Just the thought of sipping a pina colada poolside on an upcoming cruise can be enough to put you into vacation mode. But until you get there, and sometimes, even after, there’s that nagging thought, “What if something goes wrong?” Most of the time everything does go according to plan, but it doesn’t really take all that much to throw a monkey wrench into your plans. Ships, unlike hotels, wait for no one, whether a passenger has a missed connection at O’Hare or a broken wrist in Martinique.
Travel insurance is one thing that can help to put your mind at ease about a cruise. It may not entirely make up for a lost couple of days or an injury, but it will eliminate almost any worries about your investment in a trip.
Trip Delay/Missed Connection: There are a number of moving pieces involved in a successful cruise. In many cases, you have to travel to your ship’s point of departure. This often involves a plane, and a delayed or missed flight can cause you to miss a few days or even the entire trip. Travel insurance can protect you in many of these cases.. Look for plans that offer a Missed Connection benefit. Also, look for plans that offer Trip Delay coverage due to a mechanical breakdown of your airline.
Missing and Lost Luggage: Losing your luggage on a trip is always a hassle. It’s even worse when you’re hustling to connect with a cruise. Your bags might catch up with you if you’re vacationing in LA or Phoenix. They’re never going to find you in the middle of the Caribbean. Travel insurance can at least take some of the sting out of a loss. Look for a plan that offers a Baggage Delay benefit which will help you purchase some of your missing essentials until your bags arrive.
Medical Evacuation: Cruise ships offer medical care to treat many simple maladies, but a serious illness or accident can require a full medical evacuation. While extremely infrequent, these emergencies can set you back thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Travel insurance can help to save the day in the case of an unlikely but serious medical emergency.
Trip Interruption: You’ve seen the pictures on the nightly news. A mechanical problem or inclement weather can cause a ship to return to port, bringing your vacation to an untimely end. These days cruise lines do their best to make their customers whole. After all, they’re hoping that you return. Even in these cases cruise insurance may provide additional help. It ensures that you’re compensated for all of your losses and may get you home more quickly than a cruise line can manage.
Medical Coverage: If you have an accident or get sick on a cruise, any medical treatment that is required (e.g. a trip to an onshore emergency room or clinic) may not be covered by either your existing health insurance or what may be provided on your credit card. A travel insurance policy that covers your trip specifically will keep you from going out of pocket on medical expenses. While they may cost a little more, a plan that offers Primary Coverage will eliminate the need for you to file a claim with your health insurance provider first.
It’s extremely important to compare the travel insurance policies that are available for your trip. They can vary widely when it comes to coverages and limits. Some of the major online travel companies offer a single policy choice when you check out on their sites. A travel insurance comparison site like TravelInsurance.com offers 30 different options available for any single trip. Since a cruise differs significantly from land trips you will want to make sure that you see what’s best for you and shop for the right mix.
By Stan Sandberg, Co-Founder TravelInsurance.com