Help! My Tour Got Canceled but Travel Insurance Won’t Pay

The problem: Their trip was not technically “interrupted,” since they spent all 18 nights aboard. Several times in my conversations with insurance executives I heard the phrase “You’re not covered for loss of enjoyment,” but I imagined this applying to a week of rain at a Caribbean resort, not an Antarctic cruise that never made it to Antarctica.

I also heard from a reader named Alan, of Vaughan, Ontario, about a nightmarish return from Vancouver to Toronto during last Christmas season’s storms. After three WestJet flights were canceled and another delayed, all because of the weather, the next flight they were booked on was canceled because of a crew shortage, and he and his wife were stuck in Calgary overnight. Alan had paid for his trip with an HSBC credit card that offered travel insurance through Assurant.

The next day, with no word from WestJet on when they could fly, they called Assurant, which told them it would cover an Air Canada flight home. Alan filed claims for hotel expenses from WestJet and reimbursement for the flight from Assurant. WestJet rejected the hotel request, and the letter it provided Alan in order to file a claim with Assurant mischaracterized at least two of the cancellations and focused on the crew shortage of the final flight — a situation not covered by insurance.

A spokeswoman for WestJet, Madison Kruger, said the airline had erroneously rejected the hotel claim and would pay. Linda Recupero, a spokeswoman for Assurant, which administers the HSBC policy, said that she could not comment on the case, but that the company has been in touch with Alan to help with future steps.

In another case of snarled communication, Jacki of Englewood, Colo., tested positive for Covid and was denied boarding on a Greek Islands cruise in May 2022, a situation clearly covered under the trip cancellation policy provided by her Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. But when Chase’s third-party administrator tried to verify that the cruise line had not reimbursed her for the $11,000 cruise, they were told she’d gotten a $250 refund somewhere along the way. Jacki was not informed of this mix-up until nearly a year later. She wrote to me with the subject line “Insurance stand-off.”

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