Should I consider specialist cruise travel insurance?
Specialist cruise travel insurance is a type of cover that is geared towards the things that might happen while you are on a cruise - such as transport to a hospital if you take ill while at sea or missed port stops.
Taking a cruise is a great way to holiday. Many people love the idea of waking up in a different place every day and enjoying life at sea. That makes it even more important to take a cruise-specific travel insurance policy so that you can head off on your adventure with the peace of mind that you have cover.
Our guide to cruise travel insurance should help to answer any questions you might have.
From 17 May 2021, a travel traffic light system has been introduced and trips to green listed countries will be legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority, which can be found here.
If a country is on the green list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you're aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.
The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to most amber and red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.
Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Find out more here
Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions
Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.
Frequently asked questions
What does cruise travel insurance cover?
The main benefit of getting cruise travel insurance will be to cover the specific risks and activities associated with this type of holiday.
Policies do vary from provider to provider, but most should include:
- emergency medical treatment costs, including emergency helicopter transfers, hospital and ambulance fees, and cover to get home if you can’t use your original ticket.
- missed port cover protects you if a planned destination visit is cancelled because of bad weather or timetabling. In other words, if you miss out on an island or city that you were looking forward to visiting, you’ll get some money back.
- cabin confinement cover means that you can claim a payment if you have to stay in your cabin due to illness. (You would need to have been confined to cabin by the ship’s medical officer to claim.)
- unused excursions protection should pay out if you miss an excursion because of an accident, injury or illness. This might only apply to excursions you choose at the point of booking your cruise, not ones you have booked since being on board.
- cover for the cost of a friend or relative staying with you while you’re treated or flying out from home to support you if needed.
- cover if you lose your baggage or its contents (or they’re stolen), and refund you if the trip has to be cancelled or cut short for some reason.
- cancellation or curtailment – useful if your trip is cancelled or cut short.
What’s a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
If you need medical treatment while cruising in Europe, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means you can get medical treatment at the same cost as the locals.
After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.
However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.
The EHIC/GHIC isn’t a substitute for travel cover; it won’t pay for getting you home or other costs linked to a medical emergency.
Be aware, that it’s valid in most but not all European countries. However, if you’re going on a cruise outside of the EU, there’s no EHIC/GHIC so it can be expensive to get medical support.
Will the countries my cruise visits affect the price of my insurance?
The countries you visit while on holiday could well impact on the price of your cruise travel insurance.
For example, the following countries all have a high level of private health care, therefore it costs more to receive treatment there. As a result, you might find it’s more expensive to get cover if you’re visiting any of these countries:
- North and Central America (including the USA)
- China and Hong Kong
- EU countries such as: Greece, Malta, Spain and Cyprus
To give you an idea of the costs of medical care and repatriation, when a UK traveller recently suffered a stroke in the USA, £768,000 was paid to cover the medical costs, including £60,000 for an air ambulance back home.
Who are you travelling with?
You can get cruise travel insurance:
If you’re including other people in your cruise insurance, you’ll need their dates of birth and details of any pre-existing medical conditions they might have to get an accurate quote.
Bear in mind too, that a group premium will be affected by the ages and health of other participants, so if one person is over 80, for example, it may work out cheaper to get that person an individual policy.
What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
It’s important that you list any pre-existing medical conditions and give insurance providers all the information they need. Otherwise, you might be charged more by your provider or not be covered.
If your insurance provider discovers that the medical emergency on your trip was linked to a condition you already had, they could refuse to pay your bills or add a cost.
Make sure you mention any conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes in your quote; you could be risking thousands of pounds if you don’t.
What are the top 3 tips when choosing cruise travel insurance?
Before picking your cruise travel insurance policy, bear the following three top tips in mind:
- Check cabin confinement daily amounts – if you can’t leave your cabin you could be able to get £15-£1,000 a day. Some providers cover the cost of missed excursions too.
- Find the right cancellation refund – make sure you choose a policy that covers the cost of your cruise, as payouts can range from £250-£25,000.
- Choose the right cover limits – to cover all eventualities, we recommend the minimum amount of medical cover you should choose is £1m for Europe and £2m for the rest of the world.
Where can I compare cruise travel insurance quotes?
Let us help you find the right cruise travel cover policy for you. Simply compare cruise travel insurance and get a quote in minutes.