We are cruising Western Caribbean 1/29/06 on Explorer of the Seas and would like to purchase travelers insurance. From personal experience which insurance company would you recommend????
So glad you are investigating your trip protection options. No one should cruise without it. Tom researched this issue and has wirtten an informative article for Cruise Reviews. Based on his research he recommends Travel Insured as his top choice and runner-up Travel Guard. Traveling as much as I do, I must agree with Tom's evaluation of Travel Insured - they provide some of the most comprehensive coverage at the most affordable price - they are who I use.
Here is an excerpt from the article that details the inclusions. I hope this helps.
Medical Evacuation: I was once on the QE2 Eastbound when a gentleman had a heart attack a couple of days out from Boston. He was not covered by insurance, but the ship’s doctor had no recourse but to call for an emergency evacuation in order to limit the cruise line’s liability in a wrongful death lawsuit. If the gentleman died and they had not made every effort to save him, virtually every attorney would hold the cruise line responsible for the client's death. His wife pleaded for the doctor to just let him stay in the infirmary, but the doctor had no choice. The seas were running about 40 feet and the QE2 changed its course to head to within helicopter range of Newfoundland. After three hours or so in heavy seas, a helicopter arrived to pick the guy off the top deck of the ship. Because of the movement of the ship in the heavy seas, the helicopter was unable to pick the fellow up and called for a single winged aircraft to act as a spotter plane so that the helicopter could get into the proper position. It took almost an hour after the second aircraft arrived, but they successfully rescued the gentleman from the deck of the ship. It was estimated that the cost of the rescue was in the range of $40,000. Of course the gentleman and his wife were responsible for the expense, not to mention the rest of the medical expenses once he was delivered to the hospital in Newfoundland.
If you are at any risk whatsoever, you should make sure that you are covered by medical evacuation insurance to resolve such a tragedy. If you are traveling internationally, I would strongly suggest medical evacuation insurance in the amount of $50,000. To travel without this is absolutely foolish. I have seen medical evacuations on virtually every cruise I have taken (and that’s a lot.)
Trip Cancellation: My favorite story about trip cancellation is when Tom and Mary Milano read a review I wrote on the Sea Princess where a fellow was held in the ship’s infirmary for two days until arriving in Puerto Vallarta and was then put off the ship pending a doctor’s statement of health. He missed the ship and was subsequently evacuated to San Diego for treatment for a mild heart attack. Fortunately, he had travel insurance and was fully covered for trip interruption, medical and medical evacuation. I wrote of the importance of insurance and how everyone should buy it if they have any risk whatsoever. Tom read the article and then called his travel agent to purchase travel insurance for his next cruise that he had just booked. Lo and behold, Tom suffered an injury shortly before the cruise and was able to recapture his investment in the cruise from his insurance company.
You should be entirely covered for cancellation of your trip.
Bankruptcy Protection: In this day and age, you should be covered should the vendor (s) providing transportation or services for your trip go bankrupt or otherwise fail to perform. As sad as it is, this is a very real scenario in today’s world and one does not have to go very far to find examples of folks that have lost tens of thousands of dollars when their tour company or cruise line went belly up.
Emergency Medical Expense: Ok, say something does happen and your medical evacuation is covered, how about the hospital costs once you get to the hospital?
Trip Delay and/or Missed Connection: On almost every group I escort, someone is either delayed in his or her departure, or misconnects on his or her way to the ship. Having the additional cost covered to correct the situation adds options that can resolve the problem quickly.
Assistance and Support: If you do have a problem, what kind of support and assistance does the insurance company offer? Will they actually help you by lending a personalized service to resolve your problems? This is a HUGE benefit when traveling internationally.
Lost, stolen or delayed Luggage: The inconvenience of having your luggage lost by the airlines is irritating, but the carrier’s liability in these instances is not enough to recover your actual loss. Look for additional coverage in case your baggage is lost or stolen. Also, if you luggage is delayed arriving at your destination, what kind of relief is there for you to acquire items necessary to survive?
Other Miscellaneous Benefits: Most policies have death and dismemberment benefits, dental benefits and other benefits that may be important to you, however the above list represents the bulk of necessary inclusions you should look for.
That is a truly great article and something that every traveler should read. I never go on a cruise or vacation without first buying an insurance policy. To me it is simple - why risk thousands of dollars for the sake of saving a couple hundred, which is often the price we pay for the insurance. I personally know three people who booked cruises but failed to get insurance - and then circumstances caused them to miss their cruises. And of course, they lost the total costs for their cruises.
Count me among those who never books a cruise without travel insurance. The main reason is trip interruption. We even took out insurance for a two-night cruise to nowhere that left from a nearby port. what if one of us had to be evacuated? What if something happened to our parents, who are, frankly, getting on in years.
That's another thing -- we make sure to take out the insurance within the window that would waive the pre-existing condition clause. It varies by contract, but is typically around 7 days from the time of booking.