Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Caribbean Cruise

Caribbean Travel Insurance Tips and Tricks

Caribbean travel insurance is worth considering, but whether to buy it depends on price, destination and time of year among other factors.

The Caribbean is the most popular cruise destination in the world. But the region also is known for its annual hurricane season that goes from June through November. A hurricane that strikes an island or the path of a cruise ship will cut the vacation short.

Major hurricanes also impact cruise travel because they bring rain and clouds to wide areas throughout the Caribbean. But it’s not just hurricanes that can disrupt a Caribbean vacation.

In a real situation, I developed a painful tooth infection while vacationing on St. Kitts. I had to rush to one of only two dentists on the island. He wasn’t covered by my insurance company, so I had to pay everything out of pocket. Otherwise, I might have been forced to leave the island early.

This is a real scenario where travel insurance might cover unexpected losses. But does that mean anyone going to the Caribbean should buy insurance? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends on the situation.

For example, one of the best times to buy Caribbean travel insurance is during September and October at the peak of the Caribbean hurricane season. Cruise ships will vary course to avoid hurricanes, but an island doesn’t move. So resort vacationers have an especially good reason to consider insurance if they travel then.

Caribbean travel insurance is available from many cruise lines, travel vendors such as Expedia and Travelocity, retailers such as Costco that offer travel insurance, 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

Insurance from different sources often 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, which happened to us one time.
  • 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, such as a travel agency.
Caribbean hurricane
Caribbean travel insurance can protect travelers from hurricanes that disrupt vacations. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Travelers who cancel cruise trips in advance can get refunds depending on how far in advance they cancel the trip.

Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean also provide complete cancellation coverage for a fee for people who might have the slightest doubt about whether they will be able to go on their trip. These options are good for last-minute cancellations.

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 provide 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 fee-based 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 five basic pieces of information:

    • Destination country
    • Departure date
    • Return date
    • Where you live
    • Trip cost for each traveler
    • Birth date of each traveler
    • Payment date

    The company has several plans with different levels of coverage. The Preferred Plan includes:

    • 100 percent of trip cost, cancellation or interruption
    • 150 percent for trip interruption (return air only)
    • $800 for trip delay
    • $1,000 for lost or stolen baggage
    • $300 for baggage delay
    • $50,000 for medical expenses
    • $30,000 for accidental death

    An example of a December trip to Aruba using the Preferred 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 64 and 62.

    The quote for $4,000 in travel costs was $311 or $155.50 per person.

    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. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
    February 02, 2023

10 Best Eastern Caribbean Ports

Atlantis Bahamas
An eastern Caribbean cruise is an easy choice for someone going on their first cruise. Here are the top 10 ports.

Best Southern Caribbean Ports

Southern Caribbean cruise ports have some of the warmest weather. Winter is a great time to go.

Top Western Caribbean Ports

Western Caribbean cruise ports are all about great excursions in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Belize.

5 Carnival Cruise Tips to Know Before Going

Caribbean Cruise Weather Forecasts - Monthly Tips

Caribbean Cruise Ports of Call: Eastern, Western, Southern

Western Caribbean Cruise Tips: Ports, Attractions, Weather

Snuba Cruise Excursions Offer Underwater Adventures