Why won't my insurance pay for the trip I missed due to injury?

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Question:

I was injured in a mountain climbing accident a week before I was due to leave on a two-week tour of "The Best of Elvis," and I spent the following weeks in the hospital. I had purchased trip cancellation insurance, but the company says the cancellation isn't covered and they won't reimburse me for my losses. Is this legal?

Answer:

It may be a rip-off, but if you check the fine print of your trip cancellation insurance, exceptions to coverage are probably stated in the policy. Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you for any prepaid, nonrefundable expenses when you are forced to cancel your trip because of an unforeseen accident, illness, or other event.

The key here is the word "unforeseen." Now, I know you weren't planning to fall off that mountain -- but many trip cancellation policies figure that if you engage in a high-risk activity such as mountain climbing or skydiving, then you should foresee the prospect of injuring yourself. (The same rule goes for people who have pre-existing conditions like chronic back problems -- the back spasm that causes them to cancel their trip would not be considered "unforeseen.")

Check your policy to see if mountain climbing accidents are excluded. If they are, I'm sad to say you'll have to consider the cost of your trip as a contribution to Mr. Presley's memory.

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