Can I get cruise travel insurance to cover the risk of COVID-19? How to find the right policy


by guest

Posted on Aug. 19, 2022, 10:53 p.m.

Now that cruising is back on the agenda, many travellers are looking for travel insurance to cover the risk of contracting COVID-19 on board. If you get sick with COVID-19 during a cruise you will probably have to self-isolate, seek medical help and possibly rearrange your itinerary. According to Allianz Travel Insurance you need a policy that covers you for COVID-19 as well as cruise travel insurance.

Allianz has an Epidemic Coverage Endorsement for some of its annual travel insurance plans. If you or your travelling companion fall sick with COVID-19 and suffer financial loss, you could be eligible for trip cancellation or trip interruption benefits. You're also eligible for the reimbursement of emergency medical care, but check the maximum payout, limits apply. Cover-More's International Comprehensive+ policy has similar benefits.

Cover-More's cruise travel insurance benefits is an optional add-on that covers the cost of urgent medical attention on a cruise, even if that requires ship-to-shore evacuation. What happens if you're still unwell at the end of the cruise is another concern, and according to Cover-More "Cruise Cover benefits can provide cover for medical expenses incurred on board the ship and if you are offloaded from the ship." Allianz's optional "Cruise Pack" can be added to their range of travel insurance policies.

Some circumstances are not covered by cruise travel insurance. For example if you are confined to your cabin due to a COVID-19 infection, any extra expenses you incur might not be eligible for reimbursement. If a government applies a lockdown or a border closure that affects your cruise and involves additional expenditure, that will probably be excluded from any claim against your policy.

Even if you're cruising solely in Australian waters you need cruise travel insurance. Cancellations and delayed luggage can still happen. Your medical expenses would only be covered by Medicare if your doctor has a Medicare provider number, and that would not apply in the case of a foreign-registered doctor. If your cruise travels outside Australia's territorial waters, which extend 200 nautical miles from the coastline, you're in international waters and you would need an international travel insurance policy.

If you use a gold, platinum or diamond credit card to pay for your air tickets and other travels you might be eligible for travel insurance from your card provider at no cost. That travel insurance can also come to your aid if you come down with COVID-19 during your cruise, resulting in medical expenses and trip cancellation, but you need to read the product disclosure statement with care. In most cases insurance cover is activated automatically when you've paid for your trip using an eligible credit card, but check to be sure you've met the minimum spend criteria.

Lock in your travel insurance as soon as you make your booking. It costs no more, and if your travel plans change due to unforeseen circumstances not related to government action such as a lockdown, you should be covered.

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