What kinds of policies are available?
There are two basic types of cruise insurance policies: Primary and Secondary. Primary policies pay everything you have chosen to cover (trip delays, weather, illness, and so forth) from a beginning date to an ending date. They will pay for every approved expense. For example, you can purchase primary cruise insurance to begin the day you leave home, and continue until your return home after the vacation. The procedure is to file a claim, wait for approval, and receive your reimbursement.
Secondary cruise insurance policies will only activate after you have filed and finalized a primary claim. For instance, if you purchase a secondary policy for medical insurance and get sick or injured onboard, you’d have to file with your primary health insurance first. This would be the procedure for any type of secondary insurance policy.
Therefore, these can be considerably cheaper than primary policies. However, they can be a hassle and require patience. Also, if you are filing your primary claim with certain types of insurance such as homeowners, it could trigger a rate increase for you in the future. So consider each of these costs/benefits when choosing to purchase a secondary cruise insurance policy.
Who should I buy cruise insurance from?
There are three basic options for where to buy cruise insurance: 1) your cruise line 2) a travel agency 3) a third-party company.
For the convenience, cruise line insurance will likely cost more. Also, most of these policies are secondary, and will not pay for company insolvency in any instance. Most travel professionals recommend that you shop elsewhere.
Travel agencies offer cruise insurance, and you’ll be able to choose coverage items à la carte. The best reason to shop here is the licensing and professional standing of these types of companies.
Third-party insurance companies are quite numerous. An online search allows you to successfully comparison shop for prices and coverage options. You should take a moment to check the company’s credentials and endorsements, such as those from the Better Business Bureau or your country’s travel insurance association.
Keep in mind that insurance companies will not approve claims unrelated to monetary costs. For example, if you redeemed perks or loyalty points and then did not get the benefit, insurance will not pay. In this instance, you would have to contact the company who provided the perks, and seek a refund with them. The suggested avenue in this situation is to purchase a ‘cancel for any reason’ policy at the outset. Be aware that these types of policies can be proportionally higher in costs. You can, however, mitigate the price by insuring a lower portion of the cost of your cruise (generally 50%-100%).
Whatever you decide to purchase, be sure to read the (boring) fine print on all your policies. This will lead to financial peace of mind, and keep you free from unpleasant surprises if you have to file a claim.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com