First let me say, I
find it hard to believe that ANYONE would shell out hundreds or thousands of
dollars for a cruise, and then not purchase trip insurance. One lost bag, one
missed connection, or one medical emergency will make up for the many times that
you won't need the insurance. Just one helicopter evacuation at sea can
cost many, many, many times more than the piddly price of trip insurance, and
you don't have to be old or sickly to suddenly become ill or injured while away
(and incur costs outside the coverage allowances of your regular medical insurance).
In my opinion, it just does not make sense to pay thousands of dollars and then not protect it with with
a couple of hundred.
" It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have
it." And no, I don't sell insurance.
If you've purchased (or are still considering
purchasing) X's own Cruise Care coverage, you might want to check Cruising
to see if the cost of your policy has been reduced. Especially if your cruise
fare has been reduced by X.
All of the major travel
insurance providers will arrange pre-payment for hospital admission if
necessary. They figure they're going to be stuck with the bill anyway and this
way they won't be getting sued by clients for being denied medical treatment
because they didn't have the money to be admitted to a hospital.
However, this does not mean that your hospital bill is pre-paid. Many, if not
most hospitals in third-world countries do not accept US-style insurance plans
where the services are provided then billed to the insurer for later payment.
They will want full payment before you leave. If your travel plan has a $10,000
medical benefit and the total bill is $15,000 the insurer may wire them the
$10,000 but you're still responsible for the other $5000. In this case the
insurer may "loan" you the other $5000 to get you out of there but you
would be legally responsible to re-pay them when you return home.
for comparison pricing and benifits. This is a good site to look at. It is
amazing the options that one has in choosing an insurance travel company.
Travel Guard. www.travelguard.com.
Their premium policy indicates their medical coverage is primary. You must
purchase within 7 days of initial cruise deposit in order to get the preexisting
conditions waiver. I"ve never had to submit a claim but they have a good
Take a look at http://www.travelproservices.com
you can compare numerous policies and they'll mail you brochures to look over
Be sure your policy covers financial default by the
cruise line or tour operator. Most, if not all, of the companies have a list
non-protected (some do it the other way around and list the protected) cruise
lines, tour operators, airlines, etc. Many have fallen into this category since
911 ... also several cruise and air lines have gone under too. All this said,
the medical, including evacuation is the most critical.
Be aware that CSA has two levels of policies: Silver
Silver policies do not cover any pre-existing conditions nor bankruptcy of a
travel supplier. Gold policies cover these at a substantially increased cost. I
also don't like to wording of the "financial default" section of the
We've had good luck with AccessAmerica. Reasonable rates and they paid all
expenses which we couldn't recover through our credit card company when
Renaissance Cruises went bankrupt
don't think anyone has mentioned the exclusions on these policies (except a
bit about war and terrorism). One can understand some of the exclusions as
fairly high risk activities such as rock climbing. However some of the
exclusions are for fairly normal vacation activities. Many of the policies
exclude scuba diving. Some exclude it only when not with an instructor. Some
exclude bungy jumping
One new area to check is cancellation due to government noted "do not
travel" warnings like SARS. I understand from a recent news article, these
insurances will not cover your trip cancellation if your destination is under a
"warning" notice .
Med Jet Assistance for medical evacuation, which is obscenely expensive. The
transport, not the contract with Med Jet. Travel insurance policies that
include medical evacuation coverage do so on a "medically necessary"
basis. This means that if you're injured on a ship sailing in Asia you might get
medevac'd to Hong Kong for treatment. That decision is made by the attending
doctor and the plan's emergency assistance providers. They do not promise that
they will fly you home for treatment -- if adequate care is available closer
then that's where you'll go.
MedJet is different. With their plan the decision as to where to be treated is
yours. In that same scenario you could call MedJet and say "Get me out of
here and I want to be flown to XYZ hospital in my home town." That's what
The only restrictions on the service are:
1) You need in-patient medical treatment where you're at, and;
2) you will need additional in-patient medical treatment at your chosen
For those that are leery of the quality of the blood supply in many parts of the
world it's worth the cost. I believe it runs about $200 per person on an annual
basis although it is cheaper if a spouse or kids are included. I travel a lot so
it's worth the expense to me -- if at all possible I never want to receive blood
in a foreign location although I also realize that in some circumstances it can
be unavoidable. For those who only leave the States occasionally it might be
better to rely on the evac coverages that come with the traditional insurance
You can request a brochure here:
All will arrange for and pre-pay an emergency evacuation. In fact, they all
state that if you bypass their emergency services phone number and make your own
arrangements for an evac you will NOT be reinbursed.
The reason is that the emergency evac benefit is not an insurance benefit, it's
more of a membership benefit. They've got contracts with every provider in the
world and can get everything handled at a cost way below anything the traveler
could get independently.
You might want to also consider Celebrity's
insurance; when I cruised earlier this year the insurance would have allowed me
to cancel without any reason at all, and receive 75% of my cruise fare (applied
to a cruise in the next year, I think). Considering the reasons that I might
have needed to cancel, many of which are routinely excluded from other policies,
this choice made sense for me. I know there is a concern about the credit
worthiness of the cruise line, just as there would be with an insurance company.
To me, the possiblilty of needing to cancel the cruise was the number one factor
in choosing insurance. If I was sure that I would not have to cancel, I might
have made another choice
As I understand the Celebrity insurance, their reimbursment comes in the form of
a cruise credit, not the actual $$$.So, if you cancel, you have to book another
cruise within the year. Sometimes, it would be impossible to cruise within a
Never, ever buy insurance from the cruise line. When Renaissance Cruises went
belly up, many people were out thousands of dollars with no recourse. Payment
with credit card helps, but technically they don't have to reimburse anything
paid more than 60 days before the bankruptcy.
Celebrity only covers the costs of what you book through them. We had booked
airline separately (my flight was more than $100 less than what Celebrity wanted
and I'm too much of a control freak to be happy with booking without knowing the
Now, quite a few insurance companies will cover pre-existing conditions if
you purchase the insurance as late as your final payment. Travel Guard offers
what they call their Silver Plan that covers pre-existing as long as you
purchase coverage at the time of final payment
I just reread the policy as stated in the back of the brochure. In reading
the other policies, Access America, Travel Guard, and CSA, the amount of
Emergency Evacuation is more for CSA ($50,000) rather than the $25,000 limit for
CruiseCare (cruise line's ins.). Judging from some posts, $25,000 would not
really cover some costs of evacuation?
CruiseCare is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Compay of
I have in the past had Travel Guard and CSA but never had to put in a claim,
Global Alert will refund your premium if you cancel your trip before there's any
cancellation penalties. As far as I know they're the only plan that will do
this. This means you don't have to decide between buying the plan early enough
to get the pre-existing condition coverage vs the possibility of not getting the
premium back if you cancel without penalties. You can see the plan at http://www.travelproservices.com
Remember to READ THE FINE PRINT!