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Whether you’re cruising through the crystal clear waters of the South Pacific, exploring a famous European river or just up and down Australia’s east coast, cruise holidays offer a diverse range of relaxing experiences. However, before you board a cruise and sail off into the sunset, you’ll need to make sure you have adequate travel insurance that includes cover for cruises. Specialised cruise insurance delivers a lot more than a standard travel insurance policy, offering additional cover for a range of cruise-related situations, including missed cruise departure, cancelled shore excursions, cruise delays and emergency medical transportation. Cruise insurance (even if you're on a domestic cruise) can be an exceptionally good idea - particularly if you're a senior or have a pre-existing medical condition. Keep reading to find out how to compare cruise travel insurance policies and choose one that's right for you.
How is cruise insurance different to regular travel insurance?
Cruise insurance isn’t as far removed from ordinary travel insurance as you might think. In fact, cruise cover is usually available as an extra-cost option on many comprehensive travel insurance policies – so when we talk about cruise insurance, we’re referring to a regular travel insurance policy with extra cover for a range of cruise-related risks tacked on. Some insurers even automatically include cruise cover on their policies, so it’s essential to check the fine print when buying cover. What sort of cruise-related risks and costs need to be covered? Medical expenses are at the top of the list, as not only is treatment on board a cruise ship very expensive, but there are also only limited medical facilities available. So if you suffer a serious illness or injury during your cruise, you may need to be airlifted to the nearest appropriate land-based medical facility. Depending on where you’re cruising, the nearest hospital could be hundreds of kilometres away, so the cost of medical evacuation can be astronomical. Happily, it’s covered by cruise travel insurance, as are a number of other risks, including:
Trip cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances
Cabin confinement due to injury or sickness
Missed shore excursions due to injury or sickness
Marine rescue diversion
Lost, stolen or damaged formal cruise attire
When you get cruise cover, either with a specialised policy or by adding a “cruise pack” to standard cover, you can be covered for cruise-related situations like the ones below:
How cruise insurance could help
You miss your cruise
You will be covered for additional expenses if you are unable to attend, due to reasons such as a delayed flight or a car accident on the way to the port.
You need to cut your trip short
Say you're two weeks into a six-week cruise when you receive word that you need to return home for a family emergency. Cruise insurance can reimburse you for the cost of the remaining four weeks.
If shore excursions are cancelled
If the cruise liner cancels, due to a serious tropical storm for instance, you can be compensated and reimbursed.
You're confined to your cabin
You can receive a daily allowance (usually $50–$100 a day) if you are confined to your cabin for medical reasons, to help pay for room service and other expenses.
Your cruise is delayed
If your journey is delayed, whether on the way out or on the way back, you are able to get compensation for unrecoverable costs.
You need to cancel your trip
If something happens and you are forced to cancel your holiday before it even begins – if you get seriously sick, lose your job, there’s a death in the family or other similar situations – cruise travel insurance can cover your non-refundable trip costs so you don’t end up out of pocket.
Your baggage is lost or delayed
You’re there, but your luggage isn’t. If an airline loses or misplaces your luggage, cruise travel insurance can cover the cost of flying your bags to the next port, reimburse you for the cost of essentials you need to buy until your bags arrive and cover the loss if your bags are gone for good.
Your formal cruise attire is lost or damaged
This will provide cover for replacement or hire costs if your formal wear that you had planned to wear on the cruise is stolen, damaged or lost.
Your cruise liner goes bankrupt
Without this type of cover, you might be left out of pocket and without recourse if a cruise line goes out of business before your trip. This type of cover might be missing from cruise cover sold by cruise lines, so it can be worth looking at other providers and read the fine print to make sure it's included in your policy.
Medical expenses if you become sick or injured
Typical travel insurance policies are designed for cover on dry land. However, accidents and illness can also happen at sea, and cruise trip insurance can cover costly medical expenses while on the ship at sea, onboard in port or while you’re on a shore excursion.
Emergency evacuation to a land-based medical facility
Serious events like heart attack or stroke might call for an emergency medical evacuation. Standard travel insurance policies might specify that they only cover the cost of repatriation to Australia, while cruise travel insurance can also cover emergency evacuation from the ship to the nearest hospital, as well as medical transport back to Australia when needed.
Your trip is interrupted
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 a situation like this, whether it involves an unexpected detour, unwanted delays or even if the entire voyage has to be cut short.
Should you get cruise insurance? You’ve already spent a whole lot of your hard-earned money paying for the cruise, so do you really need this extra expense? For most people, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why:
It provides peace of mind. ‘Peace of mind’ is an overused cliche in insurance advertising, but it’s still an apt way to describe what cruise travel insurance offers. No matter what mishaps or accidents may occur during your holiday, having cover in place means you don’t have to worry.
It’s recommended by the Australian government. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) recommends that all Australians get travel insurance when heading overseas, while most of the major cruise lines operating in Australia also recommend that you take out travel insurance with a standalone provider.
It’s cheaper than you might think. Use the quote engine above to find out how much cruise insurance will cost for your voyage.
You can’t predict the future. Flights get delayed, extreme weather disrupts cruise itineraries, luggage gets lost and accidents happen. While it’s easy to think that it won’t happen to you, cruise insurance is an easy way to guarantee that if something does go wrong, you’ll won't be out of pocket.
Should I bother getting insurance for a domestic cruise?
If you’ve booked a cruise in Australian waters, you’re probably wondering if cruise travel insurance is really worth the cost – after all, if the biggest risk is on-board medical expenses, those should be covered by Medicare or your private health insurer, right? Wrong. Medicare can only cover you in very specific circumstances:
If you’re cruising between domestic ports; and
If there is a Medicare-eligible doctor on board (there is no requirement for a vessel to have a Medicare-eligible doctor on board).
Otherwise, once your ship leaves port, neither Medicare nor your private health fund will provide cover for your on-board medical costs, even if you’re in Australian waters. This is a fact that many cruise travellers are completely unaware of, and it can have disastrous financial consequences. Medical costs on board cruise ships can be quite expensive, with hospital bills of up to $5,000 a day a real possibility. And if you need to be evacuated to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment, you could be left with much greater expenses. This is the number-one reason why you need domestic cruise travel insurance. Let’s not forget that it also provides protection against a wide range of other travel risks, both while cruising and while on land, so it’s worth shopping around for a policy before you board.
How much could a medical emergency at sea cost?
The price of receiving treatment in a medical facility while on a cruise can be extremely high - often up to $5,000 a day. A case study on the DFAT website demonstrates the danger of being underinsured when you're on a cruise. Carol bought a basic travel insurance policy for her round-the-world cruise. While at sea, she experienced severe shortage of breath, and was diagnosed as having pulmonary emphysema. She required oxygen until the next port, where she was taken to the nearest hospital, and eventually required medical evacuation to a better hospital. Since her basic insurance policy didn't cover pre-existing medical conditions, she had to pay $90,000 out of pocket for the medivac and hospitalisation, and she had to borrow money from her children to help cover the costs.
What should the best* cruise insurance policy include?
Just like any ordinary travel insurance policy, your cruise cover should include a range of important benefits, such as cover for:
Overseas medical expenses. You’ll be covered for the medical and hospital expenses you incur overseas, as well as for repatriation back to Australia if required.
Amendment and cancellation costs. If you need to cut short or cancel your trip due to circumstances beyond your control, such as if you suffer a serious illness or a natural disaster occurs, travel insurance will cover your cancellation fees, lost deposits and additional transport costs.
Luggage and personal belongings. This benefit covers your luggage and personal items against loss, theft and damage.
Luggage delay. If a travel provider temporarily misplaces or misdirects your luggage, you’ll receive a benefit to help you purchase emergency items such as toiletries and a change of clothes.
Travel delay. When your pre-booked transport is delayed by circumstances beyond your control, such as industrial action or severe weather, travel insurance covers your additional meal and accommodation costs.
Rental vehicle insurance excess. This ensures that if your rental car is crashed, stolen or maliciously damaged, the insurance excess charged by the hire company will be greatly reduced or even eliminated altogether.
Personal liability. If you’re required to pay compensation for injuring someone else or damaging their property, travel insurance provides personal liability cover.
However, it should also cover several key risks specific to cruising, including:
On-board medical expenses. Medical treatment on board a cruise ship can be expensive, but cruise travel insurance covers all the medical and hospital costs you incur during your cruise.
Ship-to-shore evacuation. If you fall sick or suffer an injury during your cruise and you have to be transported to the nearest land-based hospital for emergency medical treatment, cruise insurance will cover the cost.
Cabin confinement. This provides an ongoing daily benefit for each day of your cruise that you are confined to your cabin due to illness or injury.
Missed shore excursions. If you’re confined to your cabin or the cruise vessel’s hospital and can’t participate in any pre-paid shore excursions, your policy will cover any cancellation fees or lost deposits.
Lost, stolen or damaged formal cruise attire. If your formal cruise wear is lost, stolen or accidentally damaged, your insurer can cover its repair or replacement.
Marine rescue diversion. If your cruise ship is diverted to participate in a marine rescue operation, your policy will offer an ongoing daily benefit.
Cruise insurance doesn’t cover every conceivable event or scenario that could potentially wreak havoc with your travel plans; instead, it’s designed to cover those unexpected mishaps and worst-case scenarios that arise out of nowhere and turn your holiday on its head.
With this in mind, you’ll need to read the fine print closely before purchasing a policy to find out what is and isn’t included in your cover. As a general rule, you won’t be covered if:
You’re drunk or on drugs. If you down seven schooners and then lose your bag during a shore excursion, your insurance won’t pay a benefit.
You’re an adrenalin junkie. Planning on participating in any high-risk adventure activities on-board the ship or while on a shore excursion? Check the fine print to make sure they’re covered by your insurer.
The weather’s a bit disappointing. If you were expecting gorgeous weather but all you got was overcast skies and drizzle, your policy won’t cover you if your cruise was a bit of a let-down.
You visit somewhere you shouldn't. If your claim arises because you travel to a destination that DFAT has warned against visiting, it will be refused. Check Smartraveller for DFAT’s latest travel advisories.
You travel against medical advice. If your doctor says you shouldn't travel but you decide to board the cruise anyway, you’ll have to pay any medical bills incurred on your holiday out of your own pocket.
You break the law. If you start a fight in a bar, take drugs or participate in any other illegal activity that causes a claim, don’t expect any support from your insurer.
You don’t take care of your stuff. If you leave your bag unattended in a public place and it’s stolen, your insurer won’t pay your claim.
You forget to purchase cruise cover. The vast majority of insurers only cover cruise journeys if you purchase additional cruise cover with your travel insurance policy. Make sure you remember this fact when buying a policy.
You have a certain pre-existing condition. For more information on how to get cover for your pre-existing condition, keep reading.
You're on Australian soil for more than 48 hours. You may be under Medicare’s “jurisdiction” here, and some providers will not cover you for medical events that occur while you are in an Australian port for more than 48 hours.
As with taking out travel insurance for any trip, you need to let your insurer know about any pre-existing conditions you have. Depending on the insurer and the policy, if you have a medical condition it may:
Be automatically covered at no extra cost. Check your insurer’s PDS for a list of conditions that are automatically covered.
Require you to provide more information. You may need to complete a medical declaration providing more details of the condition, its history and the treatment you have received. Depending on the details you provide, the insurer may agree to cover your condition, usually for an extra fee.
Be excluded from your policy. There are some conditions that insurers will simply refuse to cover. You can still purchase a cruise insurance policy if this is the case, but any claims that arise due to your pre-existing condition won’t be paid.
The treatment of pre-existing conditions varies between insurers, so read the fine print closely and contact your insurer directly if you have any questions. You can also check out our guide to travel insurance for pre-existing conditions for more information on how insurers classify a range of common medical problems.
Yep, you can – but the terms and conditions surrounding pregnancy can vary from one insurer to the next. There are some insurers that will cover women up to the 26th week of pregnancy, while others will provide cover up until the 32nd week of pregnancy. If you’re expecting, you can still buy a policy for a trip to be taken after you have passed the insurer’s maximum gestation limit, but you will not be covered for losses related to the pregnancy. It’s worth pointing out that most cruise lines don’t allow women who are more than 24 weeks pregnant to board a cruise. With this in mind, check the cruise carrier’s terms and conditions closely when booking your holiday. It’s also a good idea to read your insurer’s PDS to see whether there are any pregnancy-related costs excluded from cover. Most insurers will exclude:
Complications that arise out of the pregnancy
Childbirth or healthcare of a newborn child
If your trip goes longer than the period of pregnancy permitted on the policy
Am I also covered for flights and time spent before, during or after my cruise?
Yes. If the cruise is only one portion of your holiday, for example if you’re also spending a week or two sightseeing on your own, then there’s no need to purchase a separate travel insurance policy to cover the non-cruising segment of your trip. Cruise insurance provides cover for your entire journey – from the day you depart until the day you return home. Even if you’ll only be spending a small portion of your trip on land – for example, maybe you need to fly to and from the ship’s departure port before and after your cruise – your policy will include cover for your flights. Cruise insurance offers peace of mind for non-cruise-related losses such as car rental excess cover, loss of luggage and hotel cancellations. It also means you can be covered for flights and time overseas much like with other travel insurance. However, cruise cover can also work alongside your cruise arrangements by covering:
Flights overseas to the country that you are boarding your cruise from
The days that you spend in the country that your cruise leaves from
The following days in your "drop-off" destination
Flights back home after the cruise
Time spent overseas, whether as part of a scheduled port call, unscheduled port stop, at your destination or anywhere else as covered by your policy
And as you can see in the list of benefits above, if you’re planning a longer holiday then cruise insurance covers much more than just cruising. It also covers all the usual risks you might encounter during a holiday on land, including delayed flights, crashed rental cars, theft, medical treatment and more.
Cruise insurance and cancellation costs: what's covered?
When will the cruise company cover me for cancellation?
Life is full of unexpected surprises, and sometimes those surprises can get in the way of your travel plans. For example, let’s say you booked your South Pacific cruise months ago and then, just a couple of days before you’re due to depart, your mum is seriously injured in a car accident. She's going to be okay, but the recovery process will be a long one and you need to be by her side to care for her. You have no choice but to cancel your holiday and, if you don’t have cruise travel insurance in place, this could very well mean that you won’t be able to access a refund. Cancellation policies vary between cruise lines, but we’ve included P&O’s cancellation fees in the table below as a guide:
Days prior to departure that you cancel your cruise
Value Plus and Value fares
181 days or more
180 – 76 days
75 – 43 days
25% of total fare
42 – 15 days
50% of total fare
14 days or less
100% of total fare
76 days or more
75 – 43 days
75% of total fare
42 – 15 days
90% of total fare
14 days or less
100% of total fare
Will my travel insurance cover me for cruise cancellation charges?
In this example, if you cancelled your trip just a couple of days before departure you would forfeit 100% of your fare. But if you had cruise insurance in place, the price of your fare would be refunded by your insurer. Although conditions vary between insurers, most policies will cover you for cancellation costs due to a host of reasons including:
If you suffer a serious illness or injury
If your relative, business partner or travelling companion dies unexpectedly or suffers a serious illness or injury
If your boss cancels your pre-booked leave
If you’re made redundant
If your flight is cancelled due to severe weather and you miss your cruise departure
If you’re called up for jury duty
If your home is destroyed by a natural disaster
However, remember that you won't be covered for cancellation charges if you have to cancel your trip due to:
Pre-existing medical issues experienced by a friend or family member. You will not be covered if you have to cancel your trip because a relative or travelling companion suffers a pre-existing medical condition.
Bad weather and unexpected circumstances. While conditions will vary, cruise companies generally require a minimum number of guests for shore excursions, so those excursions may be cancelled if that number is not met. Shore excursions may also be cancelled due to bad weather. In this case, the cruise company will usually pay a full refund.
If you decide to cancel your shore excursion right before your trip. This will vary between insurers. Generally, if you give 72 hours’ notice, a full refund will be provided by the cruise company. Cancellations within 72 hours may mean that a portion of the charge must still be paid to the cruise company.
What if the cruise stops in multiple destinations?
No worries! Stopping in more than one destination won’t affect your ability to get cover. However, you’ll need to make sure that you notify the insurer of every scheduled stop on your cruise when applying for cover. Most insurers will automatically cover you for stopovers of up to 48 hours, but if you’re in a region for longer than 48 hours it must be listed as a destination on your policy to guarantee cover. When you buy a policy, make sure to select the appropriate region for your cruise based on the destinations you are visiting:
Worldwide: All destinations (including Japan, USA, Canada, Africa and the Middle East).
Europe: Europe, Russia and the United Kingdom.
Asia: Asia (excluding Russia and Japan).
Pacific: New Zealand, Bali, South West Pacific and Norfolk Island.
If you’re taking a cruise in Australian waters, it’s recommended that you select Pacific as your region in order to be covered for emergency medical expenses. Selecting the domestic cover option will not be enough as you will not be covered by Medicare or private healthcare on the cruise ship.
Should I bother with cruise cover? Here are the pros and cons
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 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 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 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 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 unless it is for reasons outside of your control.
When examining the premium and excess you will have to pay, make sure the amount you are paying reflects the quality of the cover.
If you’re over the age of 65 and planning a cruise holiday, you can enjoy all the benefits of cruise cover with a seniors travel insurance policy. While policy age limits differ between insurers, there are some providers who will cover travellers up to 80, 90 or even 100 years of age. However, there are a few key points you should be aware of when choosing a policy:
Cover is more expensive for seniors. Once you reach 60 years of age, insurers start applying age loadings to your travel insurance premiums. As a general rule, the older you are, the more cover will cost.
You’ll need to check the age limits. Some insurers won’t cover anyone over the age of 65, while others set their upper age limit anywhere between 65 or 100 (or even higher in some rare cases). Check which insurers are willing to offer you cover before you start comparing policies.
Not all pre-existing conditions will be covered. There are generally increased restrictions on pre-existing conditions for older travellers. For example, some insurers will automatically cover asthma for travellers under the age of 60, but the condition is excluded from cover for anyone above this age limit.
If you’re 80 years or older, it becomes a little harder to find insurers willing to provide cover. However, it is still possible to find cruise insurance in this age bracket – you just need to be aware of a few key drawbacks:
Cover costs even more. The increased risk of health problems for older travellers means additional age loadings apply to your premium.
Benefit limits may be restricted. Some insurers only offer lower benefit limits to older travellers.
Restrictions apply to pre-existing conditions. There are now even tighter restrictions regarding pre-existing conditions, with much fewer conditions automatically covered.
There’s less choice. You’re above the maximum age limit imposed by many insurers, so the reduced number of policies available to you limits your choice.
However, the following insurers from the finder.com.au travel insurance panel offer cruise cover to travellers over the age of 80:
Fast Cover (covers travellers up to the age of 89, with travellers 90 years and over subject to special conditions)
Travel Insurance Saver (travellers 70 years or over may need to submit a doctor’s declaration form)
Australia Post (no upper age limit listed in PDS)
DUInsure (covers travellers of all ages, but different excesses and claim limits may apply to people over 80 years of age)
Citibank (covers travellers up to 89 years of age)
I'm going to the Pacific Islands - what do I need to know?
According to figures from the Cruise Lines International Association, the favourite cruise destination for Australian travellers throughout 2016 was the South Pacific, which attracted 542,825 passengers (more than 42 per cent of Australian ocean cruise passengers for the year). If you’re planning a Pacific Island cruise, make sure your travel insurance includes cruise cover for risks like:
Overseas medical expenses and on-board medical expenses
Medical evacuation and repatriation to Australia
Trip cancellation and amendment costs
Luggage and personal belongings
Theft of cash
Missed shore excursions
Formal cruise attire
Marine rescue diversion
You’ll need to nominate the Pacific as your travel region when buying a policy, and remember to check the cover limits that apply. Make sure to also read the PDS closely and check for any exclusions that affect cover, such as excluded adventure sports or pre-existing conditions.Back to top
Can I take out cover if I am already overseas?
Some Australian insurers will offer cover to Australians who are already overseas. There are some key points to be aware of if you are considering this option:
Some providers will require your trip to end in Australia
There is usually a waiting period of around five days applied for claims related to injury or illness
Excess may not be able to be removed
Cruise insurance traps to avoid
Keep an eye out for the following traps and pitfalls when buying cruise insurance:
Assuming you’re covered. While some travel insurance policies automatically include cruise cover, most don’t. Make sure any policy you buy will cover you for cruise travel.
Not reading the fine print. It’s essential to read the PDS closely to find out what your policy does and doesn’t cover. This will reduce the risk of there being any unpleasant surprises when you need to make a claim.
Not checking the excess. You’ll usually need to pay an excess when you make a claim, and this amount can be as much as $500 with some insurers. Make sure you’re aware of all excess charges that will apply before you decide to claim.
Limits to valuables cover. If you’re taking high-value items such as jewellery and portable electronics on your cruise, check the PDS to find out what limits apply to personal valuables cover. You may need to pay extra to purchase a higher level of cover for those high-value items.
Is cruise travel automatically covered or offered as additional cover? Some providers will offer cruise cover automatically while others will charge an additional premium. Find out exactly what you are covered for and make sure the price matches the quality of cover.
What region do I need to choose? Yes, it may be boring to the point of being physically painful, but take the time to read the PDS thoroughly. Don’t be sucked in by the marketing slogans and flashy websites; read the policy booklet and examine what is covered. You’ll likely be visiting multiple countries on a cruise so check that your policy will cover you at every destination.
What won't I be covered for? “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 that you 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.
Am I covered for emergency medical expenses and evacuation? 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.
Who underwrites the policy? Rather than focusing on the brand that markets the policy, read the fine print to make sure it is backed by a reputable underwriter.
How much will I be charged for a claim?Travel insurance excess charges can vary greatly between insurers with some providers charging as much as $500 per claim. Know exactly what you will be charged and whether there is the option to remove the charge.
How have other people’s experiences with the insurer been?Check out some online reviews from other cruise travellers who have actually had to make a claim on their policy.
What should I look for in cruise travel insurance reviews?
Cruise insurance reviews can be a very valuable tool to help you choose the right policy, providing independent assessments from other travellers who have had good or bad experiences with an insurer. However, make sure you remember a few simple tips when reading cruise travel insurance reviews online:
Look for reviews from people who have made a claim on their policy. This will allow you to get a much better idea of the level of service and breadth of cover offered by an insurer.
Be wary of testimonials on an insurer’s website. You can hardly rely on these to provide independent, unbiased reviews, so take any information they contain with a grain of salt.
Look for insurers with a good claims handling process. Hopefully you’ll never have to make a claim on your policy, but it’s nice to know you’ll be looked after if you do. When reading reviews, look for insurers with a reputation for providing an efficient and stress-free claims process.
Why should I use finder.com.au to compare policies?
Looking for cruise travel insurance? Comparing your options at finder.com.au is a piece of cake. We make it quick and easy to compare policies from more than 20 leading travel insurers, and you can weigh up your options whenever it’s convenient to do so. All you need to do is enter your destination, travel dates and the age of people you need to cover into our quote engine at the top of this page. You’ll then be presented with a range of suitable cover options from our panel of insurers, with the ability to filter the results to suit your needs. Compare the benefits and cost of each policy and, for a detailed quote, click the ‘Go to site’ link next to any policy you like.
Other questions you probably have
No. You can take out international single-trip or annual multi-trip travel insurance. You won’t need cruise insurance because you don’t need to be covered for the additional losses faced by passengers on commercial vessels.
Yes. If your travel insurance automatically includes cruise cover or if it can be added as an optional extra, then your policy will cover your cruise and any flights you take as part of your trip. Simply enter your travel dates when buying a policy to receive cover for your entire trip.
Your best bet is to take out cover as soon as you have booked and paid for all or part of your trip. This way, you are covered if you are forced to cancel the trip or if the travel company or airline goes broke, allowing you to recoup your prepaid costs and deposits. Learn more about when to book travel insurance.
If you’re heading overseas for an extended period of time, check whether or not you’ll be covered for cruise travel. Many insurers do not cover cruise travel as a standard option on their single-trip or annual multi-trip policies, which is why it’s important to check before you head overseas.
Some Australian insurers will offer cover to Australians who are already overseas. However, there are a few key points to be aware of if you’re considering this option:
Some providers will require your trip to end in Australia
There is usually a waiting period of around five days applied for claims related to injury or illness
You may not be able to remove the excess
Travel insurance provides automatic cover for stopovers of up to 48 hours. If your cruise stops in different regions for longer than 48 hours, you will need to make sure that particular region is listed as a destination and covered on your policy.
Medicare will only cover medical costs on a cruise ship if:
You see a doctor who is registered to practise in Australia
The doctor has a provider number
You are in Australian waters
Due to the fact that there is no requirement for cruise ships to have Australian doctors on-board, this could leave you with extensive out-of-pocket costs should you require treatment.
Reading the fine print
You’ll need to contact your insurer to advise them of the revised travel dates.
This depends on the circumstances. If you miss your departure due to circumstances beyond your control, for example if you’re in an accident on the way to the port, you will typically be covered. However, if you simply sleep through your alarm and are too late getting to the port, no cover will be provided.
You will generally be covered for loss, theft and damage of luggage for a period of 72 hours from the time that you leave your residence to the time that you board your cruise. However, conditions for when you will be covered may vary between insurers.
Not necessarily, so check the fine print. You may need to purchase an additional adventure sports pack to make sure you have the cover you need.
Yes. If you’re struck down by gastroenteritis during your cruise, your policy can provide cover for your medical expenses, cabin confinement, missed shore excursions, emergency medical evacuation if required, and cutting your trip short due to medical reasons.
If you’re still unsure about whether you need it
No. You can take out international single-trip or annual multi-trip cover. You will not be covered for the additional losses faced by passengers on commercial vessels.
A cruise is travel on sea, ocean or river by a boat, commercial ship or any other vessel.
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.
What are you covered for?
Contact your insurance provider to adjust the dates of your policy.
Most policies will cover you for missed departure and pay for any necessary additional accommodation and travel expenses if you miss the departure of your cruise for reasons outside of your control.
You will generally be covered for a period of 72 hours for loss of luggage from the time that you leave your residence to the time that you board your cruise. Conditions for when you will be covered may vary between insurers.
Most travel insurance companies will provide automatic cover for a range of activities including waterskiing, swimming, surfing, scuba diving, rowing and jetskiing. Most insurers will not provide automatic cover for open-water sailing. If you plan on doing this on your trip you may be required to take out additional cover.
Norovirus is an extremely common cause gastroenteritis. The close proximity of cruise ship passengers has led to a number of outbreaks in recent years. In December 2015, 182 passengers aboard the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship which was docked in Sydney fell ill to the virus. In the event you suffer Norovirus, travel insurance will cover you provided you are forced to cancel your trip before you board or cut your trip short.
What happens if something goes wrong?
Notify a member of crew immediately and seek appropriate medical attention via the cruise ship’s medical facility.
If necessary, you may be transported to the nearest land-based medical facility.
Inform your insurer as soon as possible about your condition and find out exactly what evidence may be required in order for your claim to be approved.
Obtain documentation from a representative of the crew.
Most insurers will cover you for costs incurred while you are confined to the cruise ship’s medical facility or your cabin until you reach the nearest port.
Most insurers will cover you for medical repatriation from your cruise ship if necessary. If possible, inform your insurer of your situation and try to find out what information will be required from you for your claim to be successful.
If the nature of your injury or illness means that you are confined to your cabin for a number of days, most insurers will cover the necessary additional costs to a maximum daily limit.
Contact your insurer by phone, email or online chat.
Obtain a claim form from the insurer’s website.
Complete the claim form and send it to the insurer online or by mail with any necessary documentation.
Provide any additional information the insurer may require to verify your claim.
Wait for a response from the insurer.
Most insurers will require you to submit your claim within a certain period of having returned home, usually about 30 days.
*Price accurate as of 22 June 2017, for a single 5-day cruise trip to New Zealand, for an individual aged 35. Cover for pre-existing medical conditions may require an additional premium. Please use the quote engine to obtain the most accurate pricing.
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