Maui visitors look to travel insurance, credit card protections for canceled trips

ByMichael Finney KGO logo
Friday, August 18, 2023
Travelers look to travel insurance, credit cards for canceled trips
Visitors to Maui are canceling their trips and looking to travel insurance and their credit card companies for refunds.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Edwin Sanchez and his wife had a big trip planned for Maui, then the current wildfire crisis hit. Sanchez cancelled his trip. His airline giving him credit, but his Airbnb host said "no" to a refund, and Airbnb backed her up.

"The owner said that because we are supposed to go to Kihel," Sanchez says, "the owner was saying that Kihel was not affected by the fire."

Edwin isn't alone. Many would-be visitors to Maui are struggling to get refunds. Which is why's Meghan Walch says travelers should consider insuring their vacations.

MORE: Maui is in crisis and you're booked for a visit. Do you still go, or try for a refund?

In the wake of the Maui fires, tourists are still booked to visit in the coming months -- but wonder if they should go, or cancel.

"If you are making a financial investment, you never know what's going to happen between now, and when you take your trip," Walch says.

Syndicated travel columnist and consumer activist Ed Perkins says before buying read the fine print. "Most travel insurance is what they call 'named peril' insurance, which means it covers only the contingencies that are specified in the fine print," Perkins says.

Senior industry analyst at Ted Rossman says you may already have travel insurance through your credit card. "Even some no-annual-fee cards have these," Rossman says. "Certainly, if you're paying something like a $95 annual fee you probably qualify, and then often the best perks are those really high-end cards. AmEx Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Capital One Venture X -- they tend to have even more generous benefits."

MORE: Travelers wonder what their options are as wildfires devastate Maui

And if all else fails, contact 7 On Your Side.

"So my wife said, I think we can go to Michael Finney, and that's what I did. So I emailed you and thank you so much for helping me out with this situation," Sanchez agrees.

At our request, Airbnb looked into the rental and says the booking is covered under the extenuating circumstances policy. Sanchez got a full refund.

There is a travel insurance coverage called "cancel for any reason" -- those with that coverage are in the very best shape, but it does cost more.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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