre-paid” before leaving home. The insurer declined to reimburse them for their additional expenses on the basis that the policy didn’t cover out-of-pocket expenses that were not pre-paid.

“We disagree with this judgment since the interruption of our pre-paid air fare was the reason for our nightmare vacation and for our subsequent expenses,” they wrote the Insurance Department.

The Department’s Consumer Services Bureau looked into the case and contacted the insurer, which ultimately reversed course and agreed to pay the couple a total of $3,000, covering many of their out-of-pocket expenses.

"This case is an example of how an insurance company can provide great customer service. In honoring the claim, this insurer looked at the big picture and agreed with the couple that the reason for the problem was the fact that the pre-paid flight was delayed and then postponed,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.

The couple’s policy featured trip cancellation and interruption coverage. Travel insurance is typically available with a variety of other choices. These can include such features emergency medical care/transportation coverage, or even lost luggage coverage. Consumers should always read and understand policy terms and limitations before buying travel insurance.

Consumers should contact their insurance company, agent or broker to discuss their specific insurance needs. They should also feel free to contact the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736 if they need further help. Additional information is available on the Department’s website,


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