If your cruise vacation gets interrupted — or worse, cancelled — it can mean lots of money down the drain. So is this an investment that should be protected by travel insurance? Here’s how to determine if it’s a smart purchase for your next sailing:
Learn what’s covered.
Buying travel insurance can ease your worries by covering all or some of your travel expenses if your trip is disrupted because of an illness in the family, weather, or travel delays. However, plans vary widely, so make sure you know what situations your insurance covers.
Research your options.
You have two choices from which to buy insurance: your cruise line or a third party — and the coverage can be quite different. While cruise lines usually offer one plan, third parties provide a variety of choices with different price points and deductibles. Third-party insurers also sell a la carte options — such as being able to cancel for any reason, flight coverage, and car accident protection — for additional fees.
Cruise lines don’t cover preliminary expenses, like airfare or hotel stays, that a third-party package offers. So if you’re driving to a port, the cruise line package may suffice, while if you have to fly, you may want to consider a third-party plan that will cover travel expenses, baggage costs, and other unexpected fees.
Consider the amount of coverage you want.
Cruise line plans differ from company to company, but generally, they’ll reimburse you for canceling the cruise for certain illnesses and injuries. However, the time and reason for canceling are both factors in determining what portion of the fare you’ll get back.
Insurance companies offer lower prices than cruise lines, but their rates are often based on age and the amount of coverage. The cruise line and third party’s price points don’t equal out until the insurance company’s third age bracket — 60-69 years old. There are also fees for preexisting conditions. However, if you purchase insurance when first booking your trip, some plans waive the fee.
Read the fine print.
Make sure you know the details of your plan so — should you need to make a claim — you’re not surprised when something isn’t covered or your reimbursement isn’t for the total amount. Pay attention to maximum reimbursement amounts on trip delays, medical issues, and lost baggage.