One of the first things cruise lines ask when you make a booking is if you want to purchase insurance. They will give you a million reasons why you need insurance and all of them will likely be valid. The problem is that the insurance you get from the cruise line is all but useless.
I’ve heard horror stories from several people who purchased insurance directly from the line. All had less than satisfying experiences when it came time to actually use it. One man was diagnosed with cancer a week before his cruise was to depart and needed to set up immediate treatments. When his wife called requesting a refund, she was told that there were no refunds and that the insurance only provided a partial future credit toward another cruise. She was advised that she could change her roommate and take the cruise without incurring a penalty. Totally angry, she took her grandson and vowed to never purchase insurance again –or sail with the line again.
In the above case, she was told she should have read the policy. Now unless you are very familiar with insurance terms and have the eyesight of a 20 year old, you will not be able to read or comprehend the fine print. The cruise lines know that too. The odds of you using it are pretty slim, so again, the odds are in the cruise line’s favor. The price of getting almost no coverage is around $70 per person for a seven night cruise, depending on the line. Ah! If only it were useful!
Do you need insurance? In a word, absolutely! From a medical standpoint, Medicare and most health policies won’t cover you out of the Country. You could be responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills with no chance of reimbursement. What if your plane arrives late and you miss your cruise? Or you need to be airlifted to a hospital where you can get treatment? Or you need to cancel your cruise for some other reason? These are a few of the many reasons where having insurance comes in handy.
So if you don’t get it from the cruise line, where do you get it? Your best bet is a third party insurer. Allianz and Travel Guard are the two largest and best known. Both offer a variety of travel policies and you buy only what you want and need. Both have been around a number of years and they offer easy to understand terms so you know what’s covered. You can even get free online quotes before you buy.
If you are an American Express customer, they offer a number of policies for an individual trip or on an annual basis for travel inconvenience. They also offer a wonderful medical insurance policy that will cover you and your spouse anytime you are more than 150 miles from home. It’s about $140 annually and covers any medical emergency. When tragedy strikes, your policy kicks in. If you carry a primary health insurance policy, American Express will pick up where your insurance leaves off, up to $100,000. The policy will afford you the best treatment available and even an air ambulance if needed, to get you where you need to go for treatment. While AMEX offers other policies for lost baggage, flight delays or other travel interruptions, it is not covered under this particular policy. I’ve had it for years and I’ve never used it, but I have the peace of mind of knowing that if I’m hurt while traveling – I will get quality care and I won’t go broke.
Allianz Travel Insurance – www.allianztravelinsurance.com
Travel Guard – www.TravelGuard.com
American Express – www.AmericanExpress.com/TravelInsurance or customers can contact AMEX with the phone number on the back of the card to inquire about worldwide medical insurance..