by Gerard Walen
Cruise insurance can mean the difference between serene sailing and catastrophic cruising on your high-seas vacation. But read the fine print carefully. Not all policies are the same. Before you set sail, consider whether or not cruise insurance is for you.
Why buy cruise insurance?
Things can go wrong before, during or after your cruise. Insurance can give you the peace of mind that you will be compensated financially for myriad mishaps you might experience. Depending on the specific policy, travel insurance from a reputable company usually covers trip cancellations caused by such occurrences as a death in the family or your house burning down; medical emergencies, which your health insurance usually won’t cover in foreign countries; trip interruption due to illness or an accident; lost, stolen or damaged luggage or other personal items; and medical evacuation to a local hospital or back to the United States.
In addition, some cruise insurance policies will compensate you if a cruise is canceled or cut short because of severe weather or if the cruise company goes out of business, or its employees go on strike.
Other situations that may be covered by cruise insurance include missed connections from a canceled or delayed airline flight and lost or stolen passports.
Cruise insurance can be purchased online or through a travel or insurance agency. A good way to find the right fit for your needs is to use a website that allows travelers to compare travel insurance policies from different major companies. Examples of these sites include Squaremouth.com and insuremytrip.com.
It’s important to read the fine print and understand the limits of coverage. Some cruise insurance policies only cover specific situations or may deny reimbursement for treatment related to a pre-existing medical condition.
Also, check your homeowners insurance policy. In some cases, it will provide insurance coverage for such things as lost or stolen luggage. For short a two- or three-day cruise, insurance provided by your homeowners policy may be comprehensive enough to ease any concerns you may have.
Understand that like any policy, cruise insurance will likely not be used. A cruise is one of the most relaxing, carefree vacation experiences available. Millions of travelers embark on them every year and enjoy nothing but positive experiences. But having a cruise insurance policy can ease any concerns you may have about “what-if” situations. You will invest a lot of money and time into a taking a cruise. Insurance should definitely be considered, especially if you will be far from home and traveling to distant or unfamiliar ports around the world.