Now that we know the various circumstances that can be covered with cruise travel insurance, let’s explore the specific information you will want prior to purchasing a cruise travel insurance policy.
There are two basic types of travel insurance you can get for your cruise: primary and secondary. It’s important to know the difference because coverage, time schedules, and payments are directly affected by the type you choose.
Primary Cruise Insurance
Primary insurance policies are in effect from the beginning coverage date to the ending coverage date. For example, you could purchase this type of insurance to protect your trip to the port, throughout the cruise, and on your trip home. This could then cover claims for delayed airline flights, vehicle trouble, and other circumstances you’ve chosen for your policy. When you file a claim and it’s approved, the costs would be reimbursed in a relatively short amount of time.
Secondary Cruise Insurance
Secondary insurance is the kind of coverage that only kicks in after you’ve filed claims on your private insurance policies. For example, if you have a medical problem while on the cruise, a secondary policy would require you to file with your regular health insurance company before filing a claim with them. You can see that this could be catastrophic.
First of all, your private health insurance policy may not cover any medical situation of illness or injury when you’re outside your home country. If your insurance is with the Social Security Medicare Program, for example, none of your medical expenses are covered outside the US. Do you know the rules with your policy? This is not something you want to learn while at sea!
Secondly, you could be required to pay out-of-pocket for medical attention when you receive it at a remote location. Medical care can be quite expensive on a ship and/or at a port in another country. To get a reimbursement, you must wait for two insurance companies to review your claim(s), which can take weeks to resolve. This can be a financial hardship that is best avoided by carefully reading your travel insurance policy details.
Cruise Line Insurance
Once you’ve selected all the details for your primary and/or secondary insurance needs, you’ll have to select an insurer. The two basic choices are cruise line insurance or a third-party insurance company.
Cruise line insurance, which you purchase from your ship’s company, is the most convenient option. However, be aware that most of these policies are secondary (which we know can be less than ideal). Also, there are certain circumstances that cruise line insurance simply does not offer, such as company default. This type of policy is generally a bit more expensive than a similar policy you can find yourself; possibly a convenience fee factor.
Third-Party Travel Insurance
Third-party insurance for your cruise travel is available from dozens of companies. Once you’ve listed the circumstances you want to cover, an online search will reveal many options for policies. The tip here is to only purchase a policy from a licensed, reputable insurance company. Look for a Better Business Bureau seal or check with the U.S. Travel Insurance Association to ensure you are spending your money with a legitimate insurer. If you want to dig deeper, there are plenty of customer ratings and feedback posts about every company.
A cruise can be a substantial investment. So protect your finances by thoughtfully purchasing the proper travel insurance policy for your next vacation – just in case.