Planning a Cruise Ship Holiday? Find affordable policies from Australian travel insurance brands
Travel insurance is as necessary for cruise travellers as it is for anyone who holidays outside Australia. That’s because even if you’re cruising in Australian waters, once you leave port, you are no longer covered by Medicare or your private health insurance.
Cruise ships present a unique set of risks. You could get sick and have to be airlifted to the nearest port or the ship could breakdown resulting in the cancellation of your cruise. Scenarios like these are a real concern and without travel insurance, the cost would be borne solely by you.
Even when a cruise provider accepts some of the costs incurred for a trip cancellation, their reimbursement is rarely for the full amount and is often in the form of credits for future travel rather than cash. So having travel insurance is the only safe way to ensure you will not be out of pocket if something goes wrong on your cruise.
Comparison of Cruise Ship Travel Insurance Policies
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How to Compare Cheap Cruise Travel Insurance
When comparing cheap cruise insurance, the first thing to look at is whether a policy has sufficient cover for medical, hospital and evacuation expenses.
You should also check if the policy provides sufficient cover for trip interruptions and cancellations. Other important items you should compare include:
- The excess – how much you have to pay yourself when making a claim
- The exclusions – what circumstances are not covered
- The extras – whether cover extends to things such as pre-existing medical conditions, dental emergencies, car hire excess and adventurous activities on shore excursions
- The limits – whether lost or stolen luggage cover includes individual limits and whether these are high enough to cover replacement of valuable items such as cameras and electronics.
Comparing cheap cruise insurance is similar to comparing any insurance policies. They are legal documents, so you should always read them carefully, particularly the fine print and seek advice if unsure about any aspect before signing on the dotted line.Back to top
How to Get Cheap Cruise Insurance
There are several ways you can obtain travel insurance for your cruise. If it is part of a larger holiday, you may be covered automatically by your holiday travel insurance policy.
Alternatively, the cruise organiser may offer travel insurance at the time of booking your cruise. While this would provide some protection, it is generally not recommended, as it will usually not cover medical or evacuation expenses, which are the biggest costs you are likely to incur. cheap cruise insurance usually does not cover potential insolvency or financial default either.
Another way you could obtain cheap cruise insurance is through a travel agent, but you will likely pay more for it because travel agents receive a commission on every policy they sell and that commission is built into the price of the insurance.
An insurance comparison site will allow you to compare a number of different brands and choose the right cover from the right insurer at the right price.Back to top
What is Covered by Cheap Cruise Insurance?
A good cheap cruise travel insurance policy will cover you in a variety of different situations. These might include:
- You fall ill at sea and are treated in the ship’s sickbay, where you are charged at private health insurance rates. You are then airlifted to the nearest hospital, where you are treated for several days and undergo surgery, before being airlifted home to Australia. Without cruise travel insurance, the bill for this could be in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- You fall ill two days before departing on your cruise and when you cancel, you are hit with a huge cancellation penalty or even forced to forfeit the entire cost of the cruise. A good cheap cruise insurance policy would compensate you for most, if not all, of the money you lost.
- You get to the port of departure on time, but the airline misdirects your baggage and it misses the boat. Without cruise travel cover for lost or stolen belongings, you would be forced to purchase new clothes and personal items onboard the ship at exorbitant prices. With cruise travel insurance, your luggage is located and is waiting for you at the next port of call.
Many people don’t realise that as well as covering the costs of emergencies and inconveniences, good cheap cruise insurance can also be invaluable in other ways. Many insurers provide overseas assistance to their customers in need, including helping them to find emergency accommodation, tracking lost luggage and facilitating cash transfers.Back to top
Cheap Cruise Insurance General Exclusions?
As with all insurance policies, certain exclusions apply to the cover provided and these exclusions vary from insurer to insurer, which is why it’s so important to compare policies before buying. Typical general exclusions found in most cheap cruise insurance policies include:
- Weather. You cannot claim for a cruise that is ruined by inclement weather. However, some policies do provide interruption cover for holidays disrupted by violent weather such as a hurricane.
- Itinerary. You cannot claim for changes to the cruise itinerary.
- Irresponsible behaviour. Acts resulting from reckless behaviour while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not covered.
- Adventurous activities. Most policies exclude activities considered adventurous and thus higher risk and you will usually need to get extra cover for these if you plan to do them during shore excursions.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. These are often excluded and when covered, usually only if you have declared them at the time of taking out the policy and paid an extra fee for coverage.
- Acts of war. Any act of war, civil unrest or terrorism that disrupts your holiday will not be covered in most cheap cruise insurance policies.
Cruise Travel Tips
There are things you can do to ensure that if you do have a problem on your cruise and end up having to make a claim, it will be more likely to be accepted and paid. These include:
- Keeping records. Having receipts for your valuable items and taking a copy of your policy with you on your cruise will ensure a smoother claims process if anything is lost or stolen.
- Listing contacts. Take all important contact numbers with you on your cruise, including your insurer’s emergency contact information plus phone numbers for the Australian embassy and local police at your ports of call.
- Obtaining a police report. If you are a victim of a crime whilst ashore, a report from the local police will be required by your insurer when you make a claim, so don’t forget to get one.
- Keeping an eye on belongings. Many insurers will not pay claims for lost or stolen belongings where it is suspected they were left unattended or with strangers. Always keep your valuables in the cabin safe or with the purser and keep your luggage in sight at all times when onshore.
FAQs About Travel Insurance for Cruise Ships
Q. What kinds of things does cheap cruise insurance cover?
A. It typically covers things like medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip interruption or cancellation and baggage delay or loss.
Q. What about if I have special needs?
A. If you require specific cover for pre-existing medical conditions or because you plan to undertake adventurous activities during your cruise, you should check the policy exclusions and take out extra cover if required.
Q. When should I buy my cruise travel insurance?
A. As soon as you have booked and paid for your cruise. That way, you are covered for the cost if you are forced to cancel before you leave.
Q. How do I claim on my policy?
A. You will need to contact your insurer as soon as possible and to fill out a claim form, which can usually be done online.
Q: Does cruise insurance cover me for scuba diving?
A. Beach activities such as snorkelling and surfing are usually covered, but scuba diving will require you to have a current Australian dive licence or be accompanied by a licensed instructor and even then, only to a certain depth.
Compare Cheap Cruise Insurance Policies
As can be seen, cruise insurance is similar to general travel insurance in many ways, but has specific elements that are unique to cruising. The main one of these is the importance of medical and evacuation cover. This is because medical facilities on a ship are necessarily more limited than those found onshore and evacuation to a hospital can involve hundreds and sometimes even thousands of miles of travel.Back to top