Buyer’s Guide: How to Select Travel Insurance for Cruises

So you’re planning a cruise. A relaxing time of fun, adventure, and serenity aboard an amazing ship headed for amazing places. You’ve booked it, planned it, dreamed about it, and you’re ready to go.

But now the stress and worry settle in. What should you pack? What should be added to your itinerary? How are you supposed to select the right travel insurance for cruises?

We can’t help you with packing your bags, but teaching you about travel insurance for cruises? That’s right up our alley.

If you are fretting about travel insurance for your upcoming cruise: don’t! Thinking about travel insurance should not be an added stressor during your trip-planning experience.

Simply read through our handy buyer’s guide on all things cruise travel insurance and you’ll be up to speed and ready to cross this task off your list.

From the different types of cruise travel insurance to the right kind to buy for your particular needs, this buyer’s guide will assist you in selecting travel insurance for cruises that will give you peace of mind all cruise long.

What Does Travel Insurance For Cruises Cover?

First and foremost, you should know what travel insurance for cruises covers. Hint: it’s different than the medical or health insurance you already have!

There are many different policies offered as travel insurance for cruises, and each of them provides different types and levels of coverage.

This is where you’ll need to do a bit of research and determine what type and level of coverage is right for you. Below are a few examples of the kinds of situations that travel insurance for cruises can cover.

Medical Emergencies

Surprise: your health insurance probably doesn’t cover you while you’re traveling (more on that below). And, unfortunately, medical emergencies can happen anywhere—even on vacation!

If you want to make sure you are covered for any health or medical needs that may arise while you’re traveling, you’re going to want to purchase travel insurance for cruises. You may be a safe and careful traveler, but it is impossible to predict certain illnesses or injuries.

In addition, there are some risks while traveling that you don’t usually face when you’re in familiar circumstances. For example, the food might make you sick or you could get bitten by a strange insect that you don’t have at home.

Because of these things, having travel insurance for cruises is a wise move. Most trips go off without a hitch, but if an emergency happens, you will be very glad that you are covered and don’t need to worry about how you’re going to pay for the treatment you need.

How to Select Travel Insurance for Cruises

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Though this situation is rare, it does occasionally happen that a cruise voyage needs to be ended early or canceled altogether. In the event of this unfortunate circumstance, having travel insurance for your cruise will come in handy.

If this happens, you’ll face many unexpected costs. These could include a hotel stay wherever you end up as you wait for the flight home, having to rebook a flight home, and all sorts of other travel-related expenses.

Usually, if this situation is the fault of the cruise line, there are some options for travelers and the cruise line may help to assure you are taken care of. But don’t count on this.

Sometimes, your own life’s circumstances will necessitate a cancellation. If this happens, you will be very glad you bought travel insurance.

Delays and Missed Connections

Usually, you don’t even stop to consider these kinds of things in your excitement and expectation about the cruise, but they can happen.

Say you miss your flight on the way to the cruise port and thus end up missing its departure for sea. Or your first flight on the way there is delayed, causing you to miss your connecting flight, and preventing you from making it to the cruise ship before it disembarks.

Sometimes, you may even find yourself missing the boat while you’re already on your trip! If you get left on an island somewhere because your taxi broke down on the way back to the port after a shore excursion, travel insurance is going to be your best friend.

Travel insurance covers these sorts of mishaps and hassles that can, unfortunately, happen while you are traveling. No need to fret or panic if an unfortunate situation occurs.

SEE ALSO: Should I Buy Cruise Insurance?
SEE ALSO: What Cruise Insurance Does NOT Cover

Baggage Loss, Delay, or Theft

With so many connections and trip legs while you travel, there are ample opportunities for your baggage to go missing.

In the case that your baggage doesn’t turn up where and when it’s supposed to—or you misplace it yourself—travel insurance will make sure you are clothed and your necessities are replaced. Same goes for the unfortunate situation that your bags get stolen.

There are different levels of baggage loss and delay coverage when it comes to travel insurance for cruises, so you’re going to want to make sure you browse through the different policy options and choose one that feels right to you.

Remember: peace of mind is the goal here! Whatever helps you to relax and put your mind at ease so that you can fully enjoy the trip, buy it. The price is almost always worth being able to actually enjoy the trip you’re shelling out money for.

How Is Travel Insurance For Cruises Different?

You may be wondering how travel insurance for cruises is different from any other kind of travel insurance.

There are different risks involved when traveling on a cruise, and therefore travel insurance for cruises must cover a few additional aspects of the travel experience.

Unforeseen Extreme Weather Conditions

One example is that cruise ships are especially susceptible to weather. If a hurricane or other form of severe weather arises, there is the possibility that a cruise could get canceled or cut short.

Though this situation would certainly be disappointing, you don’t want to be on a cruise ship to wait out a severe storm at sea.

If your itinerary changes due to unforeseen circumstances like weather that makes it impossible to continue cruising, you are going to wish you had travel insurance for cruises to recoup some of the lost cost.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Another situation that is unique to cruises is an emergency medical evacuation.

Unlike traveling of other sorts, cruise ships are rather isolated. There’s no easy way to get to a hospital or other type of facility in the case of an extreme emergency.

Emergency medical evacuations are rare, but if a traveler experiences an emergency severe enough to require a helicopter to rescue them from the ship, they are certainly going to want to make sure they are covered by their insurance for emergency medical evacuations.

Caribbean cruise
Photo By: Russell Otway

But I Already Have Health Insurance!

Why should you buy travel insurance for cruises if you already have health insurance?

Many people do not realize this, but their existing health insurance might not cover them while they’re traveling. Most standard health insurance policies do not even cover treatment outside of their preferred network of providers, much less outside of the country!

This is considered by some to be a dilemma. What if something happens while you’re abroad? What if there’s an accident or a natural disaster? What if you get seriously sick or injured?

Don’t let this fear stop you from traveling! Far too many people begin to worry about all the possibilities and let this convince them that they’re better off staying home.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case. For a surprisingly low price, you can purchase travel insurance that will cover whatever you need to be covered in order to feel safe and secure when you jet off.

Your health insurance may not cover you, but a separate travel insurance for cruises—purchased from a travel insurance agency—will.

Different Types of Travel Insurance

Before you begin shopping for travel insurance for cruises, you should know that there is more than one type of travel insurance.

First, there is primary insurance. Primary insurance is more comprehensive because it kicks in the minute something goes wrong, whether that’s before or during your trip.

Secondary insurance coverage does not kick in until you have attempted to collect on your other insurance policies, like medical insurance or homeowner’s insurance. It is not activated immediately but usually costs less than primary insurance.

How To Choose The Right Cruise Travel Insurance for Cruises

Choosing the right policy for your cruise can sound like a headache. But it doesn’t have to be so difficult.

The right plan for you is out there—you just have to know what you want and need, and then go find it. Here are a few suggestions to help you in narrowing down the cruise travel insurance options.

Make A List of Your Needs

What are your three biggest travel worries? Jot them down and then find a cruise travel insurance policy that covers them.

There are likely to be situations you are more and less concerned about than others, so figure out what these are and then make sure you are covered in case of this form of disaster. Cruising in the Caribbean, for example, presents a small chance of a disaster like a tsunami, but there are more mosquitoes and tropical storms than in other parts of the world.

Purchasing a cruise travel insurance policy that covers you in the face of your biggest cruise worries will help you to enjoy your trip, worry-free and eager to enjoy.

Maybe you suffer from an illness that could easily result in an emergency situation, or maybe you travel with very expensive luggage and other items. You may want to prioritize bag protection or medical crisis coverage over anything else—so just know your needs and shop accordingly.

Carnival Cruise Travel Insurance
Photo By: Russell Otway

What Does Minimum Coverage Look Like For You?

What are some things you simply wouldn’t be willing to travel without having covered? Does the thought of a luxury cruise in India give you excitement but also fear at all the things that could go wrong so far from home?

If there are insurance coverage levels you simply can’t imagine traveling without, then factor that into your trip-planning budget and allot enough money for them.

There’s no sense in embarking on a cruise if you are just going to worry the entire time. The point is to relax, not to panic about all the things that could go wrong.

If the thought of having to shell out thousands of dollars due to a worst-case-scenario emergency medical evaluation is unbearable to you, but you could live with having your bags lost, then you know what kind of cruise travel insurance you should be prioritizing in your search.

Review the Plans: Compare and Contrast

Buyer's Guide: How to Select Travel Insurance for Cruises
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Once you’ve browsed around and found a few different plans that you like, lay them out, side by side, and weigh the pros and cons.

Many websites have a compare and contrast tool that will show you the different benefits of each plan selected. Comparing the different plan options in this way will help you to narrow down your choices and make a decision.

And, finally, make a decision. Once you’ve purchased a travel insurance policy that is right for you, you can depart for your trip with the peace of mind that you are totally covered in case of any mishaps or accidents.

More Tips for Cruise Travel

Whether you’re setting off on your very first cruise or if you’re a long-time cruiser looking to save some money or find some new ideas, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for.

Simply browse our site to find the information you need to set you sailing off into the sunset on the cruise of your dreams!

Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma
I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers. Find out more about us here.


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