Cruises are among the most in demand vacations in the United States, more than tripling in popularity over the past five years, according to data from travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth.
Many travelers are taking advantage of cruise sales to book their next vacation and relying on travel insurance to protect their investment. With wave season kicking off this week, Squaremouth shares five key tips for buying cruise insurance in 2019.
Be Wary of Coverage Through your Cruise Line
Travelers with specific concerns, such as a sick family member at home or a pre-existing medical condition, should compare the insurance offered through their cruise line to that of a third-party to ensure they are getting the coverage they need for the lowest price.
Third-party policies typically have more extensive Trip Cancellation and Trip Delay benefits, and can include Pre-Existing Condition coverage, which is typically not covered by cruise line insurance. Third-party policies can also provide coverage for travel before and after your cruise, while cruise line insurance typically only covers portions of your trip purchased directly through the cruise line.
Emergency Evacuation Can Get Pricey
Medical evacuation on cruise ships is often more expensive than typical medical transport costs, especially for cruises to more remote locations. To prepare for these potential expenses, Squaremouth recommends cruisers look for at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage when purchasing a policy for their cruise. This benefit can cover the cost of an evacuation off a cruise boat, or from port, and even back home if deemed necessary.
Don’t Overlook Missed Connection Coverage
If a traveler misses their cruise departure due to bad weather or other airline delays, the Missed Connection benefit can cover their expenses to catch up to their cruise at the next port. This benefit can kick in as soon as three hours into a delay and coverage can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $2,000.
Consider Weather Benefits
As hurricane season is one of the most popular times for cruises, Squaremouth recommends travelers consider selecting a policy that includes hurricane and weather benefits. If bad weather causes cancellations or significant delays in travel plans, typically 12-48 hours, covered cruisers would have the option to cancel a trip and be reimbursed for their trip costs. However, if a cruise ship changes its destination due to inclement weather, travel insurance will not cover the traveler to cancel their trip, as the cruise is still scheduled to take place.
Purchase Coverage Early
Travel insurance only pays claims to travelers who purchase coverage before an event takes place, such as bad weather or illness, so it is key to purchase a policy early in order to get the best possible coverage for their cruise. Travelers who purchase a policy within the first two weeks of their trip deposit date may also be eligible for additional benefits, such as Cancel for Any Reason, Pre-Existing Condition, Financial Default, and Cancel for Work Reasons.
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