VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (WVEC) -- A family vacation to North Carolina's Outer Banks can set a family back thousands of dollars, and it is usually money spent up front to put a hold on lodging.

The tens of thousands of people who were forced to leave because of the power outage may be out of luck in getting a refund unless purchased vacation or travel insurance.

Connie Bowen is a travel agent with AAA Tidewater, Virginia and she said it is wise to purchase insurance while you are planning a vacation, and not wait until something untimely comes up.

"If they purchased before this happened yeah, if they wait until it happens then try to purchase the insurance that's not going to work," said Bowen.

Bowen said many times the insurance will cover the vacationer and his or her traveling companion.

"I had a situation that my father passed away I was traveling with my best friend, not related to my best friend at all but it was covered because she was a traveling companion," stated Bowen.

However, 13News Now did talk to a Portsmouth man named Jack Harvey who said he did purchase travel vacation insurance before he and his family went to the Outer Banks; they were affected by the outage and had to evacuate.

Harvey said when he called the insurance company about a refund, the agency told him he would not be reimbursed because the outage was "not an act of God." He was told he could still try to get a refund but chances are he is out $4,000.