Cruise Travel Insurance-What Does it Cover?

When you book a cruise, you will be encouraged to take cruise travel insurance. It doesn’t matter whether you book your cruise through a travel agent or the cruise line. The agent or the cruise line’s representative will share what the insurance will cover and coverage rates.

Why is it so important to have comprehensive cruise travel insurance?  Insurance is the only way to prevent you losing money due to a travel emergency or a personal circumstance.

Image of cruise travel insurance


What Does Cruise Travel Insurance Cover?

All cruise travel insurance is not same. Some cover more than others. Most cover the following circumstances:

  • You Have to Cancel Your Cruise Because of a Medical Emergency: You become seriously ill or need emergency surgery a week before your cruise. If you did not take cruise travel insurance and must cancel your trip, you will be facing a sizable financial penalty. If you have insurance, you will be reimbursed for the monies that you paid for the trip that are not refundable.
  • Plane Delayed/You Miss Your Cruise: Your plane is delayed by bad weather, and you miss your cruise departure. If you have travel insurance, you are covered for flight and other transport delays that resulted in your missing your cruise.
  • Your Luggage is Delayed or Lost: While you arrive at your cruise port in plenty of time to board, your luggage does not. You board the boat with only the clothes you are wearing and carry on bag that has important papers, medicines, your wallet and phone. Your policy will state what you will be reimbursed for based on the amount of hours your luggage is delayed. Usually this will include replacing a new outfit and personal toiletries to use until you receive your luggage. Should you luggage be permanently lost, you can submit a claim for the luggage and its content. Your policy will state what you will be reimbursed for, and identify a cap amount for your claim.
  •  Medical Expenses on the Cruise and In Ports of Call: Medical services are available on most cruise ships. If you have insurance, payment for these services are covered. If you do not have insurance, you will be billed for your care. You want an insurance policy that covers you, not only if you need care on-board, but in ports of call. Out of pocket costs for doctors and hospital care outside the U.S. can be high. It is important to choose a policy that will cover your immediate care while in a port outside the U.S.
  • Medical Emergency Evacuation: If you or a member of your family have a medical emergency, medevac may be a life-saving necessity. Emergency evacuation from a cruise ships to a medical facility is very expensive. However, it’s covered in a number of cruise travel insurance policies.  If you choose to buy insurance through a cruise line, confirm that they include emergency medical or evacuation benefits.
  • Your Cruise is Interrupted and All Passengers Must Disembark: If your cruise ship experiences a mechanical failure, or other damage, you will have to disembark at the next port. Usually the cruise line will help guests in these circumstances But, having cruise travel insurance will insure that you will be reimbursed for such things as  lodging and food while you wait to catch a flight home.

What is Usually Not Covered by Cruise Travel Insurance?

  • Weather–Inclement weather is not a legitimate claim. However, severe storms can interrupt, delay or cancel a trip. In which case, you would be eligible for trip cancellation or interruption insurance claim.
  • Changes to Itinerary- Sometimes high winds, or other circumstances, make it hard to dock safely in a port of call. In this case the Captain will decide if  skipping a port is the best choice.
  • Car-rental Collision Coverage is usually not included, but can be purchased at a minimal day rate.

How  Do I Purchase Cruise Travel Insurance?

Many people prefer to purchase travel insurance at the time they book their cruise. This is especially true when they are booking on the Internet through a cruise line. While this is convenient, it isn’t always the most cost effective. Also, it may not result in getting the most comprehensive insurance plan. You travel agent can identify the best policy to meet your needs. It is wise to comparison shop.

Be sure that whatever policy you select, it is underwritten by a reputable and licensed insurer. You can check out licensed insurers at the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.


Why I Purchase Insurance for Every Cruise I Take

Before my first cruise, 30 years ago, I debated buying insurance since I was in good health. But, I wanted the peace of mind of knowing I would be covered if anything unexpected happened. The travel agency I booked with declared bankruptcy two weeks before my cruise. The travel policy I had purchased reimbursed me, in full, for the cost of my cruise.

Years later, I was scheduled to take an extended transatlantic cruise. I chose to cancel my cruise when an immediate family member was diagnosed with a serious illness and I needed to be of support. My travel insurance policy reimbursed me for all the payments I had made to the cruise line.

Cruising is my primary means of travel. I take 3 cruises a year and have for years. I never cruise without insurance. I’ve learned, through experience, that the unexpected does happen.


Differences in the Cost of Cruise Travel Insurance

Most cruise travel insurance can be purchased at a nominal cost, which is a small price to pay for the coverage it affords. You need to be aware that there are differences in price for the same coverage.

Some of the factors that influence the price variations include:

  • Coverage based upon age which tends to be more expensive for senior travelers
  • Coverage based upon the price of a cruise which may or may not include taxes and fees. If you do not take the cruise, there are no taxes.
  • Coverage based upon a time period whether for the cruise only; the travel period from when you leave to when you return; a specific 30 day period or a per cruise basis.

Here are two coverage examples for the same price of $268:

  1. The fist coverage is for a transatlantic cruise for 2 traveling from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Southampton, UK with a trip to Toulouse, FR.  The trip included air fare from NYC to Ft. Lauderdale, round trip air fare from Gatwick Airport to Toulouse, and return air fare from Gatwick to NYC. The total price of the trip was $3,000.
  2. This December, I booked 2 cruises for 2 people.  The first cruise is for 12 days, and the second is for 7 days. Since the total cost for both cruises is  under $3,000 and within a 30 day period, the insurance on the 12 day cruise covered both cruises.