While travel insurance isn’t mandatory with most cruise operators, if you choose not to purchase it before you set sail, you run the risk of financial disaster if something unexpected happens. Here are a few scenarios to consider:
Medical Emergency: Say you have a heart attack while you’re on a cruise and the ship’s doctor decides your condition requires treatment at a hospital. You might be evacuated from the ship immediately (at your expense) or you may be dropped off at the next scheduled port of call where you’ll need to pay for any treatment out of pocket if you don’t have travel insurance. If that medical facility isn’t equipped to manage your case, you may then be rerouted to a hospital back home.
While publicly-available emergency transportation fees are hard to come by due to the many variables that make up the final bill, Allianz estimates that cost of a stretcher flight with a medical escort averages between $25,000 to $30,000 USD, while an air ambulance can cost up to $50,000 USD.
Trip Cancellation: Say you need to cancel your trip for some reason, such as a family emergency, you get called for jury duty or your spouse loses their job. Most cruise operators have a strict no-refund policy within a set period of time, such as 30 or 60 days before your cruise departs. Without trip cancellation coverage, you’ll be out all those prepaid non-refundable expenses.
Travel Delay: Imagine you’re all excited to beat Canadian winter with a Carribbean cruise leaving from Miami. Trouble is, your flight out of Toronto gets cancelled due to a two-day snowstorm, and the cruise ship leaves without you. Unless you have travel insurance with coverage for a missed connection, you’ll be paying out of pocket for a catch-up fare to the next port of call.
Trip Interruption: You’re halfway through your 14-day cruise when you hear your father had a bad fall and broke his hip. You need to get home quickly. Travel insurance that has trip interruption coverage will pay (up to the covered limits) for an early flight home. Otherwise, you’re no longer just worrying about your dad, but how to shell out for an unexpected flight.