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Cruise Critic News: Does Your Insurance Still Cover Your Cruise? Always Check.


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(5:10 p.m. EDT) -- Buying trip insurance for a cruise is almost an automatic reaction for many cruisers, particularly during these uncertain times. Some readers, however, are learning the hard way that some insurance providers are no longer interested in covering their cruise vacations from unexpected interruptions and cancellations. In a move ...

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Interesting article and thanks for posting.  Although we have some expertise regarding medical insurance (worked in the industry for over 35 years) there are some basic "rules" that apply to all insurance that we have often posted.  Folks need to carefully read any insurance policy, before purchase, which includes the so-called fine print and definitions.  If one does not have a lot of personal knowledge they should also lean on experts for suggestions and advice.  We have talked to many cruisers that have made big errors on their insurance purchases and pay a heavy price when they need to file a claim.

 

My pet peeve, when it comes to travel insurance, is that too many folks focus on insuring relatively small loses/risk while ignoring the truly major loss potential risk.  For example, one might spent 10% of their cruise cost to insure cancellation of the cruise which might involve a total risk of $2000.  Keep in mind that they would have spent that $2000 if they took the cruise so this loss is not going to be devastating.  However, that same person might ignore health insurance where their risk is virtually unlimited!  Sure, you could lose that $2000 cruise payment if something goes wrong.  But consider that you could lose $100,000 (or more) if you happen to have a medical emergency while traveling outside your home country.  And it is the same with medical evacuation!  When DW severely injured her leg in Vietnam the transportation cost to get us both home cost about $20,000.  And that was for a commercial flight.  Use of a medical ambulance would have cost much more then $50,000!    So while many cruisers focus on covering the cost of their cruise (where your potential liability is limited by the cost of the cruise) they too often ignore other risks where the potential liability is unlimited!  

 

The big issue, now, is about coverage related to COVID.  Most (not all) travel policies have exclusions related to pandemics (i.e. COVID-19).  We submit that this is not a risk that should be taken by most folks....but will likely be ignored by many once cruising/travel resumes.  The costs related to COVID can be devastating.  Not only do you run the risk of the associated medical costs (which can be thousands of dollars per day) but may also have to deal with huge travel delays (i.e.  being stuck in a foreign land at your own expense).  We have a next door neighbor whose granddaughter got stuck in Peru for several weeks because of the difficulty in getting a commercial flight out of that country.  All the costs of that long delay was on her!

 

Hank

 

Hank

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  • 2 months later...

I've been on 31 cruises with DH, + 2 more with my daughter in Alaska.  Except the Alaska cruise (2) tour, every cruise I've been on has had a helicopter  sweep in to evacuate someone,  DH and I found out about this on our first  cruise on the NCCL Crown (that's way back folks).  While on her honeymoon a young lady broke her leg.  Hank is right!  From our 2nd cruise on, we've always gotten trip insurance, sometimes a step up that would cover one million dollars or more for evacuation.  The million was later in our cruising history.  Yes, it costs more, but that's what insurance is!  It covers the cost you can least afford.  By the way, that's thirty-one accidents, or health conditions requiring evacuation. The house in Vegas would love those odds!  Haven't been on the boards in quite a while.  Lost DH, my sailing partner.

Edited by dallasailor orig
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It almost funny you posted this about Alaska.  We have been on far more then 100 cruises (many of them measured in weeks or months) but only 3 to AK.  On 2 of the 3 AK cruises we also had one helicopter evacuation (by the way, helicopter evacs are free to the cruiser).  On the other 100+ (all over the world) we have only experienced 3 or 4 additional helicopter evacs.  I think AK cruises tend to attract many older seniors with pre-existing medical problems because they feel relatively safe on a cruise near either Canada or the USA.  When you are cruising around the world (and often days distant from the nearest port with no possibility of helicopter evac) folks are a bit more cautious.  

 

When posting on this blog I am always careful to speak to the differences between "trip insurance,"  "travel medical insurance,"  and emergency evacuation insurance.  I strongly believe that every traveler/cruiser should have adequate (I prefer a minimum of $100,000) of both medical and evacuation insurance.  The other things covered by most trip insurance policies (cancellation, interruption, etc) are more of a personal preference since those are not going to financially break the bank (you were going to pay for that trip anyway).  

 

My pet peeve is the inadequate medical coverage contained in the vast majority of policies sold by the cruise lines.  They tend to emphasize cancellation/interruption (which is often not insurance but more of a guarantee) rather then medical.  Many of these cruise line policies only cover $10,000 of medical (many others cover $25,000) which is almost laughable.  When insuring any risk, folks should first be concerned with coverage for a catastrophic event rather then the so-called first dollar of coverage.  So it is much more important (in terms of financial risk) to have coverage for the expensive medical event (which would be far more expensive then $10,000) then it is to have coverage for a smaller medical emergency.  A $10,000 loss is going to be very painful, but most will survive (financially).  But a $100,000 medical bill will bankrupt a majority of folks (medical costs are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the USA).  So first...insure against the kind of risk that can lead to bankruptcy and then you can think about how much more you want to pay to cover the smaller items.  But most folks think in an opposite way and worry about covering their risk for a $3000 cruise and ignore the risk of a $100,000+ medical emergency.

 

Hank

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On 11/13/2020 at 9:41 AM, dallasailor orig said:

I've been on 31 cruises with DH, + 2 more with my daughter in Alaska.  Except the Alaska cruise (2) tour, every cruise I've been on has had a helicopter  sweep in to evacuate someone,  DH and I found out about this on our first  cruise on the NCCL Crown (that's way back folks).  While on her honeymoon a young lady broke her leg.  Hank is right!  From our 2nd cruise on, we've always gotten trip insurance, sometimes a step up that would cover one million dollars or more for evacuation.  The million was later in our cruising history.  Yes, it costs more, but that's what insurance is!  It covers the cost you can least afford.  By the way, that's thirty-one accidents, or health conditions requiring evacuation. The house in Vegas would love those odds!  Haven't been on the boards in quite a while.  Lost DH, my sailing partner.

do - condolences on your loss.

 

I trust you are still or will sail again once C-19 is corralled and under good control.

 

bon voyage

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Just some words about helicopter evacs from vessels.  This is a dangerous operation (to the chopper, involved personnel, and the vessel) and is only done as a last resort.  Every evacuation of which we are aware has been done by Coast Guard (from various countries) or sometimes the military (often working with the nearest Coast Guard folks).  By international agreement there is no charge to the evacuee for this service.  Once the patient is brought to land they are normally responsible for all medical and transportation costs.   On our many voyages we have seen helicopter evacs done by the US Coast Guard, French coast guard, and Portuguese Coast Guard.  There have been many medical emergencies on our cruises since we are often on long cruise trips with lots of seniors...but most are cared for on board until the Captain can get the ship to the nearest port.   I should note that lots of places in the world are not even within range of any helicopter so cruisers will live or die based on the skill of the onboard medical staff.   We have been on cruises in the Pacific when we were days from the nearest evacuation point.  When Princess strongly recommended we evacuate DW home from Asia it was because the ship's physician was concerned about his ability to care for her during a 5 day period (from Northern Japan to Alaska) when air evacuation would have been impossible.  So, based on the ship's physician's opinion and with concurrence from our insurer we evacuated her (via commercial air) from Japan.   When a ship is going to be out of range of decent medical care the ship's physician will normally err on the side of caution.

 

Hank 

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