Get the right travel insurance for you
A specialist cruise insurance policy differs from a traditional policy as it is designed specifically to cover eventualities that could happen on board...
Many travel insurance policies specifically exclude cruises, and cover for this type of trip is usually obtained by paying to add extra protection on to an existing policy or by searching for a policy that specifically includes cruise cover.
A cruise insurance policy will cover you for a range of things including all the standard items of cover...
A comprehensive travel insurance policy will offer you high levels of cover for eventualities such as emergency medical treatment, baggage loss, cancellation, personal liability and delay - all things that you would expect from a standard policy.
However, cruise policies also offer extra protection. For example, many will offer cover for missed shore or port visits that may arise when scheduled trips are cancelled due to bad weather or timetable limitations. Cover would ensure you were compensated if you missed a port stop that you had been particularly looking forward to.
Cabin confinement is another feature of many cruise insurance policies. This is to cover you if you were to get ill while at sea and had to stay in your cabin. Similarly, it may also include protection for unused excursions. If you had booked and paid for excursions and were then unable to go on them due to illness, you would be compensated.
You may also be offered extended baggage cover - or be able to bolt it on as an extra. This is because you don't have the same strict weight restrictions on a cruise as you do on a flight (unless it's a fly cruise), meaning you can bring more luggage. You are likely to be dressing up in the evenings too, so may take more clothes away with you than you usually would, along with valuables such as jewellery - therefore cover like this is important.
With all insurance policies it's important to check that the cover on offer suits your own needs. Cruise insurance is no different...
There are all sorts of activities on board cruise ships, from golf to ballroom dancing. However, if there are more extreme sports you are thinking of trying out, it's important that you check these are covered by your policy as many exclude these due to the level of risk.
You will also need to let your insurer know before you purchase your policy if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Not doing so could invalidate your insurance and leave you severely out of pocket if you had to put in a claim.
Be sure to check how much cover you have for cancellation too. A cruise can be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many, therefore it would be terrible if, for unforeseen reasons such as illness, you had to cancel and lost the money you had paid for the trip. The cover on your policy should be at least equal to the amount you paid for the trip, including excursions and trips. And it's always wise to buy your travel insurance at the same time as you book your holiday - that way you're covered for cancellation from the moment you book, as well as having protection while you're away.
Finally, make sure you are honest about your age. Many policies will have an upper age limit and if you exceed this you will need to consider a different insurance policy.
Making a decision between purchasing an annual insurance policy and a single trip policy will depend on the frequency of your holidays...
A single-trip policy will cover you for just one trip, whereas a multi-trip annual policy will cover you for a number of separate trips over the course of a year.
In the short term, a multi-trip policy will clearly be more expensive; however, if you are likely to be taking more than two trips in 12 months, then, chances are, it will be more cost-effective. It also takes away the hassle of having to organise a separate policy each time you travel and so is a great option for frequent travellers or those who like to jet off at the last minute.