If you’ve never been on a cruise before, there is plenty to look forward to as you prepare to jump aboard for the first time. One thing important not to get caught out by, though, is travel insurance.
If you’ve bought travel insurance for previous holidays by looking up the cheapest deal on a comparison website, you may be surprised when you add in details of your cruise and see the premiums rise well above what you are used to paying.
(This post may include affiliate links for more information see my disclaimer).
You might be tempted to just put in a single destination, see the price drop again, and think that will cover you.
Similarly, if you have an existing annual multi-trip travel insurance policy, it is easy to assume that this will cover you for your cruise.
In both these situations, it is important to know standard policies, whether cheaper single trip options or multi-trip, are not valid for cruises. Here’s why.
The cost of cruise medical care
The main reason why premiums for cruise travel insurance are higher than standard policies is because of the higher cost of medical care on board a ship.
A major part of the protection a travel insurance policy gives you is for the potential cost of medical treatment while you are away.
Once you are out of your own country, you are no longer entitled to whatever subsidised or free healthcare citizens of your nation are provided.
On cruise ships, the cost of medical treatment can be above what you would expect to pay for private treatment in most countries.
Cruise companies have to hire a qualified doctor and supporting medical team to work abroad for the duration of the trip.
The only way they can guarantee getting people in these posts is by offering lucrative contracts, and the medical staff are then also able to charge for specific treatments they carry out.
In addition, in serious cases where travellers have to be taken ashore for treatment, the costs of the ship changing course or the patient being airlifted to shore can be considerable.
All of this has to be covered by a travel insurance policy, which is why providers have to offer higher than usual pay-out limits for cruise passengers.
To balance the extra financial risk they take on, insurers charge more for cruise cover.
Cruises differ from other types of vacation in a variety of ways, and some of these have an impact on insurance.
In general terms, there are a lot more unknowns with a cruise compared to a regular holiday – you are not making a single trip to a single destination, you are hopping between various different ports, splitting your time between the ship and the shore, taking in different sights and activities.
To the insurer’s mind, this multiplies the unknowns, and more unknowns equal greater risk – the more places you go, the more risk there is you will lose personal property and want to make a claim, for example.
Another factor is that cruises can be more prone to cancellations, delays and itinerary changes.
The weather plays a big part in whether a cruise sticks to schedule – if a storm hits, you may be forced into port and have to stay there.
That could mean missing paid-for activities that passengers want compensation for, or days cooped up indoors on a ship, which soon leaves people disgruntled.
Worst of all, it can play havoc with transport plans to and from the port of embarkation or disembarkation.
When flights have to be re-booked because a ship is late arriving in port, things get expensive. All of this has to be factored into the insurance policy.
For more information about bespoke travel insurance for cruises and more, click here.
This sponsored post was a collaboration with Avanti Travel Insurance.
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Love Lucy x
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