Angela Britt said she thought she found the perfect beach rental house for her family through Surf or Sound Realty.
In June, Britt reserved the six bedroom home in the beach town of Salvo for the last week of September.
"Strong language in the lease that says you need travel insurance in case there is a hurricane and so we said sure, we had travel insurance last year and I think you're crazy if you don't have travelers insurance if you're booking a beach house in September," Britt said.
The weekend of August 27, Hurricane Irene hit and washed out Highway 12, the only access to their beach rental.
"We really weren't worried at all, because we had travelers insurance," Britt said.
Since the temporary bridge connecting Highway 12 is still not done, there is still no tourist access to the tri-villages on the Outer Banks, which includes towns of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo - where the Britt's rental is.
They filed a claim with their travel insurance, Travel Guard, and waited. They also called their realty company Surf or Sound to check on the status.
"She had heard there is a 30-day clause in the travels insurance and it would start the day of the evacuation date which would end on the 23rd, so we would not be getting paid for a check in date that is after the 23rd of September," Britt said.Her family is scheduled to check in on the 25th.
Britt said she was not aware of the 30-day clause, but it is in small print in the travel insurance that states the policy only pays out within 30 days after the hurricane makes the rental home inaccessible.
ABC11 reached out to Surf or Sound, but no one returned the call.
On their website, they do acknowledge that guests with insurance who had reservations for vacations between 8/20 and 9/18 have been able to file claims with the insurance company for refunds, but for those guests who have reservations for stays more than 30 days from the evacuation order are not able to process their insurance claims.
"It's $1,000 given for a service we didn't receive and our hands are tied there is really nothing we can do," Britt said.
ABC11 reached out to Travel Guard, the insurance company and questioned when the 30 days starts - when the evacuation was ordered or actually, when Highway 12 washed out, which was on the 27th.
Since the Britt's rental starts on September 25, their insurance claim would fall within the 30 days, and they would get a refund. A representative with Travel Guard said she would look into it, and the Britt's got good news, their rental is covered under the claim and they're getting a refund.
Britt said she couldn't be happier but has learned a big lesson.
"I would be careful and find out up front what loop holes are in the travel insurance," she said.
In this case, the insurance policy was several pages long with a lot of fine print. Take the time to read it, as even though you have insurance, you still might not be protected.
A rep with Travel Guard said they 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.
Britt said when she got the call from Travel Guard, the rep told her it was because they determined the 30 days would start from the day Highway 12 washed out instead of when the evacuation was ordered.
Britt also said they're still going on vacation, but through another rental company and a house they found at the last minute in Nags Head.