Booking a cruise can be a significant expense, and one short delay can jeopardize the entire trip. With the steady threat of severe weather in popular cruise destinations and other outside factors that may disrupt a cruise, like the Covid-19 pandemic, many travelers turn to travel insurance to protect the money they spent.
With cruise insurance, travelers can be reimbursed for all of their trip expenses under the Trip Cancellation benefit if they are unable to make their cruise for a covered reason, such as severe weather or an illness, injury, or death. Travelers who are looking for the most possible flexibility within their policy may be able to upgrade their policy to include the Cancel For Any Reason benefit.
Many travelers are unaware of the increased cost of medical treatment on a cruise ship. Even the diagnosis and treatment of routine medical conditions, such as an upper respiratory infection, can cost thousands of dollars onboard a cruise ship. In the event an evacuation to the nearest port is needed, the medical costs can be significantly higher.
Travelers who are concerned about a medical emergency during their cruise may look to buy a comprehensive cruise travel insurance policy with the Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits. This coverage is especially important for travelers whose primary health insurance does not extend outside of the U.S., or whose cruises are traveling to a remote location. Certain policies can also cover Pre-Existing Conditions.
Cruising is especially popular during the summer months. Unfortunately, this coincides with hurricane season, making cruise trips especially vulnerable to weather-related cancellations.
The Hurricane & Weather benefit can reimburse a traveler in the event they need to cancel their cruise due to severe weather, including a storm at their destination, or inclement weather that causes a significant delay or prevents them from reaching their port of departure altogether.
Every policy on Squaremouth.com with Trip Cancellation coverage includes coverage for Hurricane & Weather.
Squaremouth shares their tips and recommendations based on the most
frequently asked questions from cruisers.
Selecting the best cruise insurance policy can mean saving thousands of dollars. The best policies will have comprehensive benefits for cancellations and medical emergencies, in addition to other coverage. This includes:
Trip Cancellation: This benefit can reimburse a traveler's prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses, including their airfare, cruise, excursions, and tours.
Hurricane & Weather: Most policies with Trip Cancellation coverage include built-in coverage for Hurricane & Weather.
Emergency Medical: Because of the increased cost of treating routine medical conditions onboard, Squaremouth recommends travelers cruisers buy a policy with at least $100,000 in Emergency Medical.
Medical Evacuation: Due to the potential for an evacuation from the ship, cruisers should buy a policy with at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage.
In addition to coverage for cancellations and medical emergencies, the best policies will also include benefits for travel delay, missed connections, and luggage, among others. Select policies also include Itinerary Change coverage, which can reimburse travelers for missed events if their travel supplier changes their itinerary.
Travelers have the option to buy travel insurance up until the day before they leave for their cruise. However, Squaremouth recommends buying a policy sooner rather than later, as benefits are only available for unexpected events that impact your trip. For example, if a traveler is planning a cruise in the Caribbean and a hurricane is in the forecast, it would be too late to buy a policy for that storm.
Tip for Cruisers: Determine if you need Cancel For Any Reason or Pre-Existing Condition coverage. These are time-sensitive benefits that are only available within 10-21 days of your initial trip booking. This would be the first payment towards your trip, such as a cruise down payment.
In general, the average policy with Trip Cancellation coverage will cost between 5% and 10% of a traveler’s total trip cost. The primary factors that determine the cost of a policy are the trip cost, the length of the trip, the age of the travelers, and the coverage amounts. Travelers who choose not to insure their trip cost can expect their policy to be less expensive.
Tip for Cruisers: Check in advance to see if your cruise line will provide a refund or voucher if you cancel. If they will, you can forgo insuring the cost of the cruise. A medical travel insurance policy will be less expensive.
While cruise lines typically offer customers the option to opt-in to their insurance, these policies are often limited, and only cover expenses purchased directly through the cruise line. For this reason, Squaremouth always recommends shopping around and comparing policies from multiple sources to find the most comprehensive coverage for your trip for the lowest possible price. This can include a comparison site like Squaremouth.com, a travel insurance provider, or directly from the cruise line.
Tip for Cruisers: Travel insurance isn’t a one-stop-shop, and cruisers especially have many options. Determine which benefits are most important to you, and select the policy with the most coverage within those benefits for the best price.
Cruisers have the option to insure all, some, or none of their trip expenses when booking a cruise. Squaremouth recommends travelers insurance all of their non-refundable deposits. This can include cruise expenses, such as a down payment and excursions, as well as travel expenses in addition to the cruise, such as airfare and hotel accommodations.
Tip for Cruisers: Only insure the amount you would lose if you cancel. For example, if you only have to put down a deposit up front, you can choose to insure the deposit amount and add to it as you make additional payments closer to your departure date.
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