Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.
DENVER -- You buy travel insurance just in case you have to call off your trip, but if you call it off because of coronavirus, Contact7 found your travel insurance may not help at all.
Kathy Stinson and her Colorado family were excited about a trip to their home state of Michigan this summer.
"We all live in Colorado, but we are from Michigan," said Stinson. "I have two sisters and a brother, and we all have two kids. So it's like, 18 people that go and stay in this house."
The family booked a vacation rental on VRBO last year, and when the site asked if they wanted trip cancellation protection, they paid up, just in case.
Then, the pandemic hit, and they decided to cancel the trip.
"As it got closer, we decided it just wasn't a good idea to travel at all still under stay-at-home orders. Both my parents, my mom is 75, my dad is 81, and they're at risk. They both have health issues."
But when they asked for their $964 deposit back, CSA Travel Protection, now called Generali Global Assistance, denied the claim, telling them that quarantine is covered, but stay-at-home orders are not.
A Generali Global assistance spokesman sent Contact7 a statement, saying in part: "The travel arrangements were canceled out of 'fear or travel,' which unfortunately is not a covered event under standard travel insurance policies."
"I thought that was crazy!" said Stinson.
Contact7 found a proposed class action lawsuit against the insurer out of California, stating the company told one customer that because he purchased the policy after January 29, the coronavirus outbreak was considered a "forseeable event" and was therefore not covered.
"For us, it's just not covered," said Stinson. "But there's another reason they're not covering other people, so that seems a little suspicious."
The U.S. Travel Insurance Association says many insurers will only cover coronavirus if the policy was bought before January 21. And unless you bought a policy that includes "Cancellation for Any Reason," you may not be covered.
Contact7 found Generali has more than 370 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and after we started making calls, their rating was changed from A+ to Not rated, stating "this profile is currently being updated."
"That's part of the reason I was hoping to get the word out," said Stinson, "because I think there's a lot of people who are in the same place that I am who, in good faith, booked a vacation, and to be extra careful booked travel insurance just to be sure in case anything happened. And then something did happen and the travel insurance is not going to help at all."
Generali Global Assistance did offer Stinson a voucher for insurance on a future trip, but she said after the denial, a voucher is not worth much to her.
"Because if they found a reason not to cover this, I don't know what other reason that they would also deny," she said.