Troubleshooter

Beachgoers hopeful for refunds

Monday, September 26, 2011
Highway 12

Officials survey the damage to route 12 on Hatteras Island, NC., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Triangle families, who didn't have access to their rental homes despite having travel insurance, found that the issue came down to the small print in their travel insurance policy.

The clause in the Travel Guard policy affected families who rented beach houses through Surf and Sounds Realty.

Angela Britt said she was told by a Surf or Sound representative that there was a 30-day clause in the policy and that it would start the day of the hurricane evacuation date, meaning her rental would not be covered.

The clause states the policy only pays out within 30 days after the hurricane makes the rental home inaccessible. The Britt's rented a six bedroom home in Salvo, one of the beach towns that remain inaccessible to tourists since Hurricane Irene washed out Highway 12. The temporary bridge connecting the highway is not finished.

Britt says she was told despite having travel insurance, and not being able to access the rental, they would be out all of the monies paid since the policy was based on when the evacuation was ordered and not when Highway 12 washed out, which was August 27.

The Britts were scheduled to check in to their beach rental on September 25.

"It's $1,000 given for a service we didn't receive, and our hands are tied," Britt said. "There is really nothing we can do."

ABC11 reached out to Surf or Sound on behalf of Britt. No one from Surf or Sound Realty ever got back to ABC11, but a representative with Travel Guard did and looked into the issue. She stated Travel Guard decided to pay the claim based on the Britt's coverage and that every claim made to them is reviewed on an individual basis against the purchased policy.

Shortly after the Britts' story aired, ABC11 heard from more than a half dozen Surf or Sound customers, who said they also were checking in the same weekend as the Britts but were told their rental wasn't covered.

One viewer from Fuquay Varina, who rented a house in Waves, was out $2,200. Another frustrated Surf or Sound customer had reserved two weeks and said they were also out more than $2,000.

A few days after the ABC11 story, some of the viewers who contacted us say they received promising news. Travel Guard is honoring both the August 25 and the August 27 dates when considering claims against the policy purchased. The rep added every claim is reviewed individually on its own merit before a decision is made, as these claims will be too.

Those Surf or Sound Realty customers who were supposed to check in to their rental the weekend of September 24, say they're hopeful their rental will be covered under their Travel Guard policy.

For those who didn't buy travel insurance, they unfortunately are out their rental and their money.

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hurricane irene, abc11 troubleshooter, troubleshooter, diane wilson
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