smoother than that first margarita
Brenda was shocked when the envelope arrived from the cruise travel insurance company.
While at port, she had her new iPhone stolen. She was devastated to lose all the photos from her first three days of their cruise vacation and her expensive device.
She remembered she’d purchased cruise insurance and figured she’d check if they might cover the loss.
When the check came, she was very surprised.
Not only did it reimburse Brenda for her device, but also covered her phone case and screen protector.
We love hearing stories like this. This cruise insurance guide was done with the hopes of creating similar experiences as with Brenda.
Unfortunately, ship happens. When it does, we want you to be prepared.
Cruise Travel Insurance doesn’t have to be complicated.
Our quick guide will help you compare cruise line insurance (like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, etc) with 3rd party providers.
The third-party providers we chose were based on reputation and experience. We found these three cruise insurance providers to be the most widely used and trusted.
We’ll help understand what cruise insurance will cost and what it’ll cover (including pre-existing conditions). Also, why you should never buy cruise insurance through your cruise line. And finally we’ll show you how to buy, if interested.
We’ll answer your most important questions, including the following.
We’ll simplify it as much as possible, starting with the “why.”
We’re often asked, “is cruise insurance worth it?” And we always answer that “it isn’t until it is.” Annoying, right? But it’s true. We might ask you the following.
We do these things “just in case.”
There’s the chance we drop our phone or fall off the chair lift. In those situations, we’re very glad that we took precaution.
Cruise insurance is a similar protection. It’s annoying to deal with until you get your hand bitten on the dolphin-petting excursion.
Chances are that you won’t need it. If you do, though, you’ll really need it.
A survey was done to find out what percentage of cruisers buy cruise insurance. It was significantly more than we’d have guessed, at 67%!
That’s over 2 out of every 3 cruisers that opt in to buy coverage!
Personally, we’ve missed many flights in our decades of traveling. Some were our fault, but others completely out of our control.
We’ve also had to cancel plans due to illness. And very rarely, we’ve gotten hurt while on vacation.
All combined, these incidents probably make up 10% of our vacationing experiences. One in ten times something goes wrong.
This number will vary wildly from person to person. We know some people that seem to miss half their flights. Others never have an issue when traveling.
Your chances of needing insurance will depend on many circumstances. Here are just a few.
We found a few examples in which cruisers were very glad they purchased insurance.
Think about your history and streak of luck when deciding, “is cruise insurance worth it?”
Do you tend to have issues? Or are you one of lucky few for whom things always work out?
Expect to pay between 5% and 10% of your total cruise cost for associated travel insurance. For a cruise costing $1,500 (per passenger), a reasonable policy will be priced at roughly $113. For two passengers, your cruise insurance cost would be roughly $226 for a standard $3,000 vacation.
Obviously this will depend on the specifics of your policy. As a ballpark estimate, expect it to fall somewhere in the range above.
The main factors causing your policy to cost more or less are as follows.
Vacation Cost: An Oceania cruise to the Mediterranean will cost much more to insure than a Carnival sailing to Ensenada. The more expensive the cruise, the costlier the insurance policy.
Age: As we age, we have more medical issues. It’ll cost more to cover the potential medical problems of an 85-year old than a 35-year old. As such, policies will be more expensive as we get older.
Coverage: This will be one of the biggest cost factors. Your coverage can span across different “types” of coverage (medical, dental, baggage loss, trip delay, etc). For each type, you’ll also want to control for “how much insurance coverage do you need for your cruise?” The more you need, the more it’ll cost. We give “Coverage” it’s own dedicated section below.
Itinerary Length: This factors into some policies and not others. The longer your itinerary, the more likely that something can go wrong. Some providers take this into account. This is the least likely of all factors contributing to cruise insurance cost.
Below you’ll find policy costs for an actual Carnival Cruise. We gathered and analyzed plans from the three most reputable cruise travel insurance providers. We also show Carnival Cruise Line’s offered policy.
Carnival offers only one option for coverage. The other providers offer multiple levels of coverage.
We chose the “middle-of-the-road” plan for each of the 3rd party providers to compare.
NOTE: In this case, we’d only choose Carnival’s policy if there was a high likelihood that we would cancel the cruise. Also, we’d need not to be worried about Medical issues if Choosing Carnival Cruise Insurance. If we’re not planning to cancel or want decent medical coverage, this plan is far worse than all others. In our “Coverage” section, we analyze the other three providers to determine which is best based on specific risk factors (cancellation, medical issues, baggage loss, etc).
For a complete look at Carnival’s coverage, check out our post: Cruise Insurance – Carnival vs 3rd Party Providers
Below you’ll find policy costs for an actual Royal Caribbean Cruise. We gathered and analyzed plans from the three most reputable cruise travel insurance providers. We also show the cruise line’s offered policy.
Royal Caribbean offers only one option for coverage. The other providers offer multiple levels of coverage.
We chose the “middle-of-the-road” plan for each of the 3rd party providers.
NOTE: In this case, we’d only choose Royal Caribbean’s policy if there was a high likelihood that we would cancel the cruise. Also, we’d need not to be worried about Medical issues if Choosing Carnival Cruise Insurance. If we’re not planning to cancel or want decent medical coverage, this plan is far worse than all others. In our “Coverage” section, we analyze the other three providers to determine which is best based on specific risk factors (cancellation, medical issues, baggage loss, etc).
A better question is, “how much insurance coverage should I get?”
From the charts above, you can see that different companies prioritize different risks. By “prioritize” we mean “provide more coverage.”
Depending on your situation (health, finances, luck), you’ll be better off with one company vs another.
Here are some scenarios and the insurance provider we would use in each.
I may need to cancel my cruise
Easy one. Use your cruise line’s provider. If cancelling is your biggest risk, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc will all provide the most compensation for cancelling your cruise. Keep in mind, they have very low Medical Coverage. So your risk of cancellation should be very high and risk of health issues very low to go with this option. To get a cruise insurance quote from your cruise line, click your company below.
Health costs are my biggest concern
Use Travelex. They provide the most health care coverage and medical evacuation protection. Additionally, their policy is the least expensive of all providers.
I have pre-existing medical conditions
Use Travelex. They have the shortest “lookback period.” If your condition hasn’t been medically treated in 60 days, you should be all set. With other providers, they require no incidents in 180 days.
I’m worried about travel change fees and missed connections
Use Allianz. They are the only insurance company with $500 allocated to change fees. Additionally, they have $800 carved out for missed connections.
I’m most concerned with policy cost
Use Travelex. They provide the most comprehensive plan at the best rate. From the charts above, you can see a cruise insurance cost of $144 (for two passengers). This is 40% cheaper than the cruise line’s policies and offers better coverage.
I’m worried about travel delays or baggage issues
Use Allianz or the cruise line. Cruise line insurance policies provide more baggage coverage. Though this comes with the risk of poor medical coverage. Allianz has adequate medical and the second best baggage coverage of the four shown above.
I need rental car insurance
Use Travelex. You’ll get the biggest policy with the cheapest deductible and least insurance premium.
Cruise insurance covers Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Financial Default, Terrorism, Baggage Delay / Loss, Medical Treatment, Medical Evacuation and Accidental Death.
These are the most common items in a “Comprehensive Insurance Plan,” which is the default offered by agents.
There are additional benefits you’re able to tack on “al la carte” style if needed.
Below is a description of the items covered in a comprehensive plan.
Cruise Cancellation Insurance is included in your “comprehensive” policy and gets a bit complicated. Broadly, it covers the death, injury or illness of you or a loved one; transportation issues (with or to/from your cruise ship); severe weather resulting in cancelled or delayed cruise; political violence; and issues with your job.
All of these reasons for cancellations have strings attached. It’ll depend on the specific insurer. All will require proof of death, weather, job stuff, etc. Also, receipts will be required so make sure those are kept and in order.
We’ll be preparing an entire post on “when can I cancel a cruise” soon. Please subscribe to our mailing list for notice.
Will Carnival Cruise Lines go bankrupt? Probably not. But, if sailing Roger’s River Cruises, chances are more likely that you’ll have to cancel your cruise due to financial default. Just know that your insurer has your back in the case that cruise company sinks.
This applies to both both foreign and domestic terrorism. If an incident happens within 30 days (or stated time period) of your arrival into port, then the issue should be covered by your policy.
If your Loui Vouitton roller bag ends up at the bottom of the ocean or stolen by a Jamaican hair-braider, no fear. Your cruise insurance covers theft, loss, or damage to your precious cargo. This is typically less than a couple thousand dollars, so it’s probably a good idea to carry with you all laptops, ipads, surprise-engagement-rings, etc.
When you show up to party, but your pants don’t; there’s coverage for that. Your policy will state the amount of time your goodies will need to be delayed. This ranges from five hours up to 24 hours. During that time, you’ll likely need to buy something with which to cover yourself. Your policy will provide a dollar amount per day your bags are delayed. This is typically $100-$250 per day with a maximum ranging from a couple hundred to a couple thousand.
Like baggage delay, this will depend on the amount of time that you’re delayed. Your insurance policy will state how many hours before you start getting paid. The payments are then based on the amount of days you’re delayed. Payments are typically in the low hundreds per day with a maximum set. Check your specific policy for details.
This is the greatest potential risk (along with medical evacuation) when looking at all of the ways that your cruise can go sideways. It’s more than likely that your personal health insurance does not cover international medical assistance. If sailing outside of the US, you need to seriously consider medical insurance. Assistance on the ship or at port can get very expensive, very quickly. How much medical coverage should you have on your cruise? We advice finding a policy with at least $50k.
Along with “medical coverage,” this one is a nail-biter. It poses the greatest financial risk for cruisers. It’s not uncommon to see a helicopter air-lift a passenger for medical reasons. While a helicopter excursion at port will cost $400, an emergency airlift can cost more than $250,000 according to USA Today. It’s very likely that your personal health insurance does not cover international medical assistance. If your policy has inadequate coverage, this could lead to financial ruin. The cruise line insurance plans offer just $50k in coverage. We recommend at least $250k and prefer $500k in our cruise policies.
If you and the spouse are on the fritz, maybe keep this item to yourself. Your cruise insurance policy covers loss of life. It also protects agains loss of body parts. Your specific policy will state the amounts you’ll receive based on each scenario. For example, loss of “either hand or foot” (50%) vs “one hand and one foot” (100%).
Most policies will offer additional coverage both in terms of “amounts” and “incidents” covered. Often, you can pay a little extra to increase coverage. For example, additional death benefits from $50k to $200k will cost an added $20.
“Extra” benefits are included with some plans and also available as an upgrade. These might include some of the following.
We understand that cruise travel insurance is very confusing. Many of the same questions pop up time and time again. Below, find the most frequently asked questions for passengers asking how to buy cruise insurance.
Regarding medical issues, it will not. Nor will your personal health insurance cover health issues if cruising out of the country
For issues like baggage theft, or similar, it may. Your homeowners insurance will possibly cover common travel mishaps. But, you’ll want to weight the pros and cons. Often when filing a claim against this type of policy, your premium will increase. Is it worth replacing a dropped laptop if your premium increases $500 per year? Possibly, but likely not.
A “secondary” policy will only cover costs that your primary plan won’t pay for.
As an example, let’s say your bags are stolen. When claiming it with a secondary policy, they’ll have you first file with your primary provider. If your bags were worth $1,000 and the primary will cover $800 of that, your secondary kicks in. You can attempt to recover that additional $200 in value. The plans that you get directly from the cruise lines are often secondary plans.
One major item to consider her is timing. Insurance providers often take a while to process claims. If you have a primary AND secondary, then this timing can be doubled. All the while, you’ll likely have to come out-of-pocket.
Some insurance providers will allow for pre-existing conditions. Often they’ll make their acceptance contingent on a “lookback period.” Let’s say that you have a heart condition as an example. A provider may still offer coverage provided no incidents in a lookback period of 90 days. That means, if no heart incidents have occurred in the past 90 days, you’ll be able be considered “medially stable” and able to purchase that policy.
It’s often between 60 and 180 days. Cruise lines do not allow pre-existing conditions. Third party providers vary. Here are three examples from the most well-known 3rd party providers.
We advise having no less than $50k in Cruise Health Coverage and $250k in Medical Evacuation. Health expenses are the riskiest piece of this pie. Overseas (literally) costs can be outrageous and options are limited once you set sail.
Most personal health insurance policies do not cover international health incidents. That is why it’s very important to get coverage.
We surveyed our cruise community and had hundreds of responses. According to the results, more than 2 out of every 3 cruisers get covered. Of those that answered, 67% purchase a cruise insurance travel plan.
Most plans will not reimburse you for loyalty points used. They consider these points as having no value, strangely. However, Allianz offers protection. They’ll pay up to $500 to get those points reinstated. If points are an important piece of your vacation booking expense, then we suggest Allianz.
If you cruise more than twice per year, then year-round travel insurance is a good option. You can acquire this from all three of our providers (Allianz, Travelex & Travel Guard). Just note, that year-round travel insurance includes very little (if any) cancellation coverage.
The hard part is knowing what policy you want. “How to buy cruise insurance” is easy.
Below, you’ll find each insurance provider with specific instructions on how to buy.
Travelex – Travelex provides a quick and easy online tool to get an insurance quote for your cruise. You’ll input cruise cost, state of residence, ages of travelers, and sail dates. It’ll spit out a couple choices.
Click here to get a free quote from Travelex.
Allianz – Allianz provides a quick and easy online tool to get an insurance quote for your cruise. You’ll input cruise cost, state of residence, ages of travelers, and sail dates. It’ll spit out a couple choices.
Click here to get a free quote from Allianz.
Travel Guard – Travel Guard provides a quick and easy online tool to get an insurance quote for your cruise. You’ll input cruise cost, state of residence, ages of travelers, and sail dates. It’ll spit out a couple choices.
Click here to get a free quote from Travel Guard.
Cruise Line – Regardless of the cruise line you’re sailing, your cruise company will offer insurance.
To purchase from the cruise line, you can speak with your agent or call the line directly. Again, please note that this is not recommended.
Cruise Travel Insurance is a boring topic. We hope that we’ve cleared things up a bit.
We want your vacation goes exactly as planned. If not, we hope that you’re covered.
Cruise insurance will provide the financial protection and ‘peace of mind’ to maximize your enjoyment.
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