Nov 09, 2016
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Travel Resources

5 Reasons You Need Cruise Insurance

Norovirus outbreaks. Hurricanes. Missing bags. When something goes wrong during your cruise, your vacation can be ruined in an instant. That's why it's so important to protect your trip with cruise insurance.

Cruise travel insurance may seem like just one more expense, but experienced travelers know insurance is essential to protecting their investment.

Here are the 5 reasons you need to buy cruise insurance for your next cruise vacation.

1. Cruise insurance protects your investment in case of last-minute cancellations.

Think your cruise line will understand when you have to cancel your trip because of a family emergency? Probably not. They count on having their cabins filled when the ship leaves the dock, so most cruise lines are reluctant to give refunds. As Cruise Critic found in its roundup of cruise line cancellation policies, most companies give no refund at all if you cancel less than 14 days before sailing. It's tough, but that's the way it works.

Cruise lines will try to sell you their own travel insurance plans, but if you read the fine print you'll see they only offer refunds when you cancel your trip for a limited list of covered reasons. These typically include: sickness, injury or death of yourself, your traveling companion or your immediate family member; missing your cruise because you're in a traffic accident; a natural disaster striking your home; being called into military active duty because of a natural disaster; and being called for jury duty. If you must cancel for another reason, cruise lines' plans generally offer credits worth 75 percent of the trip cost.

Don't lose your travel investment. Protect yourself with an independent cruise insurance policy that allows you to cancel your trip for a wide range of covered reasons, such as the Classic Plan from Allianz Global Assistance.

2. Medical emergencies happen on cruise ships, too.

When you’re lounging on the sun deck, it’s easy to forget you’re hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital. Even if you’re in perfect health, you can never predict when you might break an ankle, come down with the flu or suffer a heart attack.

If you're treated on board, prepare to receive a hefty medical bill. Your regular health insurance won't cover you. 1 And medical evacuations are not uncommon, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control that reports "3%–11% of all conditions reported on a cruise ship are urgent or an emergency." Being airlifted to the nearest hospital is a staggering expense. International medical transportation can exceed $100,000, according to MedjetAssist. 2

That's why cruise insurance is crucial. Look for a plan with at least $25,000 in emergency medical and dental coverage, as well as $500,000 in emergency medical transportation coverage.

3. Cruise insurance is there when you miss the boat.

Time and tide wait for no one. Neither do cruise ships. That's why missed flights and missing bags become big problems when you're beginning your cruise vacation. If your flight to Fort Lauderdale is cancelled due to weather, causing you to miss embarkation, you're out of luck — unless you have cruise travel insurance.

Trip delay coverage can reimburse you for hotel stays, meals and lost prepaid expenses if your trip is delayed by more than six hours. Missed connection coverage can reimburse you for the cost of transportation to your cruise's first port of call, where you can catch up with the ship. And Allianz Global Assistance's 24-hour hotline assistance can help you make the needed changes to your travel plan.

4. Sometimes you need to cut your trip short.

In the middle of your Caribbean cruise, you get word that your mother has fallen seriously ill. You need to get home, fast — but how? This is when Allianz Global Assistance’s travel insurance is your best friend. Call the 24-hour assistance hotline, and a travel expert will help you make arrangements to fly home from the ship's next port of call. You can be reimbursed for up to 150 percent of the cost of the trip: both the unused portion of your cruise and the additional transportation costs for returning home ahead of schedule.

5. Cruise travel insurance lets you relax.

The whole reason you wanted to go on a cruise vacation was to leave life’s worries on shore. But it’s tough to relax if you’re worrying about bad weather, illness, lost luggage, missed flights, theft or international emergencies. A good cruise travel insurance policy will offer coverage for the unexpected. Make sure you review your insurance plan carefully before you buy, because not all plans offer the same coverage.