If you spend a little time with Karen Bellessa, chances are, you're going to hear about Sam.
"He is my only son. I'm a single mom and it's always been us," she said.
The mother-son duo planned a trip to Southern California later this month, during winter break.
But Bellessa's vacation plans were later compromised after massive wildfires in Southern California.
Bellessa's son, Sam, has had asthma since fifth grade.
Even with the fires out, she feared the aftermath would be too much for Sam's lungs to handle.
She said her son's doctors agreed, stating "It is not in best interest or medically advised that he goes to California."
Bellessa said she filed a claim with her travel insurance company, AIG Travel Guard, but the claim was denied.
So, Bellessa said she submitted another claim, which included notes from her son's primary care doctor and lung specialist, but that claim was also denied.
"I made phone calls. I asked to speak to supervisors. I was at a dead end. I really didn't know where to go."
But then, Bellessa remembered she had NBC 5 Responds on her side.
We reviewed her trip cancellation policy and line one instantly stood out.
It essentially states that a traveling family member is covered if his or her doctor restricts them from going on the trip.
I brought this specific line to the travel insurance company's attention, and that same day, it responded.
"I received a phone call from the travel insurance saying that my claim should have never been denied, and they sent me a check and that they were sending me a check for full payment," Bellessa said.
The following week, she received a check for $860.
"I don't know what you said but… I'm just so grateful," Bellessa said.
AIG Travel Guard told us that travelers must provide all information relevant to their claim, including medical documentation at the time they file.
Bellessa said she eventually sent the doctor's notes, and still got denied, so she doesn't think this would have been resolved without our help.
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