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Why Buy 3rd Party Travel Insurance?  
   
  by Chris Dikmen
 
 
   
   
 
 
 
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There is really no good reason not to purchase travel insurance. Can you afford to lose your deposit or your entire cruise fare in the event of an emergency or unforeseen event? Some people think that travel insurance is only valuable for elderly travelers or those with serious medical conditions that might impact their cruise. That can be a costly misconception.

Here are just a few things that could happen to you:

  • A medical or family emergency could prevent you from being able to take your cruise.
  • Your home could be severely damaged by fire, wind or flood within a few days of your scheduled departure causing you to miss your cruise, or this could happen while you are at sea.
  • Jury duty or a court appearance could interrupt your cruise.
  • You could be involved in an accident on the way to the airport.
  • The cruise line could experience a financial problem (such as bankruptcy) which would cause you to miss your trip and potentially lose your cruise fare.
  • An airline scheduling or flight problem could occur causing you to miss all or a portion of your cruise.
  • You could experience a medical emergency while on your cruise that could result in costly medical care or even costly evacuation from the ship via helicopter or boat. In most cases, it is better to buy travel insurance from an independent company through your travel agent as opposed to the insurance offered by the cruise line. These independent insurance companies provide more coverage and coverage is generally less expensive. Be aware that coverage and rates may vary by state. Ask your travel agent for a quote for your particular cruise and your state of residence.


Trip insurance is even more important in a questionable economy.

Too Much Risk?
USTIA (US Travel Insurance Association)
conducted a survey that found that less than 30% of US travelers had travel insurance. This was based on data showing that one out of eight US adults either had their travel impacted for various reasons and out of those impacted, only 29% had travel insurance.
In essence, 71% of US travelers took a
risk that could have possibly bankrupted them! US passports even have a “warning” under the page “Before You Travel Abroad” that insurance should be considered.
Trip insurance is typically based upon the total cost of your vacation (airfare and cruise). Of course, you can purchase less protection if you wish. For example, if your total cruise and air costs are $6,000, you could purchase a total of $4,000 in coverage and take the $2,000 risk yourself. This could lower your insurance costs and still cover you for most of your outlay. It should be noted that your policy will only reimburse you for the actual cost of your cruise (depending on the terms of the policy). Therefore, you should not purchase a $5,000 policy if your cruise only cost $2,300. The insurance company reimbursement will be based upon your total cruise fare less any refund paid by the cruise line.


Some insurance companies will offer different types of coverage under separate policies. This allows you to purchase only the insurance that you feel you need. However, most companies offer complete insurance packages. We highly recommend that your policy cover, at the very least, trip cancellation/interruption and emergency medical and health expenses including medical evacuation. The cancellation/interruption should cover the insured traveler and companion(s) against potential loss resulting from death, injury or serious illness. It is common for most policies to also protect you from loss in the event of death, injury or illness of a close family member not traveling with you. Emergency medical evacuation coverage will pay the costs of transportation from the ship to a location where quality medical care can be obtained. In some parts of the world, you may not care to receive medical treatment
in sub-standard medical facilities. Once your insurance company verifies your medical condition, they will authorize evacuation, the method of which is generally arranged by the insurance company. Lost/damaged baggage coverage is also good to have.

"TravelSafe is one of the oldest travel insurance companies that has been family run since 1971," says Scott Perfetto, President of TravelSafe. "Our company has been in the forefront of innovation and product development with benefits and
services that many don’t offer, along with being the very first to introduce a Cancel for Any Reason cash-back benefit. Our plans have recently been selected 'best' for two consecutive years (2012 & 2013) by Top Ten Reviews!"

Cancel For Any Reason


Some insurance companies offer an optional Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage for a nominal fee. This can be a valuable addition to your policy. Typically, this will protect you if you need to cancel your trip for a personal reason and will reimburse a percentage of your actual investment in the trip. The amount of coverage offered by CFAR will depend on the specific insurance company, so check your policy. CFAR may be desirable if you have a personal matter that may not be predictable. Let's say that you book your vacation 12 months from now, but you have a parent or loved one that is not in good health. You fear that if there is a medical crisis, or a death in the family that requires you to miss your trip, you could lose your investment. Cancel For Any Reason could provide protection for you in this situation.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have a pre-existing medical condition (one for which you have received treatment within the 60 or 90 days prior to purchasing the policy), you should check to make sure that your policy covers you. Pre-existing conditions can also apply to a family member at home whose death or illness may cause you to cancel your cruise. Therefore, if a family member at home dies during your cruise as the result of a pre-existing condition, your trip interruption coverage may not reimburse. To be safe, you should question your insurance company and request confirmation in writing if you have such concerns.





What About Medical Expenses On A Cruise?

If you have to see the doctor on a cruise ship, be prepared for some hefty
charges to be added to your onboard account. Doctor visits and prescription drugs are not part of your cruise fare. And, there is a very good chance that your health insurance coverage will not reimburse you for medical expenses incurred while outside the U.S. On a cruise in 2007, I had to go to the ship's doctor and required an IV due to dehydration. The bill was $750! Fortunately, my travel insurance company reimbursed the entire cost. On a cruise in 2004, Rickee slipped on some wet steps and broke a toe. That required a trip to the ship's doctor and a $425 bill. Again, our trip insurance reimbursed us for these expenses.

Is 3rd Party Insurance better?
"Ask yourself: do I want possible future credit for another cruise (from the cruise line) or a cash reimbursement (from a third party) if something goes wrong?" says Scott Perfetto, President of TravelSafe. "Cruise lines' plans are more of an afterthought, offering lower levels of benefits, limited coverage and minimal services. Our plans allow travelers to select the best coverage for their individual types of travel..."
What About Cruise Line Insurance?


Most cruise lines sell their own insurance. However, we have found that the coverage offe
red is inferior to what is offered by third-party insurance companies, and in many cases is more expensive.

Some travel insurance companies automatically include unlimited access to a 24-hour hotline for travel-assistance requests such as last-minute flight changes, hotel, and rental car reservations. These companies also provide assistance with travel emergencies such as doctor or dental referrals, emergency cash transfers, replacing lost or stolen credit cards or travel documents, travel safety advisories, e-mail and phone messaging to friends and family, and lost luggage tracing, You should check your individual policy for detailed information on how such situations are handled.

Some situations will be remedied with a 100% cash refund while others are remedied with 100% cruise credit toward a future cruise.

Your vacation can take several years to save for, but only a second to ruin. While you can't do anything to prevent an unexpected storm from closing an airport, you can do something to help cover your travel investment: buy travel insurance. TravelSafe is the official travel insurance provider for CruiseReport.com. They offer a variety of excellent plans and have an excellent reputation in the industry.

For an immediate insurance quote for your next trip, click here

Chris DIkmen is President of CruiseReport.com

   
2 Comments
CRUISEREPORT.COM EDITOR
Cindy, we have had very good experiences with 3rd party insurance. Claims for medical needs while traveling have always been paid promptly. We have never purchased cruise line insurance. I consider it worthless.
Saturday, January 23, 2010 7:23 AM  
CINDY TAGGART
Travel insurance with NCL IS NOT WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON. My sister and I followed every rule of thumb possible paid $300. plus for ins. used the airline they were teamed up with and still lost out big time.. Do not take their cruise line which cost $1700. plus and we lost trip time, our room, and our free bottles of wine go figure!!!!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:43 PM  
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