Why You Should Never Leave Port Without a Cruise Travel Insurance Policy: Interview with FastCover CEO Dean Van Es
FastCover CEO Dean Van Es sheds some light on the importance of having travel insurance in place for your cruise trip.
- Q. Fast Cover recently reported that cruise-related travel insurance claims were some of the largest paid in 2015. Why are expenses for cruise mishaps so significant?
- A. When you go on a cruise, even just along the coast of Australia, you will probably not be covered by Medicare. It is likely you’ll see a doctor that is not registered with Medicare and you’ll pay for medical attention and treatment at private rates, the same as you would when overseas. Hospitalisation can cost $5000 on board each day and repatriation is even more costly. Plus medical costs on the ship are usually priced in US dollars.
- Q. Does cruise travel present unique risks to travellers? What are these?
- A. Anecdotally I would say cruises present a higher chance of injuring yourself by falling over while on board. Many of our highest travel insurance claim pay-outs were connected to older travellers who slipped or fell over and were injured.
- Q. What types of expenses/events can cruise travel insurance cover?
- A. Travel insurance for a cruise can provide cover for unexpected cancellations, emergency medical treatment as well as for your luggage. One of the most important elements for cruise travel insurance is cover for emergency assistance. Travel insurance can provide cover for the costs of you being air-lifted to a hospital for treatment.
- Q. Do some cruise lines require travellers to take out travel insurance?
- A. Many cruise lines recommend that you take out travel insurance and some offer travel insurance on their websites. I am not aware of any cruises that make it compulsory for you to have travel insurance.
- Q. If a traveller is just taking a cruise in Australian waters, will they be covered by their health insurance?
- A. Most likely travellers in Australian waters will not be covered by Medicare or their private health insurance. Doctors on board are not required to be registered with Medicare.
- Q. What assistance can be provided to a traveller that has a medical emergency while offshore?
- A. Most cruises are very well equipped to deal with various medical emergencies effectively, from broken bones and seasickness to illnesses such as pneumonia. Travellers should contact their relevant overseas emergency assistance team if they need medical attention. Fast Cover gives travellers 24/7 access to Allianz Global Assistance, for example. They can promptly work with hospital staff to have you offloaded at the nearest hospital and repatriated if it is required.
- Q. Are travellers also covered for excursions to shore?
- A. Travellers are provided with cover when they are on land with Fast Cover’s cruise travel insurance policies.
- Q. What are some general exclusions that travellers should be aware of?
- A. It is always best to read the general exclusions that apply to your travel insurance policy. Travellers should be aware that not all pre-existing medical conditions will be covered by their policy, so it is best to check with your insurer. Similarly, not all activities are automatically covered. You will also not be covered if you have drunk an excessive amount of alcohol.
- Q. What steps can travellers take to best prepare for their cruise to keep safe on their trip away?
- A. Getting travel insurance is of course one way to protect yourself against huge medical expenses or cancellation costs. People who experience seasickness should also get treated or prescribed medication before they step on board.
- Q. When is the ideal time to buy cover?
- A. As you have paid for any part of your trip.
- Q. What are the benefits of paying extra for a comprehensive policy? How much difference is there really?
- A. It depends on which policy you’re talking about as there is a lot of variance. Generally Comprehensive policies have higher limits and provide more benefits. At minimum good comprehensive policy should have unlimited medical, unlimited cancellation, luggage cover, alternative transport cover, travel delays cover plus personal liability cover.