7 On Your Side: Should you get travel insurance?

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- It was the trip that never happened for one Pleasanton couple. They turned to 7 On Your Side for help with their travel insurance claim.

To get travel insurance or not - that's the question facing many of us as we plan our spring break and summer trips.

Violet Tornio still longs for the trip she may never take. Her planned vacation to Hawaii with her husband of 64 years had to be canceled on doctor's orders.

A recent stroke and pain in her leg made the risk of sustaining a blood clot in mid-flight too dangerous. It was a huge disappointment.

The couple booked their trip last June for November. They purchased the travel insurance and expected a full refund. But when they canceled, they learned part of their refund would come from the travel agency, which came right away.

The rest would have to come from Trip Mate, their travel insurer. "They sent me some forms to fill out. I filled them out and returned them. And nothing happened," Jack Tornio said.

Trip Mate then asked for more. "They asked for a doctor's note stating the reason why, in effect why we canceled," he said.

He submitted that note but the claim was denied. Jack eventually took his wife's advice and contacted 7 On Your Side.

He says that's when things started rolling. Trip mate told 7 On Your Side: "Trip Mate subsequently received additional documentation, not originally on file, stating a different reason for cancelation that was covered under the plan. Trip Mate is glad that we were able to resolve the claim in Mr. and Mrs. Tornio's favor."

So is travel insurance worth it?

Jeff Blykskal is senior editor of Consumer Reports. "Years ago, we kind of said you don't really need it. But now there's kind of an increasing need for it," he said.

Consumer Reports recommends buying it through a broker who offers multiple policies from a wide range of companies. The best policy is the one that gives you the most flexibility.

"That's why cancel for any reason policy is really your best option," Blyskal said.

The premium insurance policy is more expensive, but may give you peace of mind.

If the couple had made it to Hawaii, this is what Jack says he would have done. "I would have placed the lei across the neck and give her a big smooch."

Click here and here to see two insurance brokers recommended by Consumer Reports.
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