If you’re lucky enough to have booked a cruise, taking out cruise insurance rather than a standard single or multi-trip travel insurance policy might well be an option worth considering.
What is cruise insurance?
Cruise insurance is a specific travel insurance policy that covers the specific activities and risks associated with a cruise holiday. For example, cruise insurance may cover you for missed port departures, itinerary changes or increased cancellation cover whereas a normal travel policy wouldn’t.
You’re likely to visit a number of different countries on a cruise. Instead of having to get cover for each location, cruise insurance will make sure you’re covered for multiple countries - but you must always check the list of countries included to make sure you don’t fall foul of any exclusions.
Furthermore, cruises tend to last longer than a normal holiday – you could be at sea for months at a time, or even a full calendar year in some cases. Most single trip travel insurance will only cover you for a holiday lasting between 30 and 60 days. Annual travel insurance policies might also be unsuitable, as these often have a maximum duration for an individual trip - generally around 56 days.
No matter what travel insurance you buy, it’s always worth checking the small print to double check which countries are and aren’t included. Countries that are experiencing political unrest are commonly excluded from these types of policies, so it’s always worth doing your research before you choose your cruise and your policy.
What if I have pre-existing medical conditions?
Although people who take cruises can be of all types and ages, there is a tendency for cruise-lovers to be slightly older than the average holiday-goer. Most standard holiday insurance premiums will shoot up when the applicant is over a certain age (usually 65), and some older applicants may be refused cover by some insurers.
Similarly, people with pre-existing medical conditions may find themselves being refused for standard travel insurance, especially as cruises often involve a variety of sports and activities such as scuba diving, jungle trekking and kayaking.
Cruise insurance generally has no age limit, and most medical conditions will be considered. This means cruise insurance may offer more flexibility for those holiday-goers who still want to get the full cruise experience.
It’s possible that your standard travel insurance could offer cruise insurance as a bolt-on, so be sure to check with your provider if you already have a policy in place.
Does my EHIC work for cruises?
If your cruise holiday is completely within the European Economic Area (the free trade zone between countries in the EU, which also includes Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), you should apply for your European Health Insurance Card and pack it in your case.
The EHIC (which replaces the old E111 paper) will give you access to free or reduced cost emergency medical care and treatment in the countries listed above.
However, only the EHIC can only offer limited care, and it won’t cover you for things like lost luggage or cancellation. For insurance that will give you comprehensive cover, cruise travel insurance is the best option.
What do I need to include in my cruise insurance?
The features of each cruise insurance policy will vary by provider. Some of the key factors you might want to consider when comparing cruise insurance include:
- Gadget cover – see what level of cover you get for gadgets and check your mobile phone, camera or other gadgets will be included
- Travel delay – if you’re delayed, you could claim a set amount for the inconvenience
- Missed port – if a scheduled port visit is cancelled, you could claim
- Cabin confinement – if the ship’s medical officer confines you to your cabin for medical reasons, you could claim reimbursement
- Missed departure – if you miss departure, this will allow you to claim
- Unused excursion – if you can’t use a pre-planned excursion, you might be covered
- Activities – make sure any planned activities will be covered by your policy
How can I get cheap cruise insurance?
The best way to get a good price is to compare cruise insurance quotes from several providers. That way you can compare levels of cover alongside price and be sure you are getting the right policy for your cruise, at the price that suits you.
When you compare cruise insurance quotes, you’ll be able to see the policy price as well as the maximum excess, level of medical cover, cancellation value and baggage value in the results table. Make sure you weigh up the cost of the policy price next to the excess – you may pay a fraction to lower the excess, which would lower the cost of any potential claims.