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It’s smart to buy travel insurance for every trip you take, but it’s especially important for a cruise. That’s because when you’re in the middle of the ocean, small problems can suddenly turn into major disasters.

So what does travel insurance cover when you’re on a cruise? We’ll break it down for you. Make sure you review your insurance plan carefully before you buy, because not all plans offer the same coverage.

And if your next cruise is on the horizon, don’t wait to buy insurance! The earlier you purchase a plan, the longer your coverage window. With a broad range of benefits, the One Trip Prime Plan is our most popular plan for vacations. Compare all our plans.

Travel insurance can cover last-minute cancellations.

Having to cancel a planned cruise isn’t just disappointing; it can also hit your wallet hard. That’s because most cruise lines give no refund at all if you cancel less than 14 days before sailing.i Even if you cancel months in advance, you might only be reimbursed for a percentage of what you paid, or you might be given credits toward a future cruise.

Travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits can reimburse up to 100 percent of your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs if you must cancel your cruise due to a covered reason. That means you can get your money back not only for your cruise costs, but also your airfare, onboard dining or drinks plans, excursions, etc.

Travel insurance can reimburse travel delays.

On most trips, a temporary delay is NBD (no big deal). On a cruise vacation, a travel delay can be a VBD (very big deal). If your flight is delayed, the ship might sail without you — and what are you supposed to do then?

Fortunately, insurance can help. If a covered travel delay makes you miss the departure of your cruise or tour, the travel delay benefit can reimburse you for reasonable transportation expenses to rejoin your cruise or reach your final destination. This benefit can also reimburse your lost prepaid trip expenses (e.g. the cost for the part of the cruise you missed), as well as additional expenses incurred because of your delay for things like meals and hotel stays.

Travel insurance can cover baggage loss, damage and delays.

A single missing suitcase can ruin your cruise. Without your evening wear, you won’t be able to dine at the ship’s finest restaurant. Without your swimsuit, you’ll have to skip the pool. Your only option may be spending hundreds to purchase replacement clothes and toiletries at the ship’s onboard shops.

Once again, travel insurance can save your cruise! The baggage loss/damage benefit can reimburse you for the actual price, actual cash value, repair or replacement — whichever is less — of your possessions if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged during your trip. The baggage delay benefit can reimburse you for reasonable essential items if your baggage is delayed by a common carrier, hotel or tour operator for 24 hours or more. Your insurance policy documents will state the maximum coverage limits as well as items that are excluded from coverage.

Travel insurance can cover onboard medical emergencies.

What happens if you suffer a sudden illness or serious injury on board a cruise ship? The good news is that most cruise ships have experienced medical staff on call 24-7 who are equipped to provide emergency care and stabilize sick patients.ii

The bad news: Serious medical emergencies will require an emergency evacuation to the nearest hospital, and you may have to pay out of pocket for your care. Your domestic health insurance may not cover emergency care you receive overseas.iii Medicare doesn’t cover health care services when the ship is more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.iv

So, what can travel insurance cover when there is a covered illness or injury while at sea? A plan with emergency medical and dental benefits and emergency transportation benefits can cover:

  • The cost of emergency medical care received for a covered illness or injury
  • A medical evacuation to the nearest hospital, if medically necessary
  • The cost of bringing a friend or family member to your bedside, if you’ll be hospitalized on your trip for more than 72 hours
  • The cost of returning your children or other dependents to your home, if they’re traveling with you
  • Medical repatriation to the U.S., with a medical escort if necessary

Travel insurance can reimburse your losses if you have to cut your trip short for a covered reason.

The dreaded norovirus is every cruise passenger’s worst fear. If you catch this stubborn stomach bug, you may be quarantined in your cabin for the remainder of the voyage. It’s not quite the vacation you envisioned — so, will you get your money back? Maybe, but it’s not guaranteed. The cruise line might offer you a partial refund, a full refund, a credit toward a future trip, or nothing at all.v

Travel insurance with trip interruption benefits can save your vacation. If you must interrupt your travels for a covered reason — such as quarantine — you can be reimbursed for the unused portion of your cruise and the additional transportation costs for returning home ahead of schedule.

Travel insurance can cover the unexpected.

You shouldn’t have to shoulder the stress of a travel emergency alone. That’s why travel insurance from Allianz Global Insurance includes 24-hour access to the emergency assistance hotline. From anywhere in the world, you can call the hotline and reach a member of our Assistance team who can help you manage medical emergencies, change travel arrangements, replace lost or stolen documents, replace prescriptions, track down lost baggage, and more.

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