In great big broad general terms, travel insurance, as it applies to cruise travelers, covers two unfortunate events: cancellation for a covered reason and medical expenses incurred while traveling. Some travelers skip it, playing the odds that they will not ever need it and for good reason: most travelers don’t. On the horizon: more travelers will as risks increase and safety remains a primary concern. Would you like to know how to get travel insurance for free? We have that information for you right here. First, let’s take a look at some reasons to have it, free or not.
Reason To Revisit The Topic Of Insurance
The majority of cruise vacations sail off without issues; everyone gets to the ship on time, there are no injuries while sailing and they make it home unbroken. Still, the same can be said of driving a car, renting an apartment or owning a home. We do have and eventually use that sort of insurance for one reason or another. Nothing new there. The issue, for the odds players, then becomes a matter of frequency. Driving a car back and forth to work every day provides many more opportunities to use insurance protection than once-a-year cruise vacations. Here is where we have new reason to re-visit the issue of travel insurance: we cruise more often than ever before.
Reality Is Worth Insuring
Call it an improving economy, huge influx of boomer generation traveler now with more time to do so or an extreme cruise line focus on attracting families, millennials, solo travelers and more. More people are sailing now than ever before and there seems to be no end in sight for this outstanding growth.
“When you’re lounging on the sun deck, it’s easy to forget you may be hundreds of miles from the nearest properly equipped medical facility,” says Dr. William Brady, MD, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia. “And while you may be in perfect health, you can never predict when you might break an ankle, suffer a heart attack or catch the flu.”
Thinking along those lines, more families bring more children and children do get hurt from time to time in common ways like broken bones, scrapes and cuts. Sure, we can bring along a first aid kit with some bandages for common everyday injuries we might treat at home anyway. But what if a trip to the cruise line medical center is in order? Cruise line medical centers operate and are priced much like the Emergency Room at a local land-based hospital. $70 to $100 will get an exam with pricing for services varying by procedure. During high seas on a cruise not long ago, a metal cruise ship smashed my thumb that was in the wrong place when the door swung closed: $1,500+ out of pocket, due at the time of service and added to my shipboard account. Frankly, that could have happened to anyone, any age, any physical condition. Kids too. It was my turn.
Touring Also Brings Engaging Injury Opportunities
Accidents can also occur on cruise excursions where activities may be sponsored by a cruise line, but are not without risk. Cruise lines are commonly not responsible for the actions of independent excursion companies. That is almost universal among cruise lines, which begs questions we simply don’t know the answers to:
● Is the local excursion provider insured, licensed and properly trained? Hard to say and hard to find out on the insured and licensed issue. “Properly” trained too is a tough call. We often judge a tour operator by how interesting the tour is, what we get out of it and how much it costs. No where in there is a concern for licensed and insured.
● Has the cruise line evaluated the reliability of the local excursion provider? Probably so. We know that cruise lines will send crew members and other employees on excursions secretly to evaluate the tour guides and quality of the tours.
● Have the cruise line and/or the local excursion provider disclaimed liability for injuries that passengers might sustain during excursions. This is most commonly something that does not come up, one way or another, with the tour operator. The cruise line, however, is covered against liability as part of the passenger contract we agree to in order to sail.
Free Travel Insurance
Whether it’s a medical issue from an injury incurred while on tour or on the ship or cancellation due to a covered reason, a travel insurance can provide peace of mind. But why buy what you already have? Do this before you buy (or skip buying) travel insurance. Call the number on the back of the credit card you will use for your cruise and ask this question: “If I buy travel with your card, do you provide any travel insurance coverage?” They just might and there’s no sense buying something you already paid for.
Now, there is no excuse for at least checking into the topic of travel insurance.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included in this post.