Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. For that reason, you may consider purchasing cruise insurance. But is it worth it? Here’s a look at what you need to know before purchasing cruise insurance.

What Exactly Is Cruise Insurance?

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Before you decide whether or not cruise insurance is worth it, it’s essential to understand precisely what cruise insurance is. Insurers are different, as are the policies they issue. You are tasked with determining what policy and coverages are best for your particular situation.

Some general coverages that are often included on cruise policies include:

  • Missing the boat
  • Non-refundable expenses
  • Medical evacuation
  • Medical treatment
  • 24-hour emergency assistance number
  • Repatriation
  • Trip cut short

Deciding Whether or Not to Purchase Cruise Insurance

If you ask someone whether or not you should purchase cruise insurance, they are likely to answer with a resounding “yes!” However, they aren’t the ones who are paying the premiums, nor are they privy to the particular policy you’re looking at. When you are weighing the pros and cons, it often comes down to what is covered and the premium cost. You have to add up and compare what you stand to lose on travel expenses versus the cost of insuring them.

The answer on whether cruise insurance is worth it typically comes down to how comprehensive the policy is and how efficiently the claim is handled.

Tips for Choosing Cruise Insurance

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Start by recognizing that not all of the coverages mentioned above are available on all policies. Start by speaking with an insurance broker who sells policies from multiple companies so you can compare policy benefits and aren’t locked into one insurer only. Sites like Consumer Reports recommend you comparison shop. Don’t buy trip insurance when prompted to by the airline or cruise line’s website. These sellers are often commissioned agents, so they will try to upsell you on coverage that you may or may not need. This isn’t to say their insurance is not great; it just means you could be purchasing more coverage than you need, or that the policy cost is higher in general.

You may not be aware that you already have coverage that extends to your cruise. Some credit cards include travel-related coverage and/or trip cancellation insurance. Check with your health insurance provider to determine what services are covered if you are out of the country and need to be medically evacuated. If you have Medicare, it usually doesn’t cover anything out of the country, but additional coverage might. You can also check addendums on your home, rental and car policies.

Risk Factors

Determining whether cruise insurance is worth it also depends on individual risk factors. Someone who is in their early 20s with no health concerns may not be as likely to cancel a vacation as someone who has been dealing with health issues.

Another potential risk factor is the time of year you are traveling. If your cruise falls in the middle of hurricane season, are you willing to gamble with mother nature? It may surprise you to learn that if you go on the cruise and the itinerary is completely changed around due to weather, your cruise insurance likely won’t cover the cost of the trip.

Do you have several connections on your outbound flights and are arriving right before your cruise starts? If there are weather delays or there or other problems with airport operations, you could miss a connection and the beginning of your cruise. Getting reimbursement can be extremely difficult. If you have a comprehensive cruise trip policy, it may reimburse you the cost of flying to the next port destination and a hotel in the meantime.

The Value of Cruise Insurance Is a Personal Decision

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Every traveler’s situation is different, and not everyone will need or benefit from purchasing cruise insurance. Sick family members back home, a Caribbean cruise in the height of hurricane season or multiple outbound flight connections may make cruise insurance entirely worth it. Just remember to do your homework and don’t overpay. Websites like Insure My Trip can be an excellent resource for comparing cruise insurance policies.