I've followed these forums for a while but rarely post. I know a lot of people on here travel up to go skiing often and usually book somewhere to stay. You are usually offered travel insurance (for a premium of 6% of your travel costs in my example) and I always thought it was a cool thing to have to protect me from the roads being dangerous and making it hazardous it to try and drive through a storm (I live in Boulder).
Well, I follow several weather blogs and saw a few days ago that this storm that is currently dumping on Colorado would probably drop a few feet in Boulder and make it very hard to drive back and forth daily like I normally do. Because of this, I decided to book a room so I could get the awesome powder skiing without the horrible road conditions. I was going to try and drive up during the beginning or before this storm hit. But, I knew the exact schedule of a storm is completely unpredictable, so I got travel insurance just in case it because too dangerous to drive up (it is normally the only way you can get a refund). Unfortunately for me, I learned today to NEVER get travel insurance to help with road conditions/adverse weather.
I drove from Boulder to A-basin this morning and it took almost 3 hours (normally takes 1hr 5min). On the way the roads were extremely hazardous (http://www.cotrip.org/). I have 4WD, snow tires, and am fairly competent at driving in snow. Yet, given this, I spun out once and was sliding all over the place. Many cars were stuck in the middle of the road, in the side road ditches, and I even saw a few wrecks.
About half way up, around Idaho Springs, I decided to stop and consider going back. I called the insurance company to try and get my money back because I have a friend who said I could crash at his place and the rest of the way looked really dangerous to drive through (granted they thought I was all the way back in Boulder). The insurance company, Vail Resorts Insurance, told me that unless every single possible road to get to Vail was CLOSED (from boulder) and that I could prove this fact, I probably would have to forfeit the entire cost of the hotel. Considering how dangerous the roads are and how many bad drivers are out there (I spun out because of a bad driver), this means possibly risking my life to drive from Boulder to Vail in a horrible storm or a 99% chance of forfeiting several hundred dollars. What a great choice travel insurance gives you. Props to Vail Resorts for putting its customers in that predicament (and as a college student, several hundred dollars is worth a lot). As a huge multimillion dollar company, I believe Vail Resorts should be more accommodating to their customers (especially considering I-70 has been closed since around 2pm eastbound from Vail to Golden, almost 85 miles of interstate highway) and try to keep the roads safe by not forcing people to make such a risky decision. By letting the customer use this travel insurance in these rare cases (how often does that much of I-70 get closed, never?), and making it clear a full refund will be granted, they will lose very little money in the large scheme of things (what is insurance for, shits and giggles?) and the customer will be saved much hardship (driving in those conditions was one of the most stressful events of my life).
Lastly, the hotel I am staying at, Lodge Towers, was very friendly. They offered to refund me tonight's charge even though it was against their policy. They told me I would need to try to get up here for tomorrow night but if the roads were still hazardous they would refund that night as well. So as a recommendation from someone who frequently books rooms in Summit/Eagle county, don't get Travel Insurance if you need it for road conditions. It will be nearly impossible to use even if the road conditions are horrendous.
Sorry for the rant, this just pissed me off and bad word of mouth is the only recourse I have.