Cruise Travel Insurance - Review
Whenever you pay for your cruise, you will be encouraged to buy Cruise Travel Insurance. Each of the cruise lines has its own travel insurance policy that they encourage you to purchase. Before you do, please understand that each and every time we have run a Cruise Travel Insurance Review, we have concluded that the travel insurance that cruise companies sell is nearly worthless.n
We have detailed reports covering Disney, Princess, Norwegian, and Carnival Cruises. If you are traveling with any of these cruise companies, then please go directly to the carrier report itself. Our simple concern is that the expensive cruise travel insurance that the cruise lines sell has dangerously low levels of cover in critical areas.
Cruise Cancellation Insurance
We tend to book cruises a long time ahead of our planned sail-away date. As can be expected, many of us need to change our plans prior to departure, so cruise cancellation protection can be critical. Cruise Cancellation Insurance can be broken into three main areas – Basic, Work and Any Reason. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Cruise Cancellation Insurance – Basic
We have written in the past about this type of cancellation being useful for very rare circumstances. Here is the list of situations where cancellation protection will support a customer with a 100% refund. Please note that each travel insurance policy will have slightly different wording, but each should cover these main cancellation reasons.
- Accident, illness, or death of you, a traveling partner, business partner, or family member
- Jury duty
- Legal appearance
- Traffic accident en route to airport
- Death or hospitalization of your host at your travel destination
- Bankruptcy of your travel provider
As can be seen, these are not events that we would expect to encounter very often. As such, the cost of this type of protection in any comprehensive travel insurance policy is relatively small. What is important to note is the final cover – bankruptcy of your travel provider. Whenever you buy a comprehensive trip insurance you would expect to see cover offered in the event that your travel provider goes bankrupt.
But, in every cruise travel insurance that we have reviewed which is sold by the cruise companies themselves, there is a problem. None of them offer insurance protection to their customers in the event that the cruise line becomes bankrupt. This is not a healthy position for a traveler to be in.
Cruise Cancellation Insurance – Work
Every regular travel insurance that you would wish to buy should offer protection in the event that you need to cancel your cruise due to work reasons. Typically, those reasons are either due to a lay-off or to a vacation cancellation. We want to incorporate cover that is known as Cancel for Work Reasons Travel Insurance.
Some cruise companies will offer support to a customer who has been laid off, through no fault of their own. The traveler will need to have worked for a minimum period of time – often 12 months, but sometimes at least 36. It is important to check the policy details to ensure that you have the cover you need.
The other area where we think work travel cancellation insurance is critical is in the event of approved vacation being cancelled. Those of us who work for an employer will typically need to get approval for a vacation. Once the approval is in place, we book our cruise. However, if our vacation approval is subsequently rescinded, it makes sense that we would want our travel insurance to pay up. However, the cover that cruise companies sells does not provide protection for such an eventuality.
Work vacation cancellation protection is embedded into some of the stronger comprehensive travel insurance policies that are sold on the wider travel insurance market. So, certainly it is worth shopping around and comparing options before going ahead and buying cruise travel insurance.
In a strong travel insurance plan, cancel for work reasons protection will offer a 100% refund on all non-refundable costs.
Cruise Cancellation Insurance – For Any Reason
We think that Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance is one of the best policy options that could be considered by a cruise traveler. In short, it offers a substantial refund to a policyholder in the event that they cancel their travel plans, without needing any reason at all. This type of protection is normally only available in those travel insurance plans that have higher levels of general cover. When utilized, the payout is 75% of all non-refundable costs.
Cruise companies have an unusual twist on this type of cover. If you buy cruise travel insurance from the cruise company, they will typically incorporate a version of Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance. However, you will not get a return of cash in the event of cancellation under this policy clause – you will get a credit for future cruise purchases.
From our perspective, this is far less desirable than receiving a cash refund. Given the choice, we will always recommend a cash payout versus credit on any cruise travel insurance policy.
Cruise Travel Medical Insurance
It is absolutely critical that cruise passengers have strong travel medical insurance whenever they leave US shores. US State Department offers clear advice – the US Government will offer no financial support to US citizens and residents with medical bills that they incur overseas.
Most of us have some form of home health insurance that supports us in our home state. Most of these will offer emergency support should we travel in the USA. Very few will provide health insurance protection should we leave the US. As such, it is critical that travel medical protection is put in place prior to departure.
Many US travelers cruise around the Caribbean and Mexico. There are many countries in this region that offer public health care systems at little or no additional cost to their citizens and residents. However, none of them that we have encountered will support non-residents and tourists. As such, you will be charged the full rate for medical costs in any private international hospital that you visit.
Cruise Travel Medical Insurance – How Much Cover? - $100k Minimum
Having established the importance of cruise medical travel insurance, now we need to determine how much cover should be put in place. Please remember that the entire point of taking out insurance is so that your probable maximum financial costs are covered.
With travel health insurance we always recommend a minimum level of medical cover of $100,000. The reason is that this figure should cover the maximum medical bills that could reasonably be generated. International private hospitals can charge $3k-$4k per day, so it is essential that we have reasonable levels of protection. Yes, it is possible to buy travel insurance policies with more medical cover, but $100k ought to be sufficient for most of us.
The $100k emergency medical expenses figure is quite common in traditional travel insurance policies. There are a few that have lower levels of cover, but these are aimed at people who have other forms of medical insurance that will protect them.
Let’s take a look at the travel medical insurance cover levels we see from the major US cruise carriers.
How Much Medical Insurance Protection is provided by US Cruise Lines?
Prepare to be shocked when you see the levels of emergency travel medical insurance cover that is offered by the top cruise lines in the USA.
- Carnival Cruise Travel Insurance - $10k
- Norwegian Cruise Travel Insurance – Platinum - $20k
- Norwegian Cruise Travel Insurance – Standard - $10k
- Princess Cruise Travel Insurance – Platinum - $20k
- Princess Cruise Travel Insurance – Standard - $10k
- Disney Cruise Travel Insurance - $10k
So, we see four of the USA’s leading cruise lines. Not one of them has sufficient travel medical insurance protection in their plans to protect in case of serious illness or accident.
The reason we get frustrated is that it is possible to buy cheap cruise travel insurance and still get really great cover. One of our favorite low-cost travel insurance plans is the iTI Travel Lite. iTI is one of the USA’s leading travel insurance carriers. Like all of the travel insurance carriers we work with at AardvarkCompare, it holds at least an ‘A’ rating from A.M. Best.
iTI Travel Lite Cruise Insurance
Here are the policy benefits associated with the iTI Travel Lite plan.
Time-Sensitive Benefits • Cancel for Any Reason: 0% refund • Cancel for Work Reasons: 100% refund • Pre-Existing Waiver: Yes • Time-Sensitive Period: 20 days • Free-Look Period: 10 days • Pre-Existing Look-Back: 60 days
Regular Benefits • Medical Cover: Secondary • Hospital of Choice: No • Covered Cancellation: 100% refund • Financial Default: Yes • Medical Sickness: $100,000 • Medical Evacuation: $250,000
Please note the medical sickness and medical evacuation limits in this trip insurance plan.
iTI Travel Lite Travel Insurance
- Medical Sickness: $100,000
- Medical Evacuation: $250,000
iTI Travel Lite Medical Sickness Cover of $100k is up to 10 times more protection than we see from the leading US cruise companies. And yet, this is not an expensive cruise insurance to take. The iTI Travel Lite trip insurance is typically the cheapest plan that we offer.
When we price the iTI Travel Lite policy compared to US Cruise Company Travel Insurance offers, it tends to be around 1/3 of the price, with 10 times as much protection._OScQx8
Medical Evacuation Insurance
In the worst case of serious accident or injury, it is likely that the best medical facility to treat you will not be in a small port city. This is when it is critically important to have comprehensive medical evacuation cover. Again, US State Department will be of no financial help in getting you on the aircraft.
Medical evacuations can involve the use of specially equipped private jets. Onboard we will see doctors and nurses who will medically stabilize a patient during the journey to the next hospital.
These medical evacuations can be incredibly expensive. Our recommendation for those traveling within 3-4 hours' flight time of the USA is to take no less than $100k of medical evacuation travel insurance. If traveling further afield – Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America – then please increase the medical evacuation protection to no less than $250k. Again, this type of cover is not terribly expensive. Why? Well, thankfully, it is rare for someone to get seriously ill or injured to the extent that they need a MedEvac. Thank goodness. Because it doesn’t happen very often, the costs of the protection, per policy, are small.
Let’s look at the medical evacuation cover levels we see from the major US cruise carriers.
How Much Travel Medical Evacuation Insurance Protection is provided by US Cruise Lines?
Yet again, critical cover levels are far below the absolute minimum of $100k that we recommend for Travel Medical Evacuation Insurance cover.
- Carnival Cruise Travel Insurance - $30k
- Norwegian Cruise Travel Insurance – Platinum - $50k
- Norwegian Cruise Travel Insurance – Standard - $25k
- Princess Cruise Travel Insurance – Platinum - $50k
- Princess Cruise Travel Insurance – Standard - $25k
- Disney Cruise Travel Insurance - $30k
Not a single one of these policies has remotely enough protection to satisfy our minimum medical evacuation requirements.
It is not that we are asking for an impossible amount of cover. Remember that the cheap Cruise Travel Insurance from iTI’s Travel Lite policy had $250k of medical evacuation cover. Again, that is 10 times as much cover as the worst cruise insurance offered by the cruise lines themselves.
Cruise Travel Insurance Conclusion
Every cruise line will try to sell you travel insurance when you buy your cruise. Resist the temptation to buy the insurance there and then. Take the time to search the market and get the best possible cover for your money.
It is essential that you have sufficient travel insurance protection in case the worst happens whilst on your cruise. This type of trip insurance cover is not expensive, yet most cruise companies fail to include it – we find this very disappointing. There is no need to take less travel insurance cover than needed.
You have time to get the best cover. Travel insurance policies can be bought until the day before you cruise. However, we would recommend that you buy cruise travel insurance within two weeks of your initial trip payment, so as to unlock all of the time-sensitive benefits that will be included if you buy promptly. So, once you have paid your initial deposit for your cruise, buy your travel insurance. As you add additional payments leading up to the cruise, just top up the insurance amount with your travel insurance carrier. We can guide you all the way.
AardvarkCompare - Travel Insurance Marketplace
AardvarkCompare is the World's Leading Travel Insurance Marketplace. We sell trip insurance to travelers who want to protect their cruise travel costs, and gain significant medical protection. Ours is a simple and intuitive insurance comparison system that allows travelers to get the cover they need, quickly.
Give us one minute of your time so we can collect a few pieces of trip information. This is passed, anonymously, to our travel insurance carriers. They will provide you their insurance plans and rates to review. You can compare all of them on one screen so as to make a fair comparison easy. The least expensive travel insurance will be visible at the top of the page – we will always try to show best value.
You will not find the same travel insurance plan at a lower price. Anti-discrimination legislation in the US gives you significant protection. The price you see from us is the price you would see if you went directly. We do not charge you a cent more for our comparison service.
Recent AardvarkCompare Travel Insurance Customer Reviews
I Panicked When I Discovered I panicked when I discovered the Travel Insurance I had through Expedia had expired when I changed my flight reservation. When I went to renew I was told I couldn't. I discovered Aardvark on my AARP site and I was excited I could purchase an even better travel plan with cover starting with my trip departure, at a cost I could afford. I was confused with the initial site and Mr. Breeze reached out to me for clarification. He explained the policy more thoroughly and addressed all my concerns, can't get any better than that! Thank You Aardvark and thank you Jonathan for your assistance. I can go on my trip now knowing I'll be covered for medical emergencies and then some. _ _Barbara
Good Choices, Well Explained I liked the way insurance was explained. I had read an article your company had written explaining Expedia trip cover versus other choices. I used this advice to make the best choice for me and my traveling companions. That choice was to take a policy that provided much better medical and evacuation primary care. Your site allowed comparisons, and I think I got the best value for my money. I don't like constant follow up emails, though. You could back off a bit!! Louise