In a lot of ways, booking a cruise feels like you’re buying a “vacation in a box.” Once you decide on a cruise line, your cruise ship and an itinerary you like, you simply show up and all your lodging, transportation and meals are included in the trip cost.
That said, cruises come with the same considerations as any other trip, including the potential for trip interruption, unforeseen medical expenses and even a need for emergency medical evacuation. Add in the potential for unruly weather that can cause your cruise to be canceled or delayed, as well as COVID-related complications that could prevent you from traveling, and it’s easy to see why cruise insurance plans are so popular and recommended.
Whether you want to make sure you have medical insurance that works for your cruise or you’re worried you’ll need evacuation coverage if you get hurt at a port of call, it’s smart to purchase protection for your trip. U.S. News compared dozens of the top providers, considering cruise-specific coverage, ratings from third parties like AM Best and customer reviews, to find the best cruise insurance plans. Read on to find out which cruise travel insurance plans U.S. News recommends, as well as how to find the right insurance policy for your needs.
Best Cruise Insurance Plans
— AIG Travel Guard
— AXA Assistance USA
— Berkshire Hathaway WaveCare
— Seven Corners
Looking for more information on how to select cruise insurance and what to consider? Jump to the FAQ section at the bottom of this page.
AIG Travel Guard
|Highly customizable travel insurance plans with excellent coverage limits||Lowest tier Essential plan offers minimal coverage for medical expenses and trip delays|
|Trip cancellation coverage is good for up to 100% of trip cost with all plans||Only $500 in dental coverage offered across all plans|
AIG Travel Guard is a top-rated travel insurance company that lets you buy cruise-specific coverage that can help you recover losses. The company’s trip insurance plans cover cancellation or interruption of your cruise due to sickness, injury or death of a family member or traveling companion, as well as trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses and trip delays in varying amounts.
You can also add on “cancel for any reason” (or CFAR) coverage with the higher tier Preferred and Deluxe plans, but not the lowest tier Essential travel insurance plan.
The Deluxe travel insurance plan comes with the most robust selection of benefits and the highest coverage limits overall. For example, a Deluxe plan from AIG Travel Guard comes with a preexisting medical conditions exclusion waiver if you purchase coverage within 14 days of your initial cruise deposit date. Limits for coverage are also exceptional with this plan, including up to $1 million in protection for emergency medical evacuation, up to $150,000 in trip cancellation coverage, up to $225,000 in coverage for trip interruptions, and up to $100,000 in medical coverage.
You can also customize this plan with add-ons other than cancel for any reason coverage, such as an adventure sports bundle, a lodging expense bundle, additional protections for weddings and more.
AXA Assistance USA
|Provides comprehensive coverage for all aspects of cruising||Does not offer cruise-specific travel insurance plans|
|Concierge services included|
AXA Assistance USA offers several different travel insurance plans that can work well for cruising, and each tier comes standard with the following benefits:
— Trip cancellation coverage
— Trip interruption protection
— Travel delay coverage
— Protection for missed connections
— Emergency accident and sickness coverage
— Emergency medical evacuation
— Accidental death and dismemberment coverage
— Coverage for lost and delayed baggage
Limits for each type of coverage apply across the brand’s Silver, Gold and Platinum plans, and the most robust coverage comes with top tier Platinum protection. For example, this travel insurance policy comes with $300 per day ($1,200 maximum) in protection for trip delays, $1,500 in coverage for missed connections, $250,000 in coverage for emergency accidents and sickness, and $1 million in coverage for emergency medical evacuation.
The Platinum plan from AXA Assistance USA also comes with a few added perks you can’t get with other coverage tiers, such as $500 in coverage for lost golf rounds.
You can also add cancel for any reason coverage to the Platinum plan provided you purchase it within 14 days of paying the initial trip deposit for your cruise. This coverage lets you cancel your cruise for any reason, including disinclination to travel due to COVID-19, in which case you can get 75% back of your prepaid travel expenses reimbursed.
Berkshire Hathaway WaveCare
|Comes with enhanced medical and luggage benefits, protections for cruise-ship disablement and more||Only $500 in emergency dental coverage included|
|Cruise delay coverage kicks in after five hours||Only get $500 in reimbursement if your cruise ship becomes disabled|
Berkshire Hathaway offers a cruise-specific travel insurance plan known as WaveCare, and it offers the main protections you’ll need if your cruise is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason. For example, this cruise insurance plan provides protection for medical emergencies, unexpected cruise cancellation, travel delays, lost luggage and cruise ship disablement.
This travel insurance company also offers an easy shopping experience, and they say they reimburse nonrefundable travel expenses up to five times faster than the industry average. All plans also come with 24/7 emergency travel assistance, so you’ll always have someone to turn to for help.
Notable coverages that come standard with a WaveCare plan include:
— Up to $75,000 in protection for emergency medical care
— Emergency evacuation coverage worth up to $750,000
— Cruise cancellation coverage worth up to $25,000 per person
— Cruise interruption coverage worth up to $37,500 per person
— Cruise interruption coverage for return airfare worth up to $1,000
— Cruise delay coverage worth up to $1,000 ($200 per day for delays of five hours or more)
— Missed connection coverage worth up to $500 (three hours or more)
— Cruise ship disablement coverage worth up to $500
— Up to $1,500 in coverage for baggage and personal effects
— Up to $75,000 in emergency medical coverage
|Trip interruption coverage reimburses 125% to 150% of prepaid travel expenses with all plans||Lower tier plans have low limits for itinerary changes and baggage delays|
|Prepaid excursions missed during an itinerary change are covered||Emergency dental coverage is capped at $750 for all three plans|
Nationwide offers three different tiers of coverage for cruises — a Universal Cruise Plan, a Choice Cruise Plan and a Luxury Cruise Plan. The Universal plan offers fewer coverage options and lower limits that can make sense for budget cruises, whereas the Luxury plan is geared toward travelers who plan trips with the more luxury cruise lines.
The company’s middle tier Choice Cruise Plan can be a good option for cruisers who want comprehensive travel insurance but don’t want to pay more than they have to. This plan comes with 100% reimbursement for trip cancellation, up to 150% in reimbursement for trip interruptions, up to $1,500 in coverage for a missed connection, and up to $750 in coverage for trip delays.
You also get various coverages for itinerary changes, including up to $500 in reimbursement for excursions you miss due to an updated port of call. You can add CFAR coverage to this plan for an additional cost.
The Choice Cruise Plan also comes with:
— Up to $750 in emergency dental coverage
— Up to $500,000 in protection for emergency medical evacuations
— A preexisting conditions waiver if you purchase your plan within 14 days of making your initial trip deposit
— Up to $2,500 in coverage for baggage and personal effects
— $25,000 in protection for nonmedical evacuation
|Choose from two cruise-specific plans based on your needs||Lower trip cancellation limits than other providers|
|Get coverage for missed cruise connections and tours||Emergency dental coverage not included|
Seven Corners offers two different travel insurance plans specific to cruises: a RoundTrip Basic plan and a RoundTrip Choice plan. These plans go beyond typical travel insurance to offer special coverages for COVID-19 as well as missed cruise connections. You can also add CFAR coverage to either of their plans, and this coverage can reimburse you for up to 75% of your prepaid travel expenses if you need to cancel your trip.
While the RoundTrip Choice plan from Seven Corners requires a higher premium, you’ll get more coverage and higher limits for your cruise that will come in handy if you need them. For example, this plan comes with up to $100,000 in coverage for trip cancellations, compared to just $30,000 in limits for the RoundTrip Basic plan.
Other coverages that come with the RoundTrip Choice plan include:
— Up to 150% in reimbursement for trip interruption
— Up to $250 per person, per day in trip delay coverage ($2,000 maximum)
— Missed tour or cruise connection coverage worth up to $2,500
— Emergency medical expense coverage worth up to $500,000
— Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage worth up to $1 million
— Political and security evacuation coverage worth up to $20,000
— Up to $2,500 in protection for baggage and personal effects
— Up to $100 per day ($500 maximum) in coverage for baggage delays of six hours or more
You can add optional trip interruption for any reason (IFAR) coverage to this plan as well, which will reimburse you for eligible prepaid travel expenses if your trip needs to be interrupted for a reason not traditionally covered by travel insurance.
|Travel Select plan offers primary coverage with no deductibles required||Only get $500 to $1,000 in coverage for baggage and personal effects|
|Customize your plan with additional medical coverage||$100 to $200 maximum coverage for baggage delays|
Consider Travelex for your cruise insurance plan if you want coverage on and off the ship, as well as trip cancellation and delay coverage, and protection for emergency medical evacuation. This company offers two basic trip plans for cruises: a Travel Basic plan and a Travel Select plan.
While the Travel Basic plan provides some basic protections and coverage options for cruisers, the Travel Select plan offers higher limits and more protections overall. This plan comes with standard benefits such as:
— Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of total trip cost
— Trip interruption coverage worth up to 150% of trip cost
— $2,000 in trip delay coverage ($250 per day)
— $750 in coverage for missed connections
— Emergency medical care coverage worth up to $50,000
— Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage worth up to $500,000
— Dental care coverage worth up to $500
— Up to $1,000 in coverage for baggage and personal effects
— Up to $200 in coverage for baggage delays
— Travel assistance services
How does cruise insurance work?
While some travel insurance companies offer plans that are specific to cruises, you can purchase international travel insurance for cruises from any major provider. When you get a quote for travel insurance, you’ll be asked to list information like the countries you’re visiting, the cost of your trip and each traveler’s age. Some companies will also ask whether you’re traveling by car, by air or by cruise ship, and all you have to do is answer honestly.
Either way, cruise insurance provides a range of protections that can help you get reimbursed if your trip doesn’t go according to plan. Common cruise insurance benefits include:
— Trip cancellation insurance
— Trip interruption coverage
— Protection for medical emergencies
— Emergency medical evacuation coverage
— Trip delay coverage
— Coverage for lost baggage
— Baggage delay coverage
With each of these protections, a coverage limit is listed with your plan. This means you may get reimbursed for your losses or prepaid travel expenses up to this limit, but only when a covered reason applies to your claim.
What kind of cruise-specific coverages should I look for?
While any travel insurance plan can work well for cruises, there are a few cruise-specific protections to look for. One example is cruise ship disablement coverage, which can kick in to reimburse you when your cruise ship becomes disabled and it affects your enjoyment of the trip.
You can also find plans that provide reimbursement for missed shore excursions, as well as itinerary changes that are beyond your control.
How can you save money on cruise insurance?
If you want to get the best deal on cruise insurance, you should take the time to shop around among at least a few different providers and compare quotes. Getting a travel insurance quote from different companies is the best way to compare premiums, as well as included coverage options and policy limits, to understand what each plan offers.
If you don’t want to spend time getting quotes from multiple providers, you can use a travel insurance comparison site like Squaremouth or InsureMyTrip.com instead. These websites let you enter your information just once, yet you’ll get trip insurance quotes from several different companies.
Do cruise insurance plans require a deductible?
Some cruise insurance plans require deductibles and copays while others do not. Make sure you compare plans based on deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses you’ll need to pay before coverage begins.
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