Mundelein couple says travel insurance company wouldn't pay claim after disaster forced trip cancellation

MUNDELEIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Is travel insurance worth the money? One Mundelein couple says they were out $1,500 and when their travel insurance didn't back them up, they contacted ABC7 I-Team Consumer Investigator Samantha Chatman.

The couple booked a trip to the Philippines to visit family, but right before their trip, a volcano erupted in their hometown, causing mass evacuations.

Fortunately, the couple had travel insurance. Unfortunately, the company was not willing to give this couple a refund.

Christina Obillo and her husband Fermo have lived in the United States for decades now, but every year they make time to go back to the Philippines.

They booked their flights through Expedia for about $1,400 and purchased flight protection insurance through AIG Travel.

"We always get travel insurance because you're not sure what's going to happen," said Christina said.

A few days before their trip, something did happen. A volcano eruption caused a "total evacuation" of nearly a million people. The couple's hometown was a part of that evacuation order.

"They put the whole town in lockdown," Christina said. "It's so scary because you not sure whether there will be more eruptions or whether those people are safe."

The couple says they filed an insurance claim with AIG Travel and not long after they received this denial letter.

"I was literally mad," Christina said.

The couple says according to an AIG representative, their flight wasn't interrupted and since they were flying into Manila they could technically still make their flight.

"This is a natural disaster, so what's the use of going to Manila if we can't go to our final destination," Christina said.

They said they couldn't afford to lose $1,400, but couldn't visit their hometown because of the devastation.

They reached to the ABC7 I-Team who then reached out to AIG Travel. Later that day, the couple said AIG Travel told them their claim should have been approved and that following day they received a check for $1,400.

"Thank you very much Samantha, you are the best. Channel 7 is the number 1, always number 1!" Fermo said.

ABC7 heard back from AIG Travel. They didn't explain why the couple's claim was denied in the first place, but did say, "AIG works diligently to address customer claims in a responsible and timely manner. We have expedited payment to Ms. Obillo and are pleased that this matter has been resolved."

Many people are planning spring break trips and may be wondering of travel insurance is really worth it. Tuesday, Chatman speaks with a travel expert who breaks down everything you need to know about travel insurance.
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