Cruise And Travel Insurance In Light Of COVID-19

A Number Of New Articles Are Now Recommending “Cancel for Any Reason” Insurance

The fact is most travel insurance policies only reimburse you for canceling your cruise under specifically identified conditions. Most of those involve medical issues with you or immediate family. Some policies also provide for work related emergencies. Based on our experience with COVID-19 we now see a number of issues we hadn’t considered with most travel insurance.

Our Experience

We were recently booked on a pair of cruises that went from Singapore to Rome with 14 ports of call and had paid in full (inside 90 days). As coronavirus issues began to appear our cruising companions cancelled early on and got full credit towards a future cruise. As things began to get worse we contacted the cruise line and they were no longer agreeing to issuing credits. 24 hours later they cancelled the cruise, gave refunds along with future cruise credits. After that we contacted our insurance carrier and were informed that they weren’t accepting claims involving coronavirus but might consider our air portion because our cruise was cancelled. After that we just contacted the airlines and got future credits to use within 12 months.

Insurance And Travel Advisories

It seems that under standard cancellation coverage, you cannot cancel due to travel advisories from the CDC, State Department or other government agencies. You can’t cancel because the cruise line changed the itinerary, or for fear of terrorism, or concerns about natural disasters.

CFAR Insurance

Because of these issues there have been a number of articles suggesting that CFAR policies are the answer. If you want the freedom to cancel your trip for any reason at all — and still get reimbursed for travel costs there are CFAR (cancel for any reason) policies available.

We have another 30 day cruise scheduled in the fall across the Pacific and around Japan so we decided to investigate CFAR policy costs for that itinerary. Our current standard policy covering that cruise cost us about $350. We received a CFAR quote from the same carrier that would reimburse our “deposits” only should we cancel for any reason for a premium of $1,500 and seemed to not offer reimbursement within a period before the trip. That exceeds our currently paid deposits by almost $800 with questions about the actual costs, in full, being covered making this a bad deal.

Insurance Is Still Important

We still believe travel insurance should be an important part of your travel plan. Its benefits usually include trip interruption, emergency medical and emergency transportation, travel delay, lost luggage and more but we need to understand there are major exclusions like pandemics, natural disasters, insurrections and government actions.

The burden is on all of us travelers to educate ourselves on things like terrorism, tropical storms and disease outbreaks affecting our vacation destination. Also if you choose to buy standard coverage after an event becomes “known” even if you didn’t know about the situation your benefits would be severely limited, making that travel insurance policy almost useless.

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