Is travel insurance really worth it? Find out exactly what your policy covers

MESA - Travel insurance is supposed to be the safety net that protects you and your money, when the unexpected happens on a trip.

Policies normally include things like severe weather, illness, and terrorism.

But Richard and Barbara Cassity of Mesa found that there are some things that even an insurance policy won't protect you from.

After weeks of planning, their cruise to the Panama Canal was finally happening.

And the one thing they refused to skimp on was travel insurance.

"I have some health issues," said Barbara. "I wanted to make sure that I had really, really good insurance."

But it wasn't illness that would take them off course. It was a bird.

"The airline tells us a bird hit the inbound flight, and that they were going to cancel the connecting flight," said Barbara.

And they couldn't find a flight that would get them to their port of call in time to set sail.

It was disappointing, but they figured their insurance policy would reimburse them.

Barbara says the insurance company Allianz Global Assistance instructed her to file two claims.

"They paid the one that was like 70 some dollars," said Barbara

But Barbara say the second claim--worth $2,400--was denied.

"Really I was surprised because all of the occurrences, we had no way of changing anything that happened," said Barbara.

It seemed to Barbara that the reason for the approved claim should have applied to the claim that was denied too.

Allianz spokesman Daniel Durazo wrote in part:

"Travel insurance provides coverage for the most common circumstances a consumer may encounter that may cause them to cancel or interrupt their trip, such as illness or injury; legal obligations; homes and destinations becoming uninhabitable; transportation services canceled due to natural disasters, severe weather, labor strikes or FAA mandates; terrorism; layoffs and more.  Unfortunately, a bird strike is not a "covered reason" that would trigger trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage."

He added that the smaller claim was paid in error.

The Cassity's believe odds were against them from the beginning.

"It seems to be that there are very specific words written in their insurance policy. That if you don't meet exactly their criteria, they're going to deny your claim," said Barbara.

She's right. Many travel insurance policies--including the Cassity's are "named perils policies." That means if a specific event is not named on the list, then you're out of luck.

While there's no way to determine exactly what event will cause you to file a claim, it's always a good idea to read over what is and is not covered in a policy before you buy it to make sure it's worth your money.

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