Cruise travel insurance: Everything you need to know before you buy

Jun 21, 2019
It's not very fun, but cruise travel insurance is definitely important. Source: Getty.

If you’re planning to take a cruise, buying travel insurance could mean the difference between a great getaway and the holiday from hell.

Holidaymakers tend to think that travel insurance is less important when travelling by cruise ship than by other methods, but the unexpected can still happen at sea, which is why it’s important to protect yourself.

With hundreds of policies out there and companies using technical jargon, purchasing the right insurance can be confusing. So with the help of Rod Attrill, the resident money expert at, here are a few things you should consider when selecting the most suitable policy.

What is cruise travel insurance?

Cruise cover usually comes as an add-on to travel insurance or can be included as part of your travel insurance policy. There isn’t one, cruise-specific travel insurance product you should look out for, however there are some things you should keep in mind when booking travel insurance for your cruise, Attrill explains.

He says it’s important to review travel insurance policies that cover overseas medical expenses, evacuations and even pre-existing conditions.

“Passengers with any pre-existing medical conditions should ensure their travel policy includes cover for their specific health needs to reduce the chance of having a claim denied,” Attrill says.

He also recommends checking whether your insurance policy covers all cruise activities, if you have to cancel your cruise or any prepaid excursions for unexpected reasons and lost, damaged or stolen personal belongings.

Do I need travel insurance for domestic cruising?

Even if the cruise is just in Australian waters, Attrill says it’s still important you take out travel insurance.

“This is because the moment your ship leaves port you may no longer be covered by Medicare or under your private health insurance policy”, he explains.

Many travellers would assume that they can rely on their private health cover or Medicare in case of a medical emergency while on holiday. But while that may be the case when you’re on dry land, it’s not true when you’re on the water.

Neither Medicare nor private heath insurers will cover the costs if you’re taken ill when taking a cruise between Aussie ports, or even if you’re still in an Australian port but onboard the ship.

“Whether you’re embarking on a cruise domestically around Australia or setting sail across Europe, it’s vital to check that your travel insurance cover is sufficient enough to meet your potential onshore and offshore medical expenses,” Attrill adds.

What does cruise travel insurance cover?

Put simply, travel insurance covers you for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost, damaged or stolen luggage and personal belongings, as well as a number of other problems that you could encounter whilst cruising.

“Having the right travel insurance can give you peace of mind that you’ll be financially protected if things don’t go as planned on your cruise holiday,” Attrill explains.

If there’s one thing guaranteed to put a dampener on your holiday, it’s getting sick. But, don’t fret, as Attrill adds: “You could also be covered if you are confined to your cabin for extended periods of time due to illness, stopping you from enjoying the on-board fun.”

Meanwhile, cancellation costs for pre-paid travel arrangements, trip delays or rescheduling fees and missed cruise departures are also covered by cruise travel insurance.

What’s not covered with cruise insurance?

Travel insurance may not cover loss or injury due to pre-existing medical conditions or mental health conditions. You may also find that you are not covered for loss or injury resulting from intoxication, drug use, risky behaviour or high-risk sports.

Meanwhile, lost, damaged or stolen belongings left unattended won’t be covered, as well as travelling against government advice.

However, it’s important to note, pre-existing medical conditions and adventure activities could be covered as extras for an additional cost.

“Make sure to keep clued up on the various exclusions outlined in your travel insurance policy as there may be unforeseen events that could void your cover altogether such as acts of war, terrorism or natural disasters,” he says.

Do you purchase travel insurance? What do you always look out for when choosing a policy?

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