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Cruise Travel Insurance Tips, Prices and Options

All of our baggage arrived at the cruise ship -- except for the one with all of the clothes for our son. The ship left the harbor before we could track down the taxi that still had his bag.

Our visit to St. Kitts was interrupted by my sudden tooth infection. After a great deal of pain and trouble, we located one of only two part-time dentists on the island.

These are only two real scenarios where cruise travel insurance would have helped us. But does that mean anyone going on a cruise should buy it?

Cruise travel insurance is available from many cruise lines, travel vendors such as Expedia and Travelocity, retailers such as Costco, as well as directly from insurance providers such as Allianz and TravelGuard.

In many cases, the cruise lines and vendors provide the insurance from the same company -- Stonebridge Casualty Insurance Company in Plano Texas.

Types of Coverage

In many cases, they also provide the same types of coverage:

Flight assistance in case a flight is delayed and another one is needed.

Lost baggage for that taxi that drives away without unloading it.

Emergency cash if a wallet is lost or stolen.

Trip interruption or cancellation in the case of a Caribbean hurricane.

Medical expenses when that tooth erupts into an infection on a far off island. Even worse, a serious medical emergency may require airlifting off a cruise ship to the nearest hospital.

Emergency evacuation when a ship runs aground, has a fire or some other accident.

Involuntary job loss when the company hits the traveler with a layoff right before the start of the trip.

War or terrorism in what would be a worst case scenario for a cruise ship in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Financial default by the travel provider.

Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean also provide complete cancellation coverage for people who might have the slightest doubt about whether they will be able to go on their trip.

The RC policy waives the non-refundable cancellation penalties and refunds the entire cost of the tickets in cash if the traveler needs to cancel for a specified reason. For any other reason, RC will provide a 75 percent credit for future cruises.

Cruise Insurance Examples

In addition to the cancellation program, Royal Caribbean offers a basic cruise insurance program that includes:

  • Trip delays provides coverage up to $500 per person.
  • Accident and sickness medical expenses coverage up to $10,000 per person.
  • Emergency medical evacuations (to the nearest hospital) and repatriations (back to the home country) provides coverage up to $25,000 per person.
  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage coverage up to $1,500.
  • Baggage delay coverage up to $500

Carnival offers the same cancellation program as Royal Caribbean that provides a 100 percent refund for “specified reasons" and a 75 percent credit for “any other reason."

Carnival's base program includes:

  • In the case of a trip delay, reimbursement of up to $500 for additional accommodations, meals and "catch-up" transportation expenses for anyone who misses the cruise departure because of carrier-caused delays or other specified reasons.
  • Up to $1,500 for baggage or personal property that is lost or damaged and $500 to buy “necessary personal effects" if bags are delayed or misdirected by a common carrier for more than 24 hours.
  • Up to $10,000 for medical expenses related to an illness or up to $10,000 for expenses related to an injury.
  • Up to $30,000 in covered medical services and supplies (coordinated by a 24-hour assistance provider) to help ensure safe transport in case of a serious illness or injury that requires air or ground transportation back home or to a specialized facility.

    Insurance Costs

    Costs vary greatly depending on the length of the trip, the amount of coverage and other factors. But many policies start for less than $50.

    For example, the Norwegian Cruise Line BookSafe Travel Protection Plan is available starting at $29 per person, depending on the amount of fare paid for the cruise. has a quick and easy quote service. It requires three basic pieces of information:

    • Destination country
    • Departure date
    • Return date
    • Trip cost for each traveler
    • Birth date of each traveler

    The company provides several plans with different levels of coverage. The Silver Plan includes:

    • 100% trip cost, cancellation or interruption
    • $500 for trip Interruption (return air only)
    • $500 for trip delay
    • $750 for baggage and personal effects
    • $200 for baggage delay
    • $15,000 for accident or sickness medical expenses

    An example of a trip to Barbados using the Silver Plan had a start date of Oct. 19, an end date of Oct. 26 and a deposit date of June 1. The travellers were two people ages 58 and 56.

    The quote including $7 in fees was $129 or $64.50 per person. It did not include an emergency evacuation upgrade ($8 more), renters collision or flight protection ($18 more).

    Changing the ages, travel dates or trip costs to a lower amount did not change the premium. Increasing the trip cost did increase the premiums.

    Shop Around for Suitable Policies

    Whether or not to buy cruise insurance comes down to personal considerations for many people including medical condition, job situation, a simple sense of security, the time of year and threat of bad weather.

    It pays first to identify the basic types of coverage that are most desirable and then compare the numerous available plans to find the best one.
    Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

     > Category: Cruise Tips   Cruise Tips   

    August 18, 2014
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