In general terms, travel insurance, as it applies to cruise travelers, covers two unfortunate events: cancellation for a covered reason and medical expenses incurred while traveling. Some travelers skip it, playing the odds that they will not ever need it and for good reason: most travelers don’t. The majority of cruise vacations sail off without issues; everyone gets to the ship on time, there are no injuries while sailing and they make it home unbroken. Still, the same can be said of driving a car, renting an apartment or owning a home. We do have and eventually use that sort of insurance for one reason or another. Nothing new there. The issue, for the odds players, then becomes a matter of frequency. Driving a car back and forth to work every day provides many more opportunities to use insurance protection than once-a-year cruise vacations. Here is where we have new reason to re-visit the issue of travel insurance: we cruise more often than ever before.
Call it an improving economy, huge influx of boomer generation traveler now with more time to do so or an extreme cruise line focus on attracting families, millennials, solo travelers and more. More people are sailing now than ever before and there seems to be no end in sight for this outstanding growth.
Cruise lines are commonly not responsible for the actions of independent excursion companies. That is almost universal among cruise lines and prompts questions we simply don’t know the answers to:
- Is the local excursion provider insured, licensed and properly trained? Hard to say and hard to find out on the insured and licensed issue. “Properly” trained too is a tough call. We often judge a tour operator by how interesting the tour is, what we get out of it and how much it costs. No where in there is a concern for licensed and insured.
- Has the cruise line evaluated the reliability of the local excursion provider? Probably so. We know that cruise lines will send crew members and other employees on excursions secretly to evaluate the tour guides and quality of the tours.
- Have the cruise line and/or the local excursion provider disclaimed liability for injuries that passengers might sustain during excursions? This is most commonly something that does not come up, one way or another, with the tour operator. The cruise line, however, is covered against liability as part of the passenger contract we agree to in order to sail.
Whether it’s a medical issue from an injury incurred while on tour or on the ship or cancellation due to a covered reason, a travel insurance policy from can provide peace of mind.
Still, the first place to check for travel insurance? Your credit card.
Many credit card companie provide some travel insurance protection when we use their card to buy travel. The best way to see if yours is one of those is to call the number on the back of the card and ask: “If I buy travel with this card is there any travel insurance protection?” If so, find out what it covers as credit card company insurance might have restrictions other policies don’t.
Also, check with your personal insurance agent, the person who might handle your auto, home, health or life insurance. That trusted source might have some ideas for you.
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