American Cruise Lines Travel Insurance - 2020 Review
American Cruise Lines is an American company headquartered in Connecticut. They offer a sophisticated travel experience to their customers with both river and ocean cruises within the US.
American Cruise Lines provides onboard music, entertainment, and onboard experts such as historians and naturalists, who present informal lectures and discussions. They even join the passengers in the offshore excursions and offer knowledge and enrichment throughout the trip.
Furthermore, American Cruise Lines offers themed cruises ranging from holiday cruises, food and wine cruises, music cruises, historical cruises (such as Lewis and Clark, the civil war, and Mark Twain) and many more.
In this review, we compare the benefits of their cruise cancellation plan with travel insurance plans available on the wider travel insurance marketplace. We dissect the cost and value of the plans and determine which one is the best choice for our cruise trip.
American Cruise Lines Travel Insurance
American Cruise Lines does not sell travel insurance. Instead, they offer a cancellation-only program: Cancel For Any Reason Protection Plan.
There are two options to choose from, the Basic and Deluxe. Because the Cancel For Any Reason Deluxe Protection Plan offers better coverage, we focus on that option for this review.
You can purchase this plan at the time of booking with your cruise. While this plan allows you to cancel your trip and recover some or all of your money, it is not travel insurance.
Furthermore, it does not cover any other portion of your trip, such as the cost of flights and hotels. The only thing it covers is the cancellation of the cruise.
Since American Cruise Lines offers only cancellation benefits, it lacks Trip Interruption, and Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation in an emergency. In addition, AardvarkCompare always recommends travelers buy trip insurance that covers Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.
If you purchase the American Cruise Lines cruise insurance, you do not receive a comprehensive travel plan. You face financial risk without a complete insurance program.
Therefore, the plan American Cruise Lines offers is incomplete compared to a comprehensive travel insurance plan. In short, you miss out on many trip insurance benefits that are available on the wider travel insurance marketplace.
Our Cruise: American Revolution & Chesapeake Bay Cruise
Our trip is a seven-night cruise that explores the roots of our country. This cruise focuses on the American Revolution and begins and ends in Baltimore, Maryland. The cruise visits many cities on the Chesapeake River in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
The cost of this cruise for two travelers, ages 55 and 60, is $10,944.
Price of American Cruise Lines Cruise Insurance
Let’s look at the American Cruise Lines Cancel For Any Reason Deluxe Protection Plan. The cost of the policy is $980.
Now, we look at other travel insurance options for this trip. We review the costs and benefits and compare them to the American Cruise Lines cruise insurance.
We created a quote on AardvarkCompare for this trip.
When traveling overseas, AardvarkCompare recommends buying a policy with at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 Medical Evacuation, and a Waiver of Pre-existing Medical Conditions.
Since this cruise travels entirely within the US, we do not offer a medical recommendation. However, we recommend at least $250,000 Medical Evacuation for trips to Hawaii and Alaska, since they are a long way from the continental US.
The quote results show that AIG Travel Guard Essential is the least expensive plan which includes a Waiver of Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.
AIG Travel Guard Essential travel insurance costs $581.16, a $398 savings over the American Cruise Lines cruise cancellation-only plan.
Next, we consider iTravelInsured Travel LX because it’s the least expensive plan with Cancel For Any Reason with a Cash refund.
Travel LX costs $847, which is $133 less than the American Cruise Lines cancellation plan for tremendously more protection.
Finally, we compare all three options side-by-side:
Price and Value
As you can see, the American Cruise Lines cancellation plan is not only expensive but also lacks all coverage other than cancellation.
When you compare the American Cruise Line plan to AIG Travel Guard Essential, you see how much protection is absent from the American Cruise Line cruise protection plan. Not only does the American Cruise Line policy offer significantly less coverage, but it also costs more.
In addition, the American Cruise Lines plan is more expensive than iTravelInsured Travel LX.
There are much better options to insure your trip on the wider travel insurance marketplace. You get more bang for your buck by comparing your options for cruise insurance with AardvarkCompare.
What if you fall sick right before the amazing trip you planned for months, or you suffer an injury and can’t travel?
What happens to your money if you must cancel your trip before your departure date?
Thankfully, Trip Cancellation refunds the full Trip Cost if you cancel for a covered reason. Trip Cost is the total price of all prepaid and non-refundable expenses.
Unlike travel insurance policies available on the marketplace, American Cruise Lines does not maintain a comprehensive travel insurance plan.
Instead, they only cover the cost of the cruise if you cancel your trip. It does not include the cost of hotels or flights. Essentially, it is an expensive upgrade from the standard cancellation American Cruise Lines penalty.
Typically, American Cruise Lines permits cancellation within 24 hours of the purchase for a 100% refund.
After 24 hours, American Cruises Lines charges a $250 per person cancellation fee. The fee applies even if you purchase the additional cruise line’s cancellation program.
With the American Cruise Lines’ plan, you can cancel your trip for a 100% refund until 91 days before the departure date of your trip. But what happens after that?
If you cancel 10 days or less before departure, you receive a 90% refund.
If there are 9 days or less until the start of your cruise, American Cruise Lines provides an 80% refund in cruise credits, not cash. Any travel arrangements you made yourself, like flights, are complete losses.
In contrast, both the Travel Guard Essential and Travel LX pay a 100% cash refund if you cancel for a covered reason, even at the last minute.
Travel Guard Essential and Travel LX cover the following cancellation reasons:
- You, a family member’s, a traveling companion’s, business partner’s, or a child caregiver’s death
- You, a family member, traveling companion, a business partner, or a child caregiver falls sick or injured
- Traveler is hijacked, quarantined, subpoenaed, or summoned for jury duty
- There is a fire, flood, burglary, or natural disaster at your or your traveling companion’s home
- Involuntarily terminated or laid off (with an employer where employment is at least 1 consecutive year)
- Employer-initiated permanent transfer
- Named hurricane makes your residence or destination uninhabitable or inaccessible
- In a car accident on the way to the airport or cruise port (must file a police report)
- Strike or inclement weather
- Terrorism in a city on your itinerary that occurs within 30 days of your departure date
- The airline, cruise line, tour operator, or other travel provider goes bankrupt/defaults (Travel Guard Essential covers this when policy purchased within 15 days of Initial Trip Deposit).
iTravelInsured Travel LX also permits cancellation for the following situations:
- You or a traveling companion are required to work due to a fire, flood, burglary, or natural disaster that affects your workplace
- Your passports or visas are stolen (you must file a police report)
- A national disaster that causes a government-mandated shutdown of an airport
- You or a traveling companion, who are military, are called to emergency duty for a national disaster (not including war)
- Revocation of previously granted military leave or re-assignment due to war (official written revocation/reassignment by a superior/commanding officer required)
- Your family or friends you are staying with, who live abroad, become sick or injured and are no longer able to have you stay with them
- You, a traveling member, or a family member traveling with you are required to work during the trip after being previously granted time off (a written statement from an unrelated company official/ HR is needed)
- Adverse weather or a natural disaster causes a mandatory evacuation (ordered by local government authorities at your destination)
- You or a traveling member are directly involved in a merger at your work
- Your destination is under a hurricane warning issued by NOAA National Hurricane Center (happens 14+ days after buying the plan)
- You are delayed by the common carrier and causes you to lose 50% or more of your trip
Both AIG Travel Guard and iTravelInsured plans include superior coverage for Trip Cancellation compared to American Cruise Lines. Best of all, they pay refunds in cash, not expiring credits for a future trip.
What happens when you must go home early from your trip?
Suppose you are on your vacation and you are injured. You miss several days of your vacation, or the doctor tells you that you cannot continue the rest of your trip. You still have a lot of things scheduled that you already paid for.
Luckily, Trip Interruption covers you for a refund of your unused trip costs. Plus, Trip Interruption includes the additional transportation cost to rejoin your travel party/cruise or return home.
The AIG Travel Guard Essential reimburses you for 100% of your Trip Cost, and iTravelInsured Travel LX provides a 150% refund in case you experience a covered Trip Interruption.
Unfortunately, the American Cruise Lines plan fails to provide Trip Interruption at all. If you had to go home early due to a family tragedy, you’d lose all the money you paid for the unused portion of the trip.
Medical Insurance is extremely important to have on a travel insurance plan, even when you stay within the US.
Although most health insurance covers you while you’re in the United States, your insurer may charge higher co-pays or deductibles for out-of-network care. For seniors with Medicare, Federal coverage is national, but your supplement or advantage plan might be state-specific. In that case, you, too, may have higher out-of-pocket expenses than anticipated. Travel insurance reimburses you for those out-of-pocket expenses.
Additionally, if you purchase travel insurance with Primary Medical coverage, you do not have to file a claim with your own health insurance plan first. That’s less paperwork and hassle for you. File the claim directly with the travel insurance plan and it pays for your medical expenses while on your trip.
Regrettably, American Cruise Lines fails to help with Medical Insurance coverage. If you need treatment, you must use your health insurance plan. You will pay more out of state than at home.
On the other hand, both AIG Travel Guard and iTravelInsured plans include Medical Insurance coverage, and it’s Primary, too.
AIG Travel Guard Essential includes $15,000 Medical Insurance, and the Travel LX has $500,000 Medical Insurance. This protection gives you peace of mind that you are covered for out-of-pocket expenses if you suffer a critical illness or injury on your trip.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
Medical Evacuation is another essential coverage that travel insurance includes.
Emergency Medical Evacuation ensures transportation to the nearest medical facility capable of treating your illness or injury. Although your health insurance plan covers you while in the US, keep in mind that the nearest facility may be out-of-network. In that case, you pay for the extra cost of the deductibles and coinsurance.
Suppose you feel short of breath, chest pain, and numbness in your arms during the cruise. If you are on the ship and need immediate medical attention, a helicopter will airlift you to the nearest hospital. If you are onshore, an ambulance will take you to the closest medical facility.
Either way, Medical Evacuation pays to transport you.
The hospital stabilizes your condition, but since you had a heart attack, you need further treatment. Medical Evacuation also gets you to a hospital near your home.
Medical Evacuation is another area where the expensive American Cruise Lines cancellation plan falls flat since Medical Evacuation is also missing from the policy.
Fortunately, both Travel Guard Essential and Travel LX include Medical Evacuation with generous amounts. Travel Guard Essential has $150,000 Medical Evacuation and the Travel LX plan has $1,000,000 Medical Evacuation.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Another major concern for a traveler is coverage for Pre-existing Medical Conditions.
Usually, travel insurance plans exclude coverage for any Pre-existing Medical Conditions. However, you can bring any medical condition into coverage with a Pre-existing Medical Exclusion Waiver. Simply purchase the plan within 14-21 days of the first deposit or payment for your trip.
AardvarkCompare recommends, whenever possible, that travelers include a Waiver of Pre-Existing Medical Exclusion in their travel insurance. The waiver covers you for any Pre-existing Medical Conditions as long as you are medically fit to travel the day you purchase the policy.
But what if your trip is within the US, and you have great health insurance? Do you need a Pre-Existing Medical Exclusion Waiver? Yes!
All travel insurance plans exclude Pre-existing Conditions from coverage. That applies to all benefits offered by your trip insurance, including Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption.
That means if you cut your trip short and go home early because of a Pre-existing Condition, you are not covered. Only a travel insurance policy that includes a Pre-Existing Medical Exclusion Waiver can cover you for anything that involves a Pre-existing Condition.
Fortunately, you find the Waiver with AIG Travel Guard Essential and iTravelInsured Travel LX plans. To qualify for the waiver in Travel Guard Essential, buy the plan within 15 days of the initial trip payment date. For Travel LX, purchase the plan before or no later than 1 day of your Final Trip Payment.
Conversely, the American Cruise Lines plan does not include medical benefits, so this coverage is also missing from their cruise insurance.
Cancel For Any Reason
So far, we only discussed what happens when you cancel your trip for a covered reason.
Although the generous list of cancellation reasons covers most scenarios, sometimes you must cancel your trip because of something else.
How can you recover the money if you’re unable to travel because of a non-covered reason?
Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance solves this situation. It allows you to cancel your trip for literally any reason, not just the ones listed in the policy.
Although Cancel For Any Reason does not pay a 100% refund of your trip cost, it prevents a complete loss. You’ll enjoy the most flexibility and leniency when you include this extra cancellation benefit with your travel plan.
American Cruise Lines focuses on Cancel For Any Reason above all other considerations.
With the American Cruise Lines plan, you are not just covered for listed cancellation reasons. In fact, American Cruise Lines does not have a list of covered cancellation reasons.
Instead, the American Cruise Lines plan determines your refund based on when you cancel.
As mentioned earlier, if you 91 days or more before your trip, you are entitled to a full cash refund, less a $250 administration fee.
If you cancel between 10 and 90 days before your trip, you receive a 90% refund, less a $250 administration fee.
However, if you cancel nine days or less before the departure date, American Cruise Lines denies you a cash refund. Instead, American Cruise Lines offers a measly 80% of your cruise cost in cruise credits for future use. This is true whether you cancel because you don’t want to go, or clinging to life in a hospital bed after a car accident.
On top of all that, American Cruise Lines requires you to use the future credit within 12 months, or they purge it from your account. If you have a debilitating health condition that prevents you from traveling in the future, you lose everything you paid for the cruise and the extra cancellation plan.
When you think about it, American Cruise Lines charges nearly 10% extra for the trip for the right to cancel and receive 80% back in credit. To us, that’s a lousy deal.
Also, note that the American Cruise Lines only covers the cost of the cruise. Therefore, all other prepaid expenses such as airfare and hotels are unprotected from loss.
By comparison, the iTravelInsured Travel LX plan works differently. You can cover all prepaid, non-refundable travel arrangements on travel insurance from AardvarkCompare. To include the Cancel For Any Reason Benefit, buy the Travel LX plan within 20 days of your Initial Trip Deposit date.
Furthermore, Travel LX does not reimburse you using credits. Happily, you recover 75% of your total trip cost in cash. The only requirement is that you cancel your trip 48 hours or more before your departure.
The American Cruise Lines’ cruise insurance is not a travel insurance policy. It is merely a very expensive enhanced cancellation fee plan that only covers the cost of your cruise. Therefore, it excludes all other benefits that are covered in a comprehensive travel policy.
Additionally, if you cancel 9 days or less before the start of your cruise, then American Cruise Lines does not refund you in cash. Instead, you only receive a fraction of your trip cost in credits for a future trip, and it must be booked through American Cruise Lines.
Also, the American Cruise Lines cancellation plan lacks crucial benefits such as Trip Interruption, Medical Insurance, Medical Evacuation, Pre-Existing Conditions, and more.
With American Cruise Lines, you not only miss out on these essential benefits, but you also pay more while receiving less.
To ensure you receive the best value for your money, consider all options before you purchase travel insurance.
AardvarkCompare is a travel insurance marketplace that helps you find the best travel insurance for your trip. We run your quote through multiple insurers to help you find the lowest cost plan that fits your needs.
We are happy to assist you with your travel insurance needs, and, as always, we wish you safe and fun travels!