In his article, Two Reasons to Buy Travel Insurance for Your Next Cruise, Peter Greenburg gave two examples of passengers without travel insurance. One booked a world cruise and lost his deposit of $10,500. Right after his reservation was confirmed he was diagnosed with cancer. The other lost his full payment for a 10-day Baltic cruise because six days prior to cruising his wife suffered a stroke.
Such stories are plentiful and most are not documented. Most did not even step foot inside the cruise ship. Your cruise may be interrupted by medical reasons or it could be due to weather conditions, a job situation or a missed flight to the port of embarkation.
Here are Travelmath’s 5 tips to buying cruise travel insurance:
One: Trip Cancellation
Because of unforeseen circumstances like the two gentlemen described above, your cruise travel insurance must include trip cancellation. But there are different types of trip cancellation coverage and different reimbursements.
What is different?
Our research shows two types of trip cancellation coverage on the Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises reimburses 100 percent for “any reason” cancellations if you purchase their more expensive Princess Platinum Vacation Protection.
This is what they say:
Trip Cancellation — Passengers receive 100 percent cash reimbursement of otherwise non-refundable cancellation fees in the event a passenger must cancel their trip for an eligible illness, injury or other specified reason.
“Any Reason” Cancellations — This special feature enables passengers who choose to cancel their vacation for any reason at all to receive 75 percent (100 percent with Princess Platinum Vacation Protection) of their cancellation fee as a future cruise credit provided by Princess. And, passengers can cancel at any time up until departure to be eligible for these credits. There are no blackout periods as with some other programs.
The above clearly states that you must have an eligible illness, injury or other specified reason if you purchased the Princess Vacation Package with Princess Cruises. But if you want to be 100% sure that you get your money back for any reason you need to cancel, then get the more expensive Princess Platinum Vacation Protection.
Two: What’s not covered?
It’s important to know what is not covered. Not all items listed on an insurance brochure are in plain English. It pays to take time and study the fine print.
In most cases, a change in itinerary will not be covered by cruise travel insurance.
For example if your itinerary listed Madeira Islands as a port of call and the weather or political conditions does not permit a cruise ship to disembark, the cruise ship has every right to change the port of call, thus the itinerary.
Before you pre-pay your shore excursions, find out if the insurance includes shore excursions cancellations. Most of the time these shore excursions are run by an independent local tour operator. Usually cruise lines only insure the services they provide.
If you purchased your airline tickets separately from the cruise line but got your insurance from them, your missed flights or problem related to your flights will not be covered.
Three: When should you buy your cruise travel insurance?
You should buy it when you make your reservation and pay for your initial deposit. Your insurance price is the same regardless of when you purchase them. However you get coverage immediately after you purchase. You are covered if you need to cancel your trip for some unforeseen reason.
Four: When should you buy third party cruise travel insurance?
Always check who are the underwriters behind the insurance you are purchasing. According to Peter Greenburg:
Cruise travel insurance policies might not be in the best interest of a patient, but it is in the best incident of a cruise line. When it comes to travel insurance for a cruise, flight, vacation rental, or tour, it is rarely in your best interest to buy from your travel provider. Instead look for a third-party plan from an online agency or travel agent.
Additionally, if you purchase just the cruise portion with the cruise line, your airline tickets and accommodation separately, you are only insured for the cruise – not your airline tickets, land transportation or pre and post accommodation.
For more information:
1. Read our article How to Buy Travel Insurance.
2. Disney Alaska Cruise Review.
3. Handy Guide to Five Cruise Ports in Florida.
4. Find flights to the embarkation port. For example to Miami.
Do you have any cruise travel insurance tips? Please share below.