5 real-life examples of why you need cruise travel insurance

Richard Laycock 28 September 2016

SYDNEY - NOVEMBER 22: The Iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge busy with tourist visitors docked a cruise ship . November 22, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.

Cruise travel is gaining popularity with Aussie travellers, but it comes with a heightened degree of risk.

Aussies are keen on cruising, and there are more cruise lines to choose from than ever before. At finder, we've seen queries for cruise travel insurance Australians increase 56.79% over the last year. According to the Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, in the decade between 2004 and 2014, the total number of cruise passengers grew more than six-fold, from 158,415 passengers in 2004 to a whopping 1,003,246 passengers in 2016.

But what happens when things go wrong? We spoke with Craig Morison, the chief operating officer for Fast Cover, and he revealed just how often cruise insurance has been utilised by Fast Cover customers:

  • Between 1 January and 30 June 2016, 10.1% off all medical claims were made by people who had been on a cruise.
  • In 2015, 5 out of Fast Cover's top 10 highest claims were from cruises.
  • The largest claim in 2015 was for over $190,000 and made by an elderly woman who injured her spine after falling out of bed while her cruise sailed through rough seas.

Here are five examples of where things have gone wrong, starting with that mega-claim:

  1. Claire, a 72-year-old woman from NSW, needed over $190,000 worth of medical assistance after she fell and injured her spine while on a cruise to South America. The accident occurred when the vessel hit rough seas and tossed her from her bed. Luckily she was fully insured and covered for all expenses, including medical costs and cancellation.
  2. George, 89 years old, was on a month-long cruise to the United States. While aboard he slipped and broke his hip. George needed to be repatriated back to his Port Macquarie home for surgery and was also on the hook for over $81,000 worth of medical expenses. Allianz Global Assistance, the underwriter of Fast Cover policies, transported him back to Australia, coordinated his flights and provided cover for his hospital and medical expenses.
  3. Diane, 70 years old, was on a cruise through Asia with her husband when she was struck down with an unexplained illness. Diane was evacuated from the ship and taken to an intensive care unit, where she received treatment for inflammation in her lungs. Her travel insurance policy covered $29,000 worth of medical bills, along with her flights home with a nurse and emergency oxygen.
  4. David and his wife Laurel, both 75, celebrated their wedding anniversary with a cruise around the Pacific Islands. While aboard the ship, David slipped and injured his hip. David required a nurse to escort him home and, in addition to his other medical expenses, the bill for his injury came to roughly $24,000. Luckily the two had spent $280 on a travel insurance policy before going away.
  5. Carol and Vincent, a couple in their seventies from Brisbane, were getting ready to depart on a worldwide cruise. Unfortunately, in the week before they were meant to depart, Carol fell over in their yard and broke her ankle, which meant they would have to cancel their holiday. Because they had taken out a travel insurance policy that covered cancellation, for which they'd paid less than $800, they were able to be reimbursed for more than $20,000 worth of lost deposits.

Remember: while those examples all involve older passengers, repatriation doesn't get any cheaper if you're younger.

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