BOSTON (CBS) – There is a lot that can go wrong when planning a vacation. That is why many online booking sites offer travel insurance to protect your investment. But if you are not careful, you could end up spending money on something that isn’t much help.
It’s a lesson that John Moorman of Danvers learned the hard way when he booked six tickets for his family to travel to Washington, DC for a wedding.
“I purchased it through Travelocity and thinking that the wedding may get postponed or rescheduled, or canceled,” he told WBZ-TV.
It turns out, his hunch was right. The wedding was not going to happen.
“Thank goodness I purchased flight insurance,” Moorman recalls thinking at the time. “Now I’m going to get my money back.”
Or at least that is what he thought.
It turns out, the insurance that was recommended by the booking site during checkout really only covered medical issues.
“I was an attorney; this is what I do. I read the fine print. The way their website is set up, it’s very deceptive,” he said.
There are all kinds of similar complaints online from Travelocity customers.
One woman wrote: “This insurance is advertised in a misleading manner.”
Another disappointed traveler claimed: “The insurance is just another way to get money out of you.”
The founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, George Hobica is an expert when it comes to air travel. He says there are almost always loopholes in travel insurance and that these policies are money makers for airlines and travel companies.
His advice? Find a third party carrier that deals specifically in trip insurance.
“There is insurance called ‘cancel for any reason insurance,'” he explained. “It is more expensive and it has some loopholes of its own, but it will usually cover you for any reason.
When we contacted Travelocity a spokesperson told WBZ they just started testing a new option which includes that “cancel for any reason insurance.” If consumers like it, the company plans to make it more widely available.
But it wasn’t available when Moorman booked his trip. He believes the option he had was deceptive, so he’s working with his firm to pursue possible legal action.
“It just makes you feel ripped off,” he said.
Some credit cards also offer some protections, so be sure to check with your bank, you might be able to skip the insurance all together.