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Friday, 10 January 2020
$100k bill dudded on Travel Insurance
It was supposed to be the cruise of a lifetime, but Gary and Sue McGinty found themselves stuck with a $100,000 bill after their pre-Christmas trip took a terrifying turn.
The couple had booked 26 days aboard the Sun Princess to celebrate their first year of retirement.
But just five days into the Asia cruise, Gary fell shockingly ill.
"I took a couple steps and realised that everything was just spinning," Mr McGinty told
A Current Affair
Gary McGinty and his wife Sue were left with a $100,000 debt after a medical emergency at sea. (A Current Affair)
The former pastor, who had been in good health, suddenly passed out, surrounded by blood.
"I'd vomited heaps of blood ... it was out of the blue, no warning, no nothing," he said.
Mrs McGinty immediately called the ship's hospital, fearing her husband may have burst a stomach ulcer.
Mr McGinty was rushed to the ship's hospital, where the captain and crew soon knew they had to get him off the ship.
He fell during a cruise on the Sun Princess. (A Current Affair)
However, the Sun Princess was between ports and the closest rescue team in Indonesia did not have a winch available to hoist Mr McGinty aboard.
The only option was to call in the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
"I hadn't really cried 'til then," Mrs McGinty said.
"I was numb, I guess, but when I saw that winch go up, that's when I started to cry."
Gary McGinty was airlifted off the ship. (A Current Affair)
There was no room for Mrs McGinty on the helicopter, so she had to wait three days before the ship reached Penang, where her son met her, and they rushed to Singapore to Mr McGinty's bedside.
They found doctors puzzled as to what caused the massive bleed.
"They said it was consistent with a ruptured ulcer but never found any ulcers," Mrs McGinty said.
"It was a small tear or a cut, and they said that can be consistent with vomiting."
Mr McGinty spent 10 days in hospital recovering - even making the Singapore newspapers with a visit from the air force crew that rescued him.
But now, the couple is in an insurance fight.
Mr McGinty purchased the cruise tickets using his American Express card, which had travel insurance.
But when Mrs McGinty tried to claim, while still on the boat, she was told otherwise.
Mr McGinty's credit card was due to expire just prior to the trip.
He called American Express and said a staff member helped him find a new card with lower fees to roll onto.
But American Express claims he cancelled the old card - wiping his insurance.
"Even if I had cancelled the card, I'd paid for the holiday on the card, which I expected they would honour even without the card, because I thought it was a contract," Mr McGinty said.
Sue McGinty had to wait days to see her husband. (A Current Affair)
But he claimed he never cancelled the card, and believes because it expired, he should still be covered.
Finder.com.au insurance expert Sophie Walsh said people should never assume they were covered with complimentary insurance through their credit card.
"The best thing you can do before you go overseas is get in touch with your bank," she said.
Gary McGinty was visited by the crew who had rescued him from the ship. (A Current Affair)
Overall, the McGinty's costs are expected to top $100,000 - including more than $70,000 for the air rescue.
"Dudded is most probably a good word," Mr McGinty said.
"Dudded, let down, disappointed in them."
He is undergoing further testing to find out what happened, and the couple hopes American Express will honour the original policy he had in place.
American Express maintains Mr McGinty did not hold an active card with travel insurance at the time of his trip
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