Cruises are a very popular vacation idea over the summer, with over 20 million passengers booking vacations on cruise ships. Cruise lines are constantly looking for ways to make their customers’ on-board experiences better; whether they’re improving the on-board entertainment, developing more luxurious cabins, or even offering added purchase options such as cruise travel insurance plans. These cruise line protection plans are essentially travel insurance benefits provided by a carrier that the cruise lines offer as an add-on item for an extra cost. Cruise insurance plans may seem like a better option for customers in comparison to traditional insurance policies purchased through third-party insurance companies. However, is it really something that can just replace traditional insurance policies? Although cruise line protection plans may seem convenient, they also have quite a few drawbacks. Some of these disadvantages include:
Coverage Doesn’t Mean Reimbursement
One of the most amazing things about travel insurance is that you get your hard-earned money back when things don’t work out and you aren’t able to go on your trip. That’s the entire point of insurance: providing you with a cushion so you don’t have to worry about losing your money. But, what if you didn’t even get reimbursed? This might be the biggest drawback to cruise protection plans offered by cruise lines; they do cover you if you need to cancel your trip – but:
1.) You don’t generally get reimbursed for your flight, accommodations, or anything outside of the actual cruise itself, and,
2.) You don’t generally get reimbursed with money, or cash. Rather, many of these cruise lines will supply you with rewards points or cruise credit, giving you an opportunity to reschedule your cruise with a limited time frame. But many obstacles can deter this coverage from even being effective. What if you can’t go within the limited time frame, for example? Then your coverage would go to waste and you would lose your money.
Less Benefit Amount
Many cruise insurance protection plans offer the same benefits that can be found in a traditional insurance policy, including trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical evacuation, and even 24-hour worldwide assistance. The difference is there are limitations with the covered amount offered in cruise insurance plans. For example, most traditional policies offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage for the medical evacuation. However, most cruise line protection plans offer no more than $50,000 in coverage.
Fewer Covered Reasons
In order to get coverage for a cancelled or interrupted trip, your reason for doing so needs to be a reason that is explicitly listed as a covered reason in the plan details. Most insurance policies you purchase individually do offer a plethora of reasons for which you may get reimbursed. However, with cruise line protection plans, these covered reasons can be rather strict and limiting. For example, you may not be covered to cancel your trip if you are requested to report to military duty. This is a reason that is covered by most third party insurance policies.
Vague Payment Information
One thing I was able to notice personally as I was researching the different cruise lines’ protection plans and benefits was that many of them are very vague with regards to the information they provide on their websites. While most insurance companies include their individual plans and the monthly premium costs for each plan right on their website, these cruise lines generally leave that information in the dark, requiring you to contact a customer service rep in order to actually gather more information.
Cruise line protection plans are a great add-on that cruise lines have started to add to their services for customers. However, for those looking for the complete package that will give them the peace of mind they need, cruise line protection plans may not be enough. Whatever you do, make sure you do your research to determine which option is the best for your travel needs. Start by checking out our travel insurance options for cruises and reach out with any questions!