Why travel insurance may not always protect you

Woman misses cruise and can't get her money back

Lee Ann Luipold was looking forward to a getaway, a Royal Caribbean cruise of the New England and Nova Scotia coastline. 

But despite leaving half a day of extra time to get to the ship, she said a flat tire turned her early morning Delta flight to Boston into an afternoon flight.

"They told us it would be a two-hour delay, and we ended up being almost two hours late into Boston," Luipold said. 

She missed the cruise.

"Delta put us up for the night and flew us home the next day," she said.

Luipold thought it was no problem. She had purchased trip cancelation insurance. 

Insurance denies her claim

But when Luipold applied for a refund, the company denied her claim, saying she could only get her money back because of a death or a hospital stay.

We contacted Royal Caribbean. Owen Torres, the company's corporate communications director, said Luipold purchased only the lowest level insurance, not cancel-for-any-reason insurance.

The best they could offer her was a 75 percent credit toward a future cruise, he said. 

Don't let this happen to you

If you are planning a cruise, and worry about what could happen if your flight is delayed:

  • Purchase trip insurance that includes illness or flight delays.
  • Fly to your port a day early, if possible, just in case your flight is canceled.

Luipold will do that from now on, remembering the dream cruise she missed.

"The airplane flew over the cruise ship, and everyone was like, 'Oh, there's your cruise.' And we said, 'Well, we can't jump out of the plane,'" she said.

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