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Travel | Money
What Does Cruise Insurance Cover?


Cruising offers convenience—unpack once and your vacation begins. Although you anticipate smooth sailing, unexpected issues could impact your travel plans. This could include an illness or a family emergency, which could cause you to cancel your cruise, or hassles like flight delays, which may cause you to miss your cruise.

“Travel insurance provides peace of mind for insured travelers embarking on trips across the country or around the globe, a variety of benefits, including some exclusive to AAA members, extend coverage for covered delays, cancellations, lost luggage and medical emergencies so you can enjoy your vacation without worry,” said Daniel Durazo, spokesperson with Allianz Partners USA. AAA Travel partners with Allianz to offer members the best travel insurance possible.

Here’s a deep dive into how travel insurance for cruises can provide a variety of protection and coverage for your trip.

family on cruise ship, looking out at ocean

Your cruise cost, transportation expenses, and pricey excursions can be at risk should unforeseen issues arise. “All cruise line cancellation penalties are very severe, especially if cancellation is within 30 days of departure and if you don’t have travel insurance to cover those penalties, you will lose all your money,” warns Sue Martinez, travel advisor with AAA in Dayton, Ohio.

Durazo explained that cruise ships sail as scheduled and don’t offer late check-in like a hotel, so cruise insurance with trip cancellation, delay, and interruption benefits is valuable should you miss the ship for a reason that is covered by your policy.

Cruises are often booked with significant lead time, leaving ample opportunity for something to go awry, and by securing travel insurance at the same time you book your cruise, Durazo explained that travelers enjoy the longest period of coverage for all the reasons included on their policy.

Shore excursions allow immersive experiences on a cruise, and if you miss your cruise and shore excursions due to covered reasons outlined in your policy, you may be covered for any unused, non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs. Durazo cautions to be sure to include the cost of the excursion(s) in your total trip cost when the cruise insurance is purchased.

AAA Members receive exclusive amenities on cruises. Learn More

girl looking at cruise ship from dock

Missing your cruise departure can be incredibly stressful and expensive. “In a worst-case scenario, travel insurance can help pay for the cost of catching up with your cruise at the next port of call when you’re delayed due to a reason covered by your policy,” said Durazo. According to Durazo, Your plan’s coverage can help pay for the extra costs incurred during a significant delay, as well as costs incurred during a missed connection, up to the policy limit.

Should you become ill or injured while on board, the ship’s infirmary is a good resource. However, if you don’t have travel insurance that covers seeing the ship’s doctor, you often have to pay out of pocket for these services, noted Durazo.

“If you require additional care or advanced services obtained while in a foreign port, a travel insurance plan with emergency medical benefits may provide coverage and translation services, guarantee payment and help return you home safely,” he clarified.

Durazo also noted that choosing cruise trip insurance with emergency medical benefits is also important to consider for cruises, so that you’re covered in the unlikely scenario that you need to be transferred from the ship to an appropriate medical facility during your voyage. “Full payment often is required prior to treatment, which travel insurance may also cover up to the limit of your policy,” he pointed out.

According to Martinez, Allianz does provide medical and emergency medical transportation as part of their travel insurance for cruises. For example, a policy that offers $25,000 medical and $500,000 per person will be okay if you’re in the Caribbean, United States, Mexico, and Canada/New England. But, she recommends considering a policy with $75,000 medical and $1,000,000 emergency medical per person for Europe, Asia, and South America. “It can cost over $1,000,000 for a short hospital stay and a medical jet to get you home,” explained Martinez.