It can be easy for anyone to get caught up in the glitz and glam of an upcoming cruise vacation. The food and entertainment, the pools and beaches, and the exotic destinations – these are the best parts of a cruise. It can also be easy to overlook an important component that isn’t included: travel insurance.
Purchasing travel insurance for your family cruise might seem complicated and pricey, but it is becoming more necessary to have than ever. Unforeseen circumstances and events could cost you more than the vacation itself. Here are some reasons you should consider buying travel insurance for your cruise:
Most of us book our vacations months in advance, when we know we’ll have time off and money to spare. You can even book a cruise while on a cruise, and receive a special discount for doing so. But life happens and circumstances change.
If you need to cancel your cruise last-minute (or even 30 days prior to the scheduled date), travel insurance can protect you from obscene cancellation fees. Travel insurance may allow you to get a full refund on your prepaid cruise, as well as flights and accommodations that you booked to coordinate with the cruise. Cruise lines are big business; do not assume that a cruise company will be forgiving or understanding in your time of need.
Trip interruption or cancellation
There are two different scenarios in this case. First, the cruise line could halt the entire vacation due to mechanical issues, weather, or safety concerns. Second, you receive news from home and you–or your whole family–have to leave the cruise to tend to an emergency.
No matter who is at fault for the interruption of your vacation, travel insurance can protect your initial cruise investment (the amount you paid for the trip), as well as cover the costs required to get you home from your current location.
Medical care or emergencies
Few people think about or plan ahead for emergencies while on vacation. But think about it: you have health insurance to cover expenses if something happens at home, so why shouldn’t you have insurance to cover expenses if something happens on vacation?
Travel or cruise insurance covers you if you slip on deck and need medical care from the ship’s staff. It can also cover injuries that happen during on-shore excursions or while driving or riding in a vehicle in port. It is unlikely that cruise lines or foreign countries will accept your health insurance, but travel insurance will reimburse you for medical expenses you incur while on your trip.
Missing the boat
Cruise ships run on tight schedules, and cruise companies make it clear to customers that the ship cannot wait for late passengers. There are any number of situations that can arise as you’re en route to board your cruise. Delayed flights, missed connections, broken down shuttle buses, and severe weather can all wreak havoc on plans, and can cause you to miss the ship. Travel insurance will reimburse you for the cost of getting to the first port of call, where you can finally board the ship and begin relaxing.
When and How To Buy Travel Insurance
Now that you know some of the most common reasons for buying travel insurance for your cruise, you should understand when and how to buy it. Here are some tips:
Buy travel insurance immediately after purchasing your cruise
Yes, you just plunked down a chunk of cash on a vacation that is months away, but this is no time to be stingy. The longer you wait to purchase travel insurance, the more potential there is for a something to happen that might negatively affect your travel plans. Once you have insurance in place, you can rest easy.
Cruise lines and airlines conveniently offer insurance at the time of booking, which can be a convenient option if you don’t plan to shop around. The problem with this convenient option is that the cruise company isn’t an insurance company, and it doesn’t necessarily have your best interests in mind. They usually reimburse you for only a portion of your costs when something happens on your trip.
A travel insurance can help you determine the specific needs for you and your travel companions. By shopping around on a site like Kanetix.ca – a price comparison site dedicated to insurance, credit cards and mortgages – you can usually find a travel insurance policy that will cost less than the cruise line policy, and will reimburse you for much more (often 100% of your unexpected costs.)
Consider frequent traveller’s insurance
Some independent agencies offer travel insurance policies that will reimburse you for unexpected costs any time you travel. Most annual (also called “multi-trip”) insurance policies only require that you travel twice per year. For frequent travellers or cruise junkies, an annual travel insurance policy may be less expensive and more convenient than purchasing a policy every time you book a trip.
Know before you go
The most important thing to know about your travel insurance–before you head for the airport or the docks–is what is covered. Review the details of your travel insurance plan before starting your vacation. If you’re faced with a bad situation during the trip, knowing the insurance details will help you keep a level head as you resolve the situation. You’ll also be able to relax and have fun without worrying about what could go wrong.