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Call Kurtis: Travel Insurance Won’t Cover Cancellations Due To Unrest In Ukraine

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Kurtis Ming Kurtis Ming
Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — Alli Ferrell admits it wasn’t too hard of a decision — but she’ll be the first to tell you how disappointing it was.

“It does break my heart that I might not see my grandmother again,” said Ferrell, a busy mother to a 4-year-old son.

Many of Ferrell’s relatives, including her ailing grandmother, still live in Ukraine, where Ferrell was born.

Now an American, Ferrell said she wanted her grandmother to meet her son.

Ferrell bought travel insurance for her trip when she booked it last fall — just months before protests and deadly clashes broke out in Kiev, where her flight would arrive.

In addition, the U.S. Department of State warned Americans “to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine.”

She refused to make the trip or put her son in harm’s way.

“Just the fact they’re willing to open fire on their own people,” she said, “yet alone somebody whose coming from another country.”

Ferrell filed a claim with her travel insurance company to get her $2,200 plane tickets reimbursed, thinking she was covered, but the company denied her claim because “war” and “civil disorder or unrest” are not covered.

Travel agent Trudy Flores said that’s pretty standard in travel insurance policies.

“There are certain things that insurance just won’t cover, and war is one of them,” she said.

Flores said travelers have three basic options that’ll allow refunds when you fly.

The first is normal travel insurance, which generally costs about 15 percent of your trip, but only covers certain things like medical emergencies.

The second option, for about 25 percent of your trip cost, is insurance you can cancel for any reason — but this type of insurance only refunds about half of the trip cost.

And third, you can pay as much as double for a refundable ticket from the airline, which will let you get all your money back no matter what.

“We all didn’t have the foresight that the Ukraine would be a problem here today,” Flores said.

The airline Lufthansa told Call Kurtis it’s letting passengers with tickets to Ukraine rebook once for free through July.

Ferrell never canceled her ticket before the May flight or tried to rebook.

After we contacted the Lufthansa, they agreed to refund the full cost of the tickets to Ferrell.

“I hope one day I can make it over there and see my family,” Ferrell said.

Many airlines will give you credit toward another flight, if you pay their cancellation fee which usually range from $100 to $200.

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