Mar 10, 2015
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Travel Resources

Cruise Lines' Insurance Vs. Allianz Global Assistance's Insurance

CruiseCare. Vacation Protection. Cancellation Penalty Waiver. Every cruise line pushes some kind of cruise insurance on its passengers. Are these plans worth the money?

Cruise lines are right when they say it's important to buy cruise travel insurance. The nature of cruising means that small travel mishaps, such as a missed flight or lost bag, can become big problems. And if you have to cancel your trip last-minute, you probably won't get any money back.

Cruise lines' insurance plans, however, typically offer modest benefits and more restrictions compared to a third-party insurance provider like Allianz Global Assistance. "Generally the third-party insurance policies are better and here's why: They tend to be more comprehensive," USA Today reports.1

What should you look for in a cruise insurance plan?

  • Generous emergency medical and emergency medical transportation coverage. International medical transportation can exceed $100,000, according to MedjetAssist,2 so a $25,000 policy won't go far.
  • A broad range of covered reasons for trip cancellation/interruption. If you cancel for a reason that's not covered, most cruise lines' insurance plans will hand you cruise credits that are worth less than the amount of your trip.
  • Robust missed connection coverage. If your flight into Miami is delayed and you miss your cruise ship's sailing, it may cost you quite a lot to catch up with the ship.
  • Supplier default coverage. If your cruise line or tour operator goes under, you need to make sure you'll recoup your travel investment.

Cruise Insurance Plan Comparison

Let's compare some popular cruise insurance plans.

Allianz Global Assistance Insurance (Classic Plan)Carnival Cruise Insurance3Celebrity Cruise Insurance4Disney Cruise Insurance5Princess Cruise Insurance6Royal Caribbean Cruise Insurance 7
Emergency Medical Up to $25,000 Up to $10,000 Up to $10,000 Up to $10,000 Up to $10,000 Up to $10,000
Emergency Medical Transportation Up to $500,000 Up to $30,000 Up to $25,000 Up to $30,000 Up to $25,000 Up to $25,000
Trip Cancellation Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of trip cost ($10,000 limit) Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs
Trip Interruption Up to 150% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs/ up to 150% of air travel costs Up to 100% of trip cost ($10,000 limit) Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs
Trip Delay Up to $800 Up to $500 Up to $500 Up to $500 $500 pre-cruise/$1,500 post-cruise Up to $500 per person
Missed Connection Up to $800 Included in trip delay Included in trip delay Included in trip interruption Included in trip delay Included in trip delay
Change Fee Up to $250 No No No No No
Lost Luggage Up to $1,000 Up to $1,500 Up to $1,500 Up to $3,000 Up to $1,500 Up to $1,500
Delayed Luggage Up to $300 Up to $500 Up to $500 Up to $500 Up to $500 Up to $500
Carrier Default Yes No No No No No

Carnival Cruise Insurance

Carnival calls its cruise insurance product Cruise Vacation Protection. This plan refunds the money for the unused portion of your prepaid cruise if you cancel for a covered reason. Carnival's plan excludes some important covered reasons that Allianz includes, such as the birth of an immediate family member, cessation of carrier service for 24 hours, foreign or domestic terrorism and legal separation or divorce. If you need to cancel for any reason, Carnival says you may be eligible for cruise credits equaling up to 75 percent of your nonrefundable costs.8 Carnival's plan does cover independently booked air travel, unlike some other cruise line insurance plans.

Also, Carnival cruise insurance's medical expense coverage is secondary insurance, which means it only pays for expenses not covered by your primary health insurance. Pre-existing conditions are excluded.9

Celebrity Cruise Insurance

Celebrity cruise insurance, called CruiseCare, promises to refund all non-refundable, prepaid cruise expenses — but only if you cancel for a covered reason. And Celebrity's list of reasons is pretty short:

  1. Sickness, injury or death of yourself, your traveling companion or either of your immediate family members.
  2. Being involved in a traffic accident on your way to departure that makes you miss your cruise.
  3. Your home becomes uninhabitable because of a natural disaster.
  4. You're called into military active duty to provide aid in case of a natural disaster.
  5. You're subpoenaed or called for jury duty.10

So if a volcano erupts in your back yard, you're covered. If you cancel for any other reason, Celebrity cruise insurance gives you credits toward a future cruise, equal to 75 percent of your nonrefundable costs. You must use the credits within one year11. And like Carnival cruise insurance, Celebrity cruise insurance's medical expense coverage is secondary insurance and pre-existing conditions are excluded.12

Disney Cruise Insurance

Disney cruise insurance has several restrictions in the fine print that you should be aware of. First, the trip cancellation plan only covers flights booked through Disney Cruise Line. If you make your own flight arrangements, you're not covered.13 Second, if you must cancel for a reason that's not covered, all you get is a Disney cruise credit equal to 75 percent of the cancellation fees imposed.

Princess Cruise Insurance

Princess Cruise insurance is a tiered program, with higher benefits for some cruisers. Members of the Platinum Captain's Circle get a free upgrade to the Platinum cruise insurance plan, which includes higher dollar limits and credits for 100 percent of your non-refundable cancellation fees.

Allianz Global Assistance’s Travel Insurance

Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance includes coverage for almost anything that can happen while you're cruising. Beyond the essential coverage, Allianz Global Assistance offers other perks, like change fee coverage, loyalty plan coverage and 24-hour free travel assistance. As always, carefully read your coverage documents before setting sail. Bon voyage!