Cruise Travel Insurance Australia: Compare Policies and Save
Okay, so you’ve just booked your dream cruising trip and your head is filled with visions of palm-fringed beaches and cocktails by the pool. The last thing you want to be doing is thinking about something as boring as insurance. Besides, what could possibly go wrong on your dream holiday?
Countless people have fallen into the trap of neglecting to get travel insurance, and have then had to pay for their lack of foresight later on. Travel is unpredictable; flights can be delayed or missed, luggage can get lost, illness can strike, and volatile political situations in foreign countries can make things pretty hairy for tourists.
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- What is Cruise Travel Insurance and Do I Need It?
- Key Features to Consider for Travel Insurance for Cruise Holidays
- What is Generally Excluded on Cruise Travel Insurance Policies?
- Pros and Cons of Cruise Travel Insurance
- How Much Does Cruise Travel Insurance Cost?
- Tips to Compare Cruise Travel Insurance and Buy Quality Cover
- Cruise Travel Insurance F.A.Qs
With this in mind, travel insurance is a vital expense whenever you’re booking an overseas holiday. It ensures peace of mind and can prevent your holiday — and your bank balance— being ruined.
But just as with any other type of insurance, it’s essential to find the right travel insurance policy for your situation so you’re covered for everything you need and nothing you don’t. If you’re taking a cruising holiday, cruise travel insurance is tailored to save you time, money and stress should anything go wrong on your trip.
What is Cruise Travel Insurance and Do I Need It?
When the Carnival Triumph lost power and was stranded at sea for several days in early 2013, it ruined the holidays of many, and also quite clearly demonstrated how holidays don’t always run smoothly. Unforeseen problems can and often do arise, and investing in travel insurance can stop those problems from destroying your holiday.
Cruise travel insurance is designed specifically with cruise holidays in mind, offering tailored coverage for this type of holiday. It offers you security against the unexpected, protection against the possibility of losing the money spent on your holiday and, perhaps most importantly of all, peace of mind.
Cruise travel insurance typically includes features such as financial reimbursement for trip cancellation or interruption, medical insurance and medical evacuation if you fall ill or are injured on the trip, and coverage for lost baggage.
Cover for unexpected medical events
There are many benefits to travel insurance, and it has gone from being seen as an unnecessary gimmick to a must-have when heading away on holidays. Without travel insurance, what would you do if you fell critically ill while overseas? Large cruise liners have their own medical centres and medical treatment given on board is private, so you can expect to be charged as such. If the condition is too serious to be treated on board or wherever you may be, would you be able to afford the possible need for emergency evacuation?
Cover for unexpected cancellations
Alternatively, what would happen if, for example, you had already booked and paid for your cruise holiday but then discovered you wouldn’t be able to travel due to health issues? Some companies refuse to offer full refunds once the trip has been booked and paid for, and without travel insurance you’d have little chance of seeing your money again. Could you afford to simply wave goodbye to a big chunk of cash for a holiday you never got to enjoy.
When you take into account all the problems and issues that can arise with any holiday, it makes sense to invest in travel insurance. And while it may seem annoying to fork out extra money when booking your trip, purchasing cruise travel insurance could very well end up saving you a lot of money, time and emotional pain in the long run.
Key Features to Consider for Travel Insurance for Cruise Holidays
- Medical expenses. Accidents do happen, and dealing with a medical emergency when you’re a long way from a hospital can be a nightmare. Cruise travel insurance covers expensive medical, hospital and ambulance costs overseas.
- Emergency evacuation. If you’re struck down by a serious illness or injury while travelling, for example a heart attack or stroke, your cruise travel insurance policy will cover medical evacuation by road or air to the nearest appropriate medical facility, which could even include transport back home to Australia.
- Trip interruption. What happens if you’re halfway into your cruise around the South Pacific when the ship develops a critical mechanical problem and the trip is cancelled? Cruise travel insurance covers you in situations like these and you’ll be able to recoup your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Trip delay. Maybe you’re in a car accident on the way to the port, or perhaps your flight is delayed and you end up missing the ship. Travel insurance covers these sort of unfortunate delays and issues.
- Trip cancellation. As mentioned above, if something happens and you are forced to cancel your holiday before it even begins — things like illness, accidents and job loss — travel insurance can cover your non-refundable trip costs so you don’t end up out of pocket.
- Baggage delay/loss. What happens if an airline misplaces or loses your luggage, leaving you to board the ship with only the clothes on your back? Travel insurance can make sure your bags make it to the next port, or cover the loss if your bags are gone for good.
- Financial default. If one of the travel providers you’ve booked your holiday through goes bankrupt, some policies will cover you. Make sure to read the fine print; don’t simply assume this feature will be included in your policy.
What is Generally Excluded on Cruise Travel Insurance Policies?
When shopping for cruise travel insurance, it’s vital that you read the fine print first to make sure you know exactly what your coverage entails. You don’t want to find yourself stuck overseas somewhere trying to deal with an unforeseen problem, only to get the nasty surprise that your insurance policy will leave you high and dry. The following are generally not covered by cruise travel insurance policies:
- Irresponsible behaviour. Don’t expect the insurance company to come to your rescue if you’ve done something reckless while under the influence of alcohol or left your baggage unattended. The same applies to problems resulting from illegal behaviour.
- Weather. Inclement weather (ie, your meant-to-be-sunny Mediterranean cruise hampered by a week of rain and drizzle) is not covered by travel insurance, but coverage may be available if your trip is impacted by a cyclone.
- Adventure activities. If you want to indulge in high-octane pursuits like BASE jumping, skydiving and hang gliding, feel free — just be aware that most policies don’t cover these activities.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. These may be excluded, unless you’ve made a specific arrangement with the insurer.
- Others. Acts of civil unrest, acts of war or acts of terrorism that disrupt your holiday will usually not be covered by travel insurance policies.
As always, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best type of coverage for your situation and the holiday you’re planning.
Pros and Cons of Cruise Travel Insurance
- Spending a little extra when booking can save you a lot of money (and stress) in the long run.
- Things can and quite often do go wrong on holidays, and cruise travel insurance can protect you against unforeseen problems. Whether it’s a missed connection, lost baggage or even an emergency medical situation, travel insurance can come in very handy.
- You’re safeguarded against financial loss. Travel insurance can help you recoup non-refundable trip costs when you’re forced to cancel your holiday.
- Some policies will include cover for your children as well.
- Some cruise companies will not even allow you to travel without having travel insurance for the entire length of your holiday. Not only is cruise travel insurance a wise investment, it’s also a necessary one.
- Some policies include limits on valuables, so if your expensive laptop or tablet gets stolen while travelling, you might not be fully reimbursed for those items.
- Keep an eye out for exclusions. Most travel policies will not cover you in certain situations, for example if you’re behaving recklessly or participating in adventure activities, so make sure you know exactly what your policy includes.
- Travel insurance will not cover changes to your trip itinerary.
- When examining the premium and excess you will have to pay, make sure the amount you are paying reflects the quality of the cover.
How Much Does Cruise Travel Insurance Cost?
It’s not possible to put an average price on cruise travel insurance because the amount each person pays is influenced by a wide range of factors:
- Your age
- The destination you are travelling to
- Any pre-existing medical conditions you may have
- The duration of your trip
- The type of policy and features chosen. Policy add-ons and features like upgraded coverage limits can affect the price.
- The number of people covered under the policy
- The total cost of your trip
- The activities you will be participating in while travelling
It pays to shop around to find the right policy and the best deal for you, but don’t simply be sucked in by the provider offering the cheapest price. Make sure you know exactly what your policy covers so you don’t end up with a nasty surprise later on that will completely ruin your holiday.
Tips to Compare Cruise Travel Insurance and Buy Quality Cover
- Buy direct from the insurer. It’s no secret that travel agents get big commissions from insurers for selling their policies, so cut out the middle man and go direct to the insurer. Head online to find the right cruise travel insurance policy for you.
- Read the fine print. Yes, it may be boring to the point of being physically painful, but take the time to read the Product Disclosure Statement thoroughly. Don’t be sucked in by the marketing slogans and flashy websites; read the policy booklet well and examine what is covered. You’ll likely be visiting multiple countries on a cruise, so check your policy will cover you at every destination.
- Check the exclusions. “But I didn’t know it wasn’t covered” is an excuse that won’t fly with your insurer. If you’re an adventure junkie, does your policy cover things like skydiving and bungee jumping? If you’re planning on hiring a scooter or a motorbike at one of the ports you stop at, will this be included in your coverage? Also make sure to check the medical coverage closely when determining what is excluded from your policy. Sort this out first and you won’t get caught out later.
- Medical expenses. Look for a policy with a high coverage limit on your medical care. You want to make sure your hospital bills are covered so you can get the best possible care. It also makes sense to look for a policy that covers emergency evacuation.
- Plan ahead. It’s impossible to predict the future, but if you’re travelling to a notoriously unstable country or one perhaps famous for its volcanoes, check each policy to see what exclusions would apply in possible scenarios.
- Read reviews and compare. Hit the online forums to see what other people have to say about their experiences with cruise travel insurance. Read product reviews and utilise comparison websites like finder.com.au.
Cruise Travel Insurance F.A.Qs
Q. Do I really need cruise travel insurance?
A. Yes. The old saying that “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel” is more than just a cliché. Travel insurance will save you money, time and a whole lot of stress should your best-laid holiday plans fall apart, and cruise travel insurance is specifically tailored to cover common problems that may occur on cruising holidays.
Q. What sorts of things does cruise travel insurance cover?
A. Cruise travel insurance policies will typically cover things like:
- Your medical expenses if you fall ill or are injured while travelling
- Emergency evacuation if you need to be transported to hospital
- Trip interruption and delay due to things like missed connecting flights
- Trip cancellation due to factors like illness or job loss
- Baggage delay and/or loss
Q. What if I have specialist needs?
A. The best thing to do is to read the fine print and speak to your insurer. Some policies won’t cover things like adventure activities or if you are pregnant, so you may need to look into adding additional coverage to make sure you’re protected.
Q. When should I buy cruise travel insurance?
A. Your best bet is to take out cover as soon as you have booked and paid for your trip, or at least forked out for a deposit. This way you are covered if you are forced to cancel the trip of if your travel company or airline goes broke, allowing you to recoup your prepaid costs and deposits.
Q. How do I make a claim?
A. This will usually involve filling out a claim form. Speak to your insurance provider about where to get a copy of the form — it is usually available through the provider’s website.
Looking to Apply for Cruise Travel Insurance?
If you are gearing up for your next cruise holiday and are not quite sure what policy to apply for, you can compare policies from the providers featured in the table above and receive a preliminary quote. Once you have found a policy suitable for your situation and are happy with the price, you can purchase your cover securely online in a matter of minutes. Before rushing to your wallet to hand over your card details, finder.com.au recommends you take the time to read through the product disclosure statement to ensure you are happy the policies terms and conditions.