Cruise travel insurance is very important for cruise vacations.
Cruise travel insurance should be an important consideration for anyone taking a cruise. Cruise vacations are increasingly popular nowadays. Due to its nature, a cruise trip vacation has its own set of concerns as there are many different types of arrangements such as flight, cruise, various ports, shore excursions, tours etc., the chances of something going wrong related to your trip are much higher. Many people plan cruise trips well in advance and while it is enjoyable to do research about beaches, shopping, formal night, restaurants etc., it is very important to purchase cruise travel insurance as well. Cruise insurance is usually a small fraction of your cruise vacation expenses.
While cruise travel insurance can be purchased from an independent travel insurance company or from the cruise line or from a travel agent, it is certainly beneficial to purchase cruise insurance from a comparison web site that offers cruise insurance from various travel insurance companies. As there are many different products available (coverages may vary), you should certainly spend some time doing research to select the plan that is most suitable for you. You should discuss your needs with an experienced travel insurance broker (not an inexperienced travel agent) who specializes in such insurance to get accurate answers to your questions and concerns.
As many people typically plan their cruise vacation months in advance (sometimes, even a year or longer in advance), chances are something may go wrong where you can't go on your cruise. Therefore, it is extremely important to choose cruise travel insurance with trip cancellation coverage. If you become seriously sick or injured a few days before your departure date, or a close family member becomes seriously sick or dies, and if you need to cancel your cruise, you can get a refund for your prepaid non-refundable expenses made towards your trip insurance.
Cruise lines are very adamant about not giving you a refund, no matter how serious your circumstances are. They simply will not give you a refund, not on any humanitarian basis or otherwise. They may not even give you credit towards a future cruise.
If you have booked a hotel for extra nights (before or after the cruise), it is better to prepay it rather than just guarantee it with the credit card, because if you need to cancel the hotel reservation last minute, they will usually charge you at least a "one night" rate. You can claim that expense from travel insurance for a covered reason only if you had prepaid it.
If the cruise ship has a mechanical breakdown and if you need to disembark at the next port, the cruise ship may help you with making some arrangements for you to get back to the boarding port. However, if you need to stay a couple of nights in a hotel before you can find a flight to get back, the cruise line will not pay for it. If they are busy rebooking for 3,000 or 4,000 passengers, it might be much easier to call the travel insurance company to assist with making your arrangements.
Moreover, while you are on the cruise, if something serious occurs at home, such as a close family member passes away, or if your home is flooded or catches fire, you would incur extra out of pocket costs to get back home right away. Cruise insurance would help you cover that.
If you are traveling on an airline either in first class or business class, make sure that your trip interruption will provide you coverage for travel in the same class of service, and not simply economy class. This may vary by the policy.
Please note that if you disembark from the ship for a shore excursion but you miss the ship because you arrived back late, cruise travel insurance would not cover that.
Trip Delay/Missed Connection
Most people take a flight to the port before taking a cruise. It may be a direct flight or one with connection(s). Therefore, there are chances that your first flight will be delayed. If so, you might miss the second flight and in turn miss the cruise ship, this could still happen with a direct flight. Even if your first flight is on time, your second flight might be delayed causing you to miss the boat, literally. Perhaps, while you are traveling to the airport to catch the flight, your taxi breaks down and you don't reach the airport on time and miss everything. Cruise travel insurance can cover such trip delay or missed connections.
If you get sick or injured while on your cruise, you may have a lot of medical expenses. Your domestic health insurance at home may or may not provide medical coverage while away from home. Even if they do, you will be subject to a higher deductible, higher coinsurance and higher out of pocket expenses. Medicare does not even provide coverage outside the U.S., which would be the case when you are on a cruise. Cruise travel insurance can provide such emergency medical coverage.
The amount of coverage may vary among different policies. It is also important to understand whether it provides primary or secondary coverage.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
Emergency medical evacuation is extremely important while on a cruise vacation. If you suddenly get seriously sick or have an accident, the doctor on board the cruise ship may not be able to provide you sufficient treatment. Therefore, it would be necessary for you to be evacuated to the nearest medical facility where adequate care can be given. This could be at the next port of call or by air ambulance, either way this can be very expensive. Many of these evacuations are conducted by coast guards; however, the passenger would be responsible for the bills. Once you are properly treated and are stable enough to travel long distance, you may be repatriated back home. Proper cruise travel insurance can cover such big and unexpected expenses.
Cruise travel insurance can also cover the repatriation of remains in case of death during the trip for a covered reason.
As there are typically one or more flights, a cruise ship and various ports of call involved, the possibility of your baggage getting delayed or lost altogether is high. Even though your flight to the port city may get there on time, your baggage may not arrive on time and it might be necessary for it to be redirected to the next port of call. You may need essential items while waiting for your bags. If your bags are lost, you may need to buy clothes and other essential items while on your cruise vacation. An appropriate cruise travel insurance could help you relieve some stress in such situations.
As most travelers book the cruise vacation well in advance, there is a possibility that the cruise liner or other travel supplier will go bankrupt. While travel insurance purchased from a cruise liner will not cover that, insurance purchased from an independent third party would do so. However, in order to get such coverage, you will have to purchase cruise travel insurance within a certain number of days (varying from 7 to 30 days, depending upon the plan) from your initial trip deposit date.
While making a reservation for a cruise vacation, it is important to keep in mind hurricanes or similar bad weather. e.g., in the Caribbean, hurricane season is typically from June to November. You may get a better deal on your cruise price, but you should keep in mind the risks. Cruise insurance may cover you if the cruise is cancelled or cut short. Most travel insurance plans will not provide coverage if your cruise itinerary is changed or a shore excursion is cancelled due to bad weather. However, some cruise specific insurance plans may provide such coverage. Most travel insurance will not provide any coverage if it just rains during your vacation, either while on the cruise ship or on shore, even though you couldn't enjoy your cruise.
It is possible for your wallet or passport to become lost or stolen while on a cruise ship or at the port-of-call. The cruise ship is not responsible for such matters. A proper cruise travel insurance can help you replace the lost or stolen passport and other important documents.
A proper travel insurance can also provide several emergency services such as replacing lost prescription medicines, emergency cash etc.
As there are many benefits, it is definitely advisable to purchase cruise travel insurance. You should purchase it as soon as possible after your initial trip deposit payment to get the most coverage. You should not wait until you have booked everything. You can make adjustments to your policy once you book other items, such as flights, and have a better idea about the total trip cost. Before purchasing any plan, please make sure to read and understand the policy details of the plans you are considering.