Travel Insurance: Is It Worth It?

Jessica and Colby Reneau have tried to have a baby for a long time.

After years of waiting, the couple decided they needed a getaway, so they purchased an 8-day cruise.

"We've taken Carnival in the past and just felt comfortable with Carnival, and decided to just go ahead and book through them again," said Colby Reneau.

The couple insured their trip through AIG Travel. Just a month later, the couple learned they were finally pregnant.

They checked with their doctor to see if they could still travel to the Caribbean.

"Because there's a lot of news stories about Zika and I wasn't sure about all that, you know, so I wanted to talk to her about it," said Jessica Reneau.

The doctor was completely against the trip because of travel warnings of Zika infections in the area.

After learning the virus was linked to birth defects the couple was now certain about canceling the trip.

They filed insurance claims for their flights and the cruise.

"We heard back from American [Airlines] travel insurance Alliance less than a week later that the policy was gonna be paid out in full," said Jessica Reneau.

But the cruise insurance claim took a lot longer. When they finally did hear back, "Our claim had been denied because fear of the Zika virus was not a legitimate reason to cancel your trip. I didn't understand how me trying to do what's right by our unborn child was not a legitimate reason to cancel anything, let alone a cruise," said Jessica Reneau.

They filed an appeal online-sending the doctor's note and a link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website but got denied again. 

AIG Travel told NBC 5 Responds: "As a general rule, under our U.S. Policies: Trip cancellation for concern or fear of travel associated with sickness, epidemic, or pandemic is not covered."

"We feel like we paid for a policy that at the end of the day, it was a waste of money," said Jessica Reneau.

Fortunately the Reneau's were able to convince Carnival Cruise Line to refund them for the trip despite the insurance company's decision.

But that $218 they paid for insurance, they're not getting that back.

"We paid for a service, for the peace of mind, and at the end of the day we didn't get that at all."

So is travel insurance worth it? Here's what you should remember:

  • Most travel experts still recommend that you buy insurance. It just makes sense for longer, expensive trips. But it's important to know what's included in your insurance package and what isn't.
  • Bad weather, pregnancy or childbirth usually aren't included in the plan.
  • Each insurance company handles viruses like Zika, differently.
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