TAMPA BAY — St. Petersburg retirees Alan and Jessica Kapell have traveled around the world for the last three decades. The avid cruisers say they never leave home without travel insurance.
“We've never taken a cruise without having insurance because everything and anything can happen,” Alan told ABC Action News.
And for 30 years they’ve never had an issue with a claim, until their planned trip was canceled and they tried to get reimbursed.
The couple had purchased a week-long cruise around the Caribbean last fall and were set to sail out of Port Canaveral the day after Christmas.
But in December Alan suffered a debilitating back problem and his doctor grounded him from the trip. Alan said the condition prevents him from walking without pain.
By January, the Kapells said they’d filed everything needed to process the insurance claim. Then they waited. January came and went and so did February. Alan said he tried calling and emailing the customer service number for Nationwide but received nothing more than an email stating the company was experiencing a very high volume of claims.
Tammy Levent, President of Elite Travel in Clearwater, understands travel insurers are busy as travel hits post pandemic highs. She advises checking out online reviews before choosing a travel protection plan. “You have to research before you book with anyone to make sure they pay claims,” Levent said.
After two months of waiting on his insurance money, the Kapells made a call for action to Jackie Callaway, who in turn reached out to Nationwide.
Alan Kapell said that’s when he got a call telling him everything had been finalized.”
In this email to the Kappels a Nationwide travel claims customer service staffer stated: “We sincerely apologize for the delayed response and for the email that you received in error on February 10, 2022. Your claim was not approved at that time however, your review was completed today and payment was approved in the amount of $2074.07.”
Two checks totaling just over $2,070 – the cost of the cruise – arrived in the Kapells mailbox in late March.
If you run into trouble with any insurance claim the state of Florida has ahelpline run by Florida's Department of Financial Services.