Cruise travelers are usually offered a host of protection plans and waiver plans by the cruise line operator when they schedule and pay for their cruise travel. Travelers may feel tempted to purchase these plans as a ‘quick fix’ to their travel insurance needs.
What they may not realize is that while these plans have some travel insurance features, they are not always 100% travel insurance.
Differences between cruise line protection and travel insurance
|Travel Insurance Plans||Cruise Line Waiver Plans|
|In the event of a claim, how are you paid?||By a check in U.S. dollars.||Usually in non transferable partial credits that expire and have a number of limiting rules.|
|Are independent travel arrangements covered?||Yes, all non refundable pre-paid travel costs are covered, including third-party airline tickets, side trips, tours, and excursions.||No, only the arrangements made and purchased through the cruise line operator are covered.|
|Is bankruptcy or financial default covered?||Yes, as long as you've purchased a plan with that coverage and met the plan rules.||No coverage|
|Are cancellations for reasons of terrorism or political unrest covered?||Yes, depending on the plan.||May or may not be covered|
|Does it include emergency medical coverage?||Yes, depending on the plan you choose; coverage limits as high as $1,000,000 are available.||Often, but coverage limits are usually quite limited ($10,000 - $25,000), plus you may be forced to evacuate the ship if the on-board medical facility cannot treat you, thus incurring additional expenses.|
|Is there 'cancel for any reason' coverage?||Yes, depending on the plan.||No coverage|
|Is trip cancellation for schedule conflicts (jury duty, work, school year extensions) covered?||Yes, depending on the plan.||May or may not be covered|
|Does trip cancellation extend to my departure?||Yes, trip cancellations are covered until the moment you leave home.||No, cancellation coverage often ends 1-3 days prior to your scheduled departure.|
|Is there coverage for pre-existing medical conditions?||Yes, depending on the plan.||May or may not be covered|
|Is there an official body regulating the plans?||Yes, travel insurance plans are regulated by each state's Insurance Licensing Department.||No, if you have a dispute, your only recourse is to file legal action which will likely cost additional money.|
5 Reasons to buy travel insurance from a 3rd party company (and NOT the cruise line)
There are several reasons to purchase your cruise travel insurance from an 3rd party travel insurance company, including:
- Your trip insurance will extend beyond the cruise line and provide coverage from the time you leave home until the time you return.
- Your trip insurance will extend to independent travel arrangements before, during, and after your cruise, including flights and hotels at either end, tours and excursions and more.
- Your travel insurance can be much more complete and include coverage for trip cancellation, cancellations for work reasons, flight delays, financial default, bad weather, pre-existing medical conditions, medical evacuations, and more. See a complete explanation of travel insurance coverage.
- You will be reimbursed in cash as opposed to future cruise line credit vouchers.
- Purchasing through a state-licensed travel insurance agent means you’ll have real travel insurance backed by regulated underwriters.
Purchasing travel insurance for your next cruise is easy using a comparison engine where you can compare benefits, prices, and features to meet your unique travel needs. You can also purchase your travel insurance directly from a travel insurance company. Start by visiting our travel insurance company reviews page for ratings and information.
Buying travel insurance from the cruise line
If you decide to purchase your coverage from the cruise line:
- Read your policy carefully (this is also recommended of 3rd party travel insurance plans), so you know what is covered and what is not.
- Understand that you will not have coverage for situations or events that are not specifically listed as covered in the cruise line policy.
- Cruise line protection plans are not 100% travel insurance and come with significant limitations
- Cruise line plans protect only the cruise portion of your trip
- Purchasing your travel insurance through a 3rd party travel insurance provider yields better coverage
- Compare policies, prices, and features using a comparison engine