Do You Need Cruise Travel Insurance? And Which to Choose

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When planning your dream cruise, one of the decisions you’ll face is whether or not to purchase travel insurance. You might not think cruise travel insurance is necessary, but it is there for you when the unexpected happens.

Cruise travel insurance policies protect you against unforeseen events. Coverage can include trip cancellations, missed flights, lost luggage, medical emergencies, or travel delays. Insurance provides a safeguard and peace of mind during your voyage.

Weighing the potential risks and benefits will help determine the level of coverage that best suits your needs.

Do You Need Cruise Travel Insurance?

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I always recommend purchasing cruise travel insurance when you go on a cruise vacation. I hope you won’t need it, but cruise travel insurance is a safety net covering unforeseen events that could derail your vacation plans.

You wouldn’t want a flight delay, illness, or baggage loss to spoil your adventure at sea.

Typical travel insurance policies don’t cover cruise-specific hiccups. That’s why you need cruise-specific travel insurance when you go on a cruise ship.

Cruise travel insurance plans cover things like a missed port of call or onboard medical emergencies.

Travel insurance isn’t a requirement, but it provides peace of mind, letting you enjoy the high seas knowing you’re protected against a host of potential travel disruptions.

What Does Cruise Insurance Cover?

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It’s essential to know your insurance coverage when planning a cruise vacation. Cruise insurance covers several things that you won’t need on other holidays.

Cruise insurance policy coverage varies. Below is a breakdown of items cruise insurance covers:

  • Medical Coverage: Should you require medical attention while on the voyage, your policy generally offers emergency medical coverage for ailments and injuries. Be aware that pre-existing medical conditions may require additional clauses to secure coverage.
  • Trip Cancellation: If unforeseen circumstances, like illness or severe weather, force you to cancel your trip before departure, this aspect of your policy can reimburse prepaid, non-refundable expenses.
  • Trip Interruption: If you need to cut your cruise short due to emergencies at home or unexpected travel bans, trip interruption coverage helps you recover lost trip costs and extra expenses for last-minute travel arrangements.
  • Luggage and Baggage Protection: Loss or damage to your luggage is frustrating and costly. Your policy should include baggage protection to cover the cost of lost belongings during your journey.
  • Emergency Evacuation: In the event of a serious incident requiring your evacuation from the ship, your insurance can cover the associated costs. This also encompasses medical evacuation coverage if specified.
  • Missing the Ship: If you miss the all-aboard time, the cruise ship will leave without you. Cruise travel insurance covers out-of-pocket costs for catching up to the ship at the next port.

Most cruise travel insurance plans exclude extreme sports like parasailing and bungee jumping. You may need extra coverage if you want protection for these activities.

Cruise ship sports like rock climbing and zip lining should be covered under your insurance plan. But it’s best to check your coverage before sailing.

Remember, policy details and coverage limits vary. It’s essential to review the specifics of your plan carefully. This ensures you fully understand the protections you have in place for a stress-free cruising experience.

Choosing the Best Cruise Insurance

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You have several options for purchasing cruise travel insurance. You can buy cruise insurance plans through the cruise line, your travel agent, directly from insurance providers, or through insurance aggregators like InsureMyTrip or TravelInsurance.

Third-Party Travel Insurance Companies

Third-party companies like AIG Travel, Allianz Travel Insurance, and American Express Travel Insurance offer comprehensive coverage.

You can browse and compare each company’s travel insurance or use a travel aggregator like InsureMyTrip or TravelInsurance.

Travel aggregators make it easy to compare the rates and coverages from several insurance providers and choose the plan that suits you. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to buying travel insurance. Browse your options and find the best plan that suits your needs.

You can also ask your travel agent for help selecting an insurance provider.

Buying Travel Insurance From the Cruise Line

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The insurance policies offered by cruise lines are convenient because you can handle your booking and insurance through the same channel.

However, we don’t recommend purchasing travel insurance through your cruise line.

Cruise line travel insurance policies are more affordable than third-party providers. However, they don’t offer the same coverage. We recommend choosing a third-party travel insurance plan that provides comprehensive coverage, so you have peace of mind during your cruise vacation.

Advantages:

  • Convenience: Booking insurance through your cruise company can save time and simplify your planning process.
  • Tailored Coverage: The policies are often tailored to the specific needs of cruise travelers, covering incidents directly related to cruise experiences.
  • Cost: Travel insurance offered by cruise lines is almost always more affordable than third-party insurance providers.

Downsides:

  • Coverage: While convenient, cruise line travel insurance policies aren’t as comprehensive as third-party offerings.
  • Reimbursement: Some cruise lines provide future cruise credits instead of an outright refund.
  • Default Risk: You may not have any coverage if the cruise line declares a financial default. Most third-party travel insurance companies cover you if the company you travel with defaults.

Be sure to read the fine print and understand the limitations and exclusions of the travel insurance policy offered by your cruise line. Seek advice from an independent travel insurance agent for a personalized approach to your trip’s protection.

Credit Card Travel Benefits

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Most premium credit cards offer valuable travel benefits. In some cases, the protections provided by your credit card are the same or close to a standard travel insurance plan.

Some credit cards provide travel protection benefits when you purchase a vacation using your card. Your credit card can reimburse you for lost or damaged baggage, flight cancellations, and emergency flights home for a family medical emergency.

However, most credit cards require that you pay most or all of the vacation using the card.

Otherwise, you won’t have coverage.

Additionally, while most credit card travel benefits include flights, they don’t always cover cruise expenses.

Even if you have travel coverage through your credit card, you may still need cruise coverage from a third-party travel insurance company.

How Much Does Cruise Travel Insurance Cost?

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The price of cruise travel insurance depends on the amount of coverage, your destination, age, pre-existing medical conditions, and the duration of your vacation. A travel insurance policy is usually between 4%-8% of the total trip costs, including flights, hotel, and cruise fare.

It’s a wide range, for sure. But it all depends on the coverages you choose.

Remember, cheaper isn’t always better.

Make sure you select a plan that fits your budget and your needs. A cheap plan is great, but you won’t be happy if it doesn’t provide coverage when needed.

Travel insurance plans have a base price, but you can “add on” additional coverages to meet your needs.

Most people can save money by not purchasing the “cancel for any reason” add-on. Most insurance plans cover cancellations because of weather and medical expenses. The add-on isn’t worth it unless you really need the flexibility.

You can purchase travel insurance online in just a few minutes. But don’t leave it to the last minute. Travel insurance is an essential purchase in our eyes and one you don’t want to leave home without.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It on a Cruise?

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Travel insurance is worth purchasing when on a cruise. You may never need to use your insurance, but it will save you a lot of money if you require coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, or lost luggage.

I often hear people saying that cruise insurance is an unnecessary cost.

I hope you never need to use your insurance, but you’ll be glad you bought insurance if something goes wrong.

Don’t try to save money by skipping insurance.

Travel insurance provides a safety net for minor inconveniences like lost luggage and serious events like medical emergencies.

Medical care on a cruise ship is highly costly.

The expenses can skyrocket if you require air evacuation to a hospital on land. Travel insurance can cover these medical costs, offering peace of mind that you won’t face financial distress on top of health concerns.

Additionally, cruises can sometimes face unexpected disruptions, such as severe weather conditions or technical issues that lead to delays, missed port calls, or even the need to return to the home port ahead of schedule. Travel insurance compensates for these disruptions, ensuring that your vacation doesn’t become a financial burden.

Even if the cruise line provides a partial or full refund for a canceled cruise, you still need to pay out-of-pocket for flights, hotels, and non-refundable shore excursions.

Travel insurance is a small purchase that saves you from major financial distress when the worst happens.

It’s also worth noting that the current global landscape, with its unpredictabilities around health concerns and travel restrictions, has made travel insurance even more critical. Policies now often include coverage for COVID-19-related cancellations or medical treatment, addressing the new layer of uncertainty that travelers face.

While the hope is that your cruise is smooth sailing from start to finish, travel insurance protects against the unexpected. It ensures that should the unexpected occur, you’re not left out of pocket and can focus on what matters most – your health and enjoying your vacation. Travel insurance is worth it for a cruise because of the peace of mind and financial protection it offers.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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