The Importance of Cruise Travel Insurance

You’ve planned everything out: your perfect cruise vacation, hotels before and after and flights to get you there and back again. But have you considered travel insurance? You may have been prompted about it when booking, and while it’s easy to dismiss it as something that is not needed at the time, it is indeed something you should consider to protect yourself.

While it’s nowhere near as exciting as researching and reserving a cruise, travel insurance is super important. It’s one of those things that you may not even want to think about – the possibility of something going awry medically or otherwise during vacation – but if you require its services, you’ll be glad you bought it should the worst happen. Less severely, it’s like realizing your television is broken just outside the original manufacturer’s warranty period and wishing you had purchased the extended warranty. Now, that’s a situation you don’t want to be in at sea or abroad.

True, you may buy travel insurance for a cruise and not even need it, but the cost of not having it if you do can be far higher than the nominal upfront cost to proactively cover yourself and traveling companions.

Let me give you a case study. I have been on 109 cruises, all insured, and only once has my family had to put a major travel insurance claim in. The year was 1995, and my parents and I were onboard Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Harmony for a holiday cruise. We had recently enjoyed Christmas onboard before my mom began having severe abdominal pain. The shipboard doctor diagnosed it as appendicitis, and before New Year’s Eve, as the ship transited the Panama Canal, we had to be evacuated from the ship, disembarking in one of the canal locks no less, and then rushed to a hospital.

In the operating room, she had her appendix taken out, but complications ensued as we relocated from Colon to Panama City. We suspect she was actually suffering from an early case of norovirus, not appendicitis after all, but at least the initial surgery removed the unnecessary organ as she recovered from the other symptoms. Living in San Diego, we used the services of local CSA Travel Protection, which covered all ambulance and hospital services, plus hotels and travel home. Mind you, we were in Panama for over a week as her conditions improved, even requiring passport visa services for our time there, again all covered.

It was a trying time for sure, but it would have been far worse without travel insurance, which actually ironed out many wrinkles in the process for us. And in the meantime, my dad and I actually had a wonderful time getting to know Panama and its hospitable and generous people in our time of need. It turned out to be a cruise adventure we had not expected, one we now look back on fondly as my parents and I continue to cruise on to this day.

The point remains this: buy travel insurance for your cruise. You will likely not need it, but if you do, as we did, you’ll have so much more peace of mind, financially and emotionally. Cruise lines offer basic policies, but independent companies cover far more for not much of a difference in cost. Whether you purchase it through your travel agent or independently, I recommend doing so from a third-party with the best overall coverage.

Allianz, for instance, has domestic and international plans, so be sure to get the international one for most cruises, as ships that are foreign-registered have to visit at least one non-domestic port. The company even has a very helpful cruise insurance web page with articles providing more information to guide you here.

Originally published in Travel Pulse News by JASON LEPPERT JANUARY 24, 2017

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Don Korta
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