Travel insurance worth it? Woman diagnosed with cancer can’t get refund

8 On Your Side

Susan and Waine Risley booked the cruise of a lifetime in January. The next week, Susan was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer and told treatment needed to be aggressive and begin quickly. 

“We were both pretty shattered,” Susan Risley said. “It made no sense to us that was the case.”

When the Risleys booked their trip and paid nearly $9,000, the Norwegian Cruise Line ship was set to embark in just three weeks. So the couple, who have cruised for years, decided the extra $700 for trip insurance wasn’t worth the money. 

“We had started doing some shopping to upgrade our wardrobes, and I was looking at shore excursions,” Susan said. 

JOIN US LIVE ON FACEBOOK: Shannon will talk with a travel expert about the needs of insurance. Make sure to ask your questions and join the conversation.

“We were going. There wasn’t a reason to take out the insurance. It seemed like a waste of money to me.”

Susan recalls her doctor said, “You cannot go on that cruise. I’ll write you a medical letter. I’ll do whatever I need to do to help you, but there’s no way you’re going to be out of this country.”

Suddenly, Susan regretted the decision not to purchase travel insurance, but thought the cruise line could offer some kind of help, with medical documentation.

She was shocked by the cruise line’s reaction. The representative was short.

“She said, ‘Absolutely not. You didn’t buy the insurance. You don’t buy the insurance, you get nothing out of it,'” Susan recalled. “It was hardcore. ‘Nope, sorry, you’re out of luck.’ Boom. Bye-bye.”

Not only did NCL not offer any money back or allow her to give the trip to a friend, Susan claims the room was quickly rebooked. 

“Someone else was in our special suite on that cruise so basically NCL was able to double dip by getting more money by booking that room.”

In Susan’s case, if she had purchased standard trip insurance, she would have received 100 percent of her money back. 

Without travel insurance, cruise lines typically don’t offer any reimbursement for a cancellation. But is trip insurance always worth it?

Believe it or not, travel experts say it’s not always a good decision to fork over the extra money for insurance. Sometimes, the gamble may actually be worth it. 

But as Susan’s case tragically highlights, when you lose, it hurts.

8 On Your Side’s Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken is digging into this complicated issue and crunching the numbers. 

Watch Shannon’s special report, Thursday at 5 p.m. on News Channel 8.

Shannon Behnken reports

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