Do You NEED Cruise Insurance? Yes, you do!

The question is, do you need cruise insurance when you go on a cruise?  The answer is YES, you definitely do!  At least that’s my two cents worth.  Especially considering that many cruise insurance policies are less than $100/person, it definitely seems like a smart move.  

I LOVE cruises and fortunately, we’ve never been injured or gotten significantly sick on a cruise.  But we’ve seen PLENTY of people who have.  It’s easy enough to do – the ships are pretty safe.  If anything, they remind me of large adult playpens with everything padded and handrailed within an inch of it’s life, but once you get ashore, it’s a very different story.

Here’s a little graphic that shows you just some of the reasons you might need to have cruise insurance.  Betcha haven’t thought about all of these.

Pretty much every one of those could completely ruin your vacation and some of them could be pretty expensive if you didn’t have your cruise insurance in place.   Every one of these things has happened to SOMEONE and it could happen to YOU.  Do yourself a favor and go expecting the best, but prepared for the worst, just in case.

On every cruise we’ve been on, there has been at least two or three medical emergencies and I suspect, a couple of deaths.  I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, but it’s the realities of life.  It’s a big ship full of people, a lot of the passengers are young kids or older folks, so it’s kind of inevitable.

Being sick or hurt in an unfamiliar country is scary enough, but having to deal with sky-high emergency medical care, can add a lot of worries to an already BAD situation.  What if you need an emergency evacuation off the ship or out of a country?  It might save your life, but without cruise insurance, you could be in deep trouble financially.  Or if someone did pass away, I can’t imagine the complications of having to get the body back home – shudder.

My Experiences with Cruise Insurance

I actually have 3 very different examples from my own experience, each with a different outcome:

  • My husband’s elderly aunt had to have knee surgery and had to cancel her cross-country trip to come visit us.  No insurance and she had a very difficult time getting the airline to refund her fare, even with a surgeon’s note.  Even then they gave her a voucher rather than a cash refund.  
  • My parents had a full European cruise and tour planned.  3 days before they sailed, my Dad felt something was wrong.  He ended up with a 5-way heart bypass.  The doctor said he’d have keeled over dead in some canal somewhere.  My parents were BOTH insurance agents, so you can bet they had terrific cruise insurance.  Everything was covered and they took the trip six month’s later.  
  • My father-in-law became very ill and actually passed away barely a week before our planned 25th Anniversary cruise.  It was such a tough decision and we wavered back and forth clear to the last minute, but we finally decided to go to have a rest after all the stress and grief.  We DID have cruise insurance, so that took the money side of it completely OUT of the decision, which was great because we had a zillion other worries on our mind.  

How to Pick your Travel or Cruise Insurance?

So where to get a policy and how to decide on the right one and the right coverage.  You need to be prepared to do your research, just like with every important.  Most of the cruise lines offer their own brand of cruise insurance, but as you might expect, it’s going to be the MOST expensive.

Take a bit of time and shop around.  There are several companies online that offer great travel insurance.  I don’t feel like I have the time to do the proper research to be able to recommend one over the others, but you know where to find that stuff?  The Cruise Boards.  Find the cruise board for your particular cruise line and you’ll find a bunch of repeat cruisers who can give you great recommendations.

Then get a print out of several different policies and compare like crazy.  Look at what they include and what they exclude.  Look at how easy it is to process a claim.  Definitely read the fine print.  You may need to purchase your insurance PRIOR to booking your travel.  Some policies have a limitation that they only cover items you’ve booked AFTER getting the insurance.  Hmmmm.   I wouldn’t have thought about that either.

What Doesn’t Cruise Insurance Cover?

Keep in mind that there are some things that insurance doesn’t cover – if you miss transportation because you’ve been drinking or you’ve forgotten your ID or something dumb – not a chance.  If you miss the boat, unless you’re being held up by pirates, I wouldn’t think the cruise insurance would cover it.  If you find out a big hurricane is coming and hurry to buy cruise insurance the day before, that’s probably not going to fly.  Common sense stuff.

If you want more help with your upcoming cruise, here are more resources to help you:

7 Items you NEED for your Next Cruise

25 Items You might want to Pack for a Cruise

How to Enjoy a Cruise without going Broke or Getting FAT


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The question is do you need cruise insurance for your ridiculously expensive trip?  Yes, YOU DO.  Definitely.  Do yourself a favor and go expecting the best, but prepared for the worst, just in case because some of this bad stuff does happen - every cruise.

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