Traveler has trouble collecting insurance

July 15, 2009 7:56:12 PM PDT
Travel insurance can be a fairly low cost safeguard in case you have to cancel your vacation, but it wasn't so easy for one woman who had to miss her trip and still couldn't collect the insurance.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

Africa Dy and her husband have traveled the world, visiting hundreds of places on four continents. A world map is covered with red dots marking all the places they've visited, but there's one important spot that still has no mark.

The Dys always wanted to visit the Holy Land, but were worried about violence in the Middle East. Then they discovered Seed Faith Foundation Tours of Saratoga. The company was offering a guided tour through places like Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth.

"I wanted to see the footsteps where Jesus Christ had walked and where he was buried; it's time because I've been holding it for many years," Africa Dy said.

The tour was reasonably priced -- $2,900 per person, including travel insurance.

So the Dys paid up, and then it happened.

Africa Dy began having terrible headaches. Doctors diagnosed a brain aneurism and they said she was not to travel.

"Part of me said, 'oh my God, this is the end of me, I have to go for my pilgrimage first,'" Dy said.

But the doctors said, 'surgery first,' so Dy canceled her trip. She invoked her travel insurance to get a refund. The tour director promised the money back, but didn't say when.

"'Just be patient, you'll get your money back,' I said, 'you know, but what is the time, you know we are talking about big money,'" Dy said.

Weeks later, Dy came safely through her surgery, but she still didn't have her trip refund.

"She should have had her money 30 days from the date that she said she had to cancel," travel attorney Al Anolik said.

Anolik says sellers of travel are required by law to give timely refunds.

"Thirty days means 30 days, not 'I'm pretty busy right now,'" Anolik said.

But after four months passed, Dy still had no refund and she was getting nervous. The tour operator had gone overseas and told Dy she'd have to wait a little longer.

"I said, 'I don't want it to go any longer,' and then I always see Michael Finney helping people," Dy said.

So Dy called and 7 On Your Side contacted the Seed Faith Foundation.

The company said it had always intended to refund her money as soon as it completed its tour overseas, apologized for the delay and within days, Dy had a check.

"I was given a second life; I'm really glad, thank you Channel seven for helping me," Dy said.

If you do buy travel insurance, make sure you know what it covers. For example, some won't pay for cancelations due to pre-existing medical conditions, so read the policy carefully.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments