Switching to a luxurious cruise holiday because of terrorist attacks at airports? Smart choice. Embarking on a week-long cruise without travel insurance? Not so smart. Who’s to say terrorists won’t target harbours? Moreover, unexpected medical conditions can flare up without warning. Now that you know cruise insurance is actually a thing, let us sail you through a few pointers to help you grasp the importance of it.
Because it’s no fun to be stranded out at sea naked. In a manner of speech, that is.
Things Can Go Awry Out at Sea
For starters, the number one thing you need to understand about cruise insurance is that it’s just as essential as air travel insurance. Bad weather conditions can subject you to delays, re-routes and cancellations. There’s baggage loss that can happen mid-voyage. And, if you’re crap out of luck, attacks by Somali pirates. Assuming none of that happens, what if you only found out about a sea sickness you didn’t know you had while onboard and you literally vomited your gut out? Whether it’s offshore medical expenses or recovery of sunk costs, it’d be a massive relief to have someone paying for these unforeseen circumstances.
Yes, this ‘someone’ we’re talking about is travel insurance for cruises, and there are a couple of ways you can buy yourself such protection before you set sail.
Private Insurers Offer Cruise Coverage In Travel Insurance
Most private insurers such as NTUC Income, Aviva and Allianz do cover for cruises under their existing travel insurance plans. That means whatever benefits you would be covered for flights also apply to your cruise mishaps, without any notable exclusions or limits. You can spend an hour on Google researching the best travel insurance and another hour calling up agents for inquiries, or you can simply spend a few minutes comparing them on GoBear. Alternatively, if you’re too lazy to do even that, you can just plonk down a few extra bucks on the cruise website to throw in their in-house insurance plan into your holiday itinerary.
That begs the question: Should you really buy travel insurance plans bundled into the cruise?
Cruise Insurance vs Private Insurers: Which Is Better?
In the first place, some cruises don’t offer travel insurance to go with your holiday cruise booking. Some others sail the extra mile to offer a little more TLC with their in-cruise insurance. Their medical and hospitalisation coverages might look overly generous on paper, so you’ll have to dig deeper and ask questions. There could be exclusions on refund and cancelation policies hidden somewhere in the T&Cs. Understand that the cruise operators’ core business is still to sell out their cabins, not to be your friendly neighborhood insurance agent. Don’t forget that travel plans by private insurers cover more than just out-at-sea holidays, and they offer premium discounts from time to time.
While we at Team GoBear favour private travel insurance on those basis, in-cruise plans do have an edge in medical evacuation claims in the event of serious injuries. You can live to tell the tale of how you managed to hitch a fully sponsored heli-ride in the middle of your cruise.
What to Look Out For In Cruise Travel Insurance
If you have to compare in-house cruise insurance and private travel insurance plans on your own, pay special attention to claim limits for medical evacuation, overseas emergency medical treatment and hospitalisation, personal accidents (death and disability) and the non-medical fields such as travel delays, cancellations and baggage loss.
The scope of coverage may be a little wider for private travel insurance plans, but they may not necessarily have medical claim limits as high as in-cruise ones. For example, there’s no cap placed on how much you can claim for medical evacuation under Royal Caribbean Cruise’s Asia CruiseCare insurance, whereas POSB’s TravellerShield is limited to only S$1 million despite including coverage for high risk activities.
Compare private travel insurance plans that offer unlimited medical evacuation and high personal accident limits. Then compare the premiums against that of the cruises to check for significant differences. From there, you should be able to distill the more worthwhile cruise insurance.
Cruise Travel Insurance from Travel Agencies
It is unlikely that travel agencies would have had travel insurance integrated into your cruise holiday package. In the case of those that do, the coverage might be inadequate. Either way, we have painstakingly put together a list of four cruise travel insurance policies that would ensure a smooth sailing cruise experience.
Bad weather, Somali pirates and nausea ain’t got nothing on you now.
For an affordable single trip premium, the following recommendations all come with unlimited medical evacuation and a host of other benefits:-
Royal Caribbean Asia CruiseCare (in conjunction with Allianz)
Offered exclusively to Royal Caribbean Cruise members only, this travel insurance covers for land and air journeys on top of the cruise. Trip cancellations are immediately eligible from the day of purchase.
NTUC Income Travel Insurance
High claim limits for both individuals and families. You can qualify for group discount on premiums if you buy for a group of six or more travelers. Speaking of premiums, you can opt for NTUC Income’s Enhanced PreX plans which cover even pre-existing medical conditions.
AIG Travel Guard
Comprehensive field of coverage with supplementary benefits like pet care and terrorism. High claim limits even for the basic plan.
In the age of terrorism, you never know when it is going to strike. This travel insurance offers full terrorism coverage (nuclear/biological/chemical means) for some reprieve in the event of a dastardly attack.