Making sure you have the right insurance cover in place may not be as fun as reading about which countries you’ll be visiting on your forthcoming cruise, but it’s absolutely crucial – particularly if anything should go wrong – before, during or after your trip
You’ve paid your non-refundable deposit on your world cruise and you’re counting down the weeks till you go. But then, unexpectedly, your daughter announces she’s getting married – and it’s right in the middle of your cruise.
This is a very real example of what could happen unless you have the right cruise insurance in place.
General insurance will cover you for many common holiday incidents such as lost or stolen possessions, but will be of no use with many cruisespecific issues such as cancellation, curtailment, upper age limit or pre-exisiting medical conditions.
The best way to ensure you are fully covered for any eventuality is to buy either a specialist cruise insurance policy or a travel insurance policy with a cruise element included.
Some cruise lines offer insurance as part of your trip: with Saga for example, insurance is included. One of the most important areas is cancellation. Some insurers distinguish between cancellation cover that insures you if you have to cancel the cruise before departure; and curtailment cover, which insures you if you have to abandon the cruise before it ends; some do not.
Cancellation cover is particularly important for people buying the most expensive cruises, as they may hand over large sums of money many months before departure, but lots of travel insurance policies are limited to 12 months or less, or will only pay up to a limit below the value of the cruise.
The cruise insurance sold by onestop4.co.uk has been developed in response to this issue.
“We don’t have a maximum value limit on cancellation cover,” explains Kate Huet, managing director of the brand’s parent company International Travel and Healthcare. “Eighty per cent of our claims are cancellation claims because people’s circumstances change between booking and departure. There are not many insurers who will go over £25,000 for cancellation per customer; we cover people whose cruise price is £80,000.”
The second important area of cover is medical expenses. Insurance is available for people suffering from pretty much any kind of medical problem, but it is important to disclose all medical information when you buy your policy, or to check the small print in any travel insurance you already have.
Richard Burn, managing director of insurance brokers Insurance Choice said: “If you do get ill on board you are charged for everything – from paracetamol to seeing the doctor – and some of these medical costs can be quite frightening. The correct cover gives you peace of mind.”