While cruise lines usually offer their own insurance policies, experts advise looking instead to an independent, third-party insurer. “Travel insurance policies from independent insurers tend to be more comprehensive than those you might purchase through a cruise line,” McDaniel says. “Cruise line insurance is usually secondary coverage, meaning you’ll first need to file through any private insurance policies [like homeowner’s or renter’s] that you have before your travel insurance will kick in. This could mean needing to pay out-of-pocket to start.”
“The advantage of purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy through an insurance provider like Travel Guard is that the comprehensive plans may offer additional benefits, such as emergency medical evacuation, which may not be available under protection plans offered through cruise lines,” Page says.
In addition, cruise line insurance can be more limited than you might expect. “Travelers who purchase the cruise line’s policy can only insure expenses purchased directly through that cruise line,” says Jenna Hummer, director of public relations for travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth. “Any outside airfare or expenses would be forfeited in the event of a cancellation.”
You can pick up a policy from your travel agent directly through a reputed individual insurance provider (like AIG Travel Guard or Allianz), or via an insurance comparison site that lets you compare plans from various insurers (like Squaremouth or InsureMyTrip).
How much does cruise travel insurance cost?
The cost of a policy is calculated as a percentage of your overall vacation expenses—generally anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of your total prepaid, nonrefundable trip cost, according to data provided by Squaremouth. “The premium varies by policy and provider, depending on three primary factors: total trip cost, age of travelers, and length of travel,” says Hummer. “So older travelers taking long, expensive cruises will most likely be paying more for the same policy as a younger traveler taking a cheaper trip.”