Nearly every travel agent or booking company, when you’re buying your cruise recommends cruise insurance – also known as travel insurance.
Do you really need that insurance? Is it worth the risk? Is it worth the additional expense?
Its the age-old question of having insurance- whether health, auto or home- its a tradeoff. Most people don’t link to think that bad things can happen when traveling – but in reality, accidents do happen, cancellations can occur and there is always the possibility you may get sick while on your trip.
While the list of “what may happen” can be endless, they all can ruin your vacation and potentially cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
When on a cruise vacation, the timelines for arrival and departure are extremely tight – ships won’t wait for you if you’re in the hospital – and it’s your responsibility to get back to the ship, or find your way home if you’re left behind.
Medical emergencies aboard cruise ships can also create huge expenses too. While every cruise ship has a doctor, first aide and a make-shift hospital, the costs tend to be high and are rarely covered by insurance. Additionally if an emergency transport from the ship to shore is required, that alone can cost upwards of $20,000!
To be clear, it’s quite rare that an event like this may occur to you or a loved one, but all of these expenses and risks can be offset with travel and cruise insurance.
What does cruise insurance cover?
Depending on where you obtain your cruise insurance from, each policy may be different. Most travel insurance cruise offerings have similar coverage, but there are some major items that you will want to ensure is included.
Trip Cancellation – Trip cancellation protection allows you to receive your money back in the event that you cancel your trip for specific reasons. This does not allow you to claim if you opt to not wanting to go – but rather due to major illness, injury, death, pregnancy, jury duty, and travel delays, among other items.
Emergency Medical – If you are worried about getting sick during your cruise, this coverage provides medical insurance for illness or injury.
Lost / Stolen Luggage – If your luggage is lost or stolen when traveling, the travel insurance can provide some reimbursement for the expense of your loss.
Emergency Evacuation – This is the coverage that allows you to get the person to an appropriate medical treatment facility. It also pays to get you back to your home location as well.
What does cruise insurance not cover?
Cruise insurance offers many more benefits than just what was outlined above, however, there are some very specific items which are not covered.
One of the large exceptions to a travel insurance plan is that you cannot cancel your cruise for any reason and expect to be compensated for your loss — however, there are addendums to coverage which you can purchase called “Cancel for Any Reason” – which will give you 50% to 75% reimbursement.
Additionally, you won’t normally be compensated for “trip inconveniences” where you don’t suffer an actual loss, but maybe things don’t quite go as planned. Weather is not covered typically, unless it causes an actual interruption to a cruise – like a hurricane. A rainy day in port certainly won’t qualify – sorry!
Where Should You Buy Cruise Insurance From?
When you’re purchasing your cruise, you’ll almost always be offered an insurance product from the cruise line directly; you may have seen them being offered under the names:
- Celebrity CruiseCare Travel Insurance Program
- Carnival Vacation Protection
- Royal Caribbean Vacation Protection Plan
- Norwegian Cruise Lines Booksafe Travel Protection Plan
These are fairly popular plans as they are sold as part of the cruise itself, however, they are typically are either quite costly, or offer coverage that is far lower than independent cruise travel insurance. While most offer a “Cancel for Any Reason” feature, they will only reimburse a portion, unlike many third party cruise insurance products.
When Does Insurance Coverage “Kick-in”?
Typically insurance coverage starts at midnight the day after you purchase the policy, and then continues through until you return home from your trip.
Where Can I Buy Third Party Trip Insurance?
If you are purchasing cruise insurance through the cruise line directly, you can purchase at the same time as when you book your trip. If you are purchasing from a third party for travel insurance, you can look at a variety of solutions:
How Much Does Travel Protection Cost?
As a typical rule of thumb, anticipate around 5-7% of your overall trip cost. So for example, if your cruise cost $10,000 – expect $500 to $700 in additional trip insurance expense.
When is the Best Time to Purchase Cruise Insurance?
Its our recommendation to purchase cruise insurance as soon as you can after booking your trip. In doing so, this will allow your cancellation benefits to be active.