Cruises conjure up images of magic, romance, sunsets, crystal clear waters and decadent relaxation. Before it’s time to depart to you’ll need to be certain you have an adequate travel insurance policy in place that covers you for cruises – especially if you’re a senior or have a pre-existing medical condition.
Let us guide you when comparing cruise travel insurance policies so that you can take out the one that’s right for you.
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Cruise insurance is essentially travel insurance that includes extra cover for potential problems that could arise during your cruise. You can either buy a dedicated cruise policy or add additional cover to an existing comprehensive policy for an extra fee.
- You become ill or suffer injury. Treatment on board cruise ships is extremely expensive, and medical facilities are often limited. If you were to develop a severe illness or become injured during your cruise, you could end up needing to be airlifted to the nearest appropriate land-based hospital. With cruise trip insurance you’d be covered in the event of costly medical expenses throughout your cruise.
- You miss your cruise’s departure. Cruise insurance will cover you for additional expenses if you don’t make it onto the ship prior to departure, due to reasons such as a delayed flight or a car accident on the way to the port.
- You need to cut your trip short. If you were two weeks into a six-week cruise but suddenly had to return home, cruise insurance means you can get reimbursed for the cost of the remaining four weeks.
- If shore excursions are cancelled. In the event that your cruise liner cancels plannes visits to the shore, for example due to a serious tropical storm, you can receive compensation and reimbursement for any related fees.
- You become confined to your cabin. You can receive a daily allowance if you are confined to your cabin for medical reasons, which would help pay for room service and other unforeseen expenses.
- Your cruise is delayed. If your journey is delayed, whether on the way out or on the way back, you are able to get compensation for any additional costs incurred.
- You need to cancel your trip. If something unexpected happens and you are forced to cancel your cruise before you even depart, cruise travel insurance can cover your non-refundable trip costs so that you’re not left out of pocket.
- Your baggage is lost or delayed. Unfortunately luggage does get lost. If an airline loses or misplaces your luggage, cruise travel insurance can cover the cost of flying your bags to the next port, as well as offer reimbursement for the cost of any essentials you’d need to buy whilst awaiting the arrival of your bags. It will even cover the cost of your bags if they’re gone for good.
- Your formal cruise attire is lost or damaged. This will give you cover for replacement or hire costs in the event that the formal wear you planned to wear on the cruise is stolen, damaged or lost.
- Your cruise liner goes bankrupt. This is often missing from cruise cover sold by cruise lines, it’s worthwhile looking at alternate providers and remember to read the fine print carefully to make sure it’s included in your policy.
- Emergency evacuation to a land-based medical facility. Standard travel insurance policies might specify that they only cover the cost of repatriation to the UK, whereas cruise travel insurance will cover you for emergency evacuation from the ship to the nearest hospital, as well as medical transport back to the UK when needed.
- Your trip is interrupted. With cruise travel insurance you’ll be covered for unpredictable situations like this, regardless of whether it involves an unexpected detour, unwanted delays or even if the entire voyage has to be cut short.
You’ve already spent a good chunk of your hard-earned cash paying for the cruise, so is this extra expense really necessary? For most people, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why:
- It provides peace of mind. No matter what mishaps or accidents may occur during your holiday, having the correct cover in place means you won’t have to worry about anything.
- You can’t predict the future. Flights get delayed, extreme weather can cause disruption to cruise itineraries, luggage occasionally gets lost and accidents do happen. Whilst it’s easy to think “it won’t happen to me” cruise insurance is a convenient way to guarantee that if something does go wrong, you’ll won’t be out of pocket.
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As you’d expect with any ordinary travel insurance policy, your cruise cover should include a range of key benefits, including cover for:
- Overseas medical expenses. You’ll be covered for the medical and hospital expenses you incur overseas, as well as for repatriation back to the UK if necessary.
Amendment and cancellation costs. If for any reasons you need to cut short or cancel your trip due to circumstances beyond your control travel insurance will cover your cancellation fees, lost deposits and any additional transport costs.
- Luggage and personal belongings. Your policy covers your luggage and personal items against loss, theft and damage.
- Luggage delay. If a travel provider temporarily loses or misdirects your bags, you’ll receive a benefit to help you purchase emergency items such as toiletries and a change of clothes.
- Travel delay. If your pre-booked transport is delayed by circumstances such as industrial action or severe weather, your cruise insurance covers your additional meal and accommodation costs.
- Rental vehicle insurance excess. This ensures that if your rental car is crashed, stolen or damaged, the insurance excess charged by the hire company will be massively reduced or eliminated altogether.
- Personal liability. If you’re required to pay compensation for injuring someone else or damaging their property, travel insurance provides personal liability cover.
- Ship-to-shore evacuation. If you become ill or suffer an accident during your cruise and you need transportation to the nearest land-based hospital for emergency medical treatment, cruise insurance will cover the cost.
- Cabin confinement. This provides an ongoing daily allowance for every day of your cruise that you are confined to your cabin due to illness or injury.
- Missed shore excursions. If you’re confined to your cabin or the cruise vessel’s hospital and can’t participate in any pre-paid shore excursions, your policy will cover any cancellation fees or lost deposits.
- Lost, stolen or damaged formal cruise attire. If your formal cruise clothing is lost, stolen or accidentally damaged, your insurance provider can cover its repair or replacement.
- Marine rescue diversion. In the event that your cruise ship is diverted to participate in a marine rescue operation, your cruise policy will offer a continuous daily benefit.
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Cruise insurance, like most insurance, doesn’t cover every conceivable event or scenario that could potentially wreak havoc with your travel plans; instead, it’s designed to cover those unforeseen problems and worst-case scenarios that arise out of nowhere and turn your holiday upside down.
With that said, you’ll need to make sure you read the fine print closely before purchasing a policy to find out what is and isn’t included in your cover. The majority of policies won’t cover you if:
- You’re drunk or on drugs. If you lose your bag during a shore excursion after a pint or ten, your insurance won’t pay a benefit.
- You like to walk on the wild side. Planning on taking part in any high-risk adventure activities on-board the ship or during a shore excursion? Read the fine print carefully to make sure you’ll be covered by your insurer.
- The weather’s a bit disappointing. If you were expecting glorious sunshine but all you get is overcast skies and drizzle, unfortunately your policy won’t cover you if the weather was a bit of a let-down.
- You travel against medical advice. If your doctor says you shouldn’t travel but you decide to board the cruise anyway, your insurer won’t pay out in the event that you require medical assistance.
- You break the law. If you start a fight in a bar, take drugs or participate in any other illegal activity that results in you making a claim, you won’t get any support from your insurer.
- You don’t take care of your belongings. If you leave your bag unattended in a public place and it’s stolen, your insurer won’t pay your claim as it will be considered to have been caused by your negligence.
- You forget to purchase cruise cover. The vast majority of insurers only cover cruise journeys when you purchase additional cruise cover with your travel insurance policy. Don’t forget this fact when buying a policy.
Similarly to taking out standard travel insurance, you need to let your insurer know about any pre-existing conditions you have when applying for cruise cover. Depending on the insurer and the policy, if you have a medical condition it may:
- Be automatically covered at no extra cost. Check your insurer’s PDS for a list of conditions that are automatically covered.
- Require you to provide more information. You could need to complete a medical declaration providing full details of the condition, its history and the treatment you have received. The insurer may agree to cover your condition, usually for an additional fee.
- Be excluded from your policy. Some conditions are simply not coverable. You can still purchase a cruise insurance policy if this is the case, but any claims that arise due to your pre-existing condition won’t be covered.
If you’re over the age of 65 and planning an exotic cruise, you can enjoy all the benefits of cruise cover with a seniors travel insurance policy. While policy age limits differ between insurers, there are some providers who will cover travellers up to 80, 90 or even 100 years of age. However, there are a few key factors you should be aware of when picking a policy:
- Cover is more expensive for seniors. Once you reach 60 years of age, insurance costs will start to rise on travel insurance. Generally, the older you are, the more cover will cost you.
- Check the age limits. Some insurers simply refuse to cover anyone over the age of 65, while some set their upper age limit anywhere between 65 or 100 (or even higher in some rare cases). Check which insurers are willing to offer you cover before you start comparing policies and prices.
- Not all pre-existing conditions will be covered. There are generally increased restrictions on pre-existing conditions for older travellers. For example, some insurers will automatically cover asthma for travellers under the age of 60, but this condition could be excluded from the policy for anyone above this age limit.
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*Disclaimer: Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t answer the questions correctly, your policy may be cancelled, or your claim rejected or not fully paid.
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