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One mistake to never make with travel insurance - top tips for buying cruise cover now

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

Cruise travel insurance is vital when embarking on your holidays but many might be worried about what the latest Omicron Covid variant means for holiday cover. We spoke to the experts.

Cruise insurance has never been more important than during the Covid pandemic as travel plans continually change amid ongoing unpredictability.

How do you know what travel cover to get for your cruise holidays? What is the best travel insurance for cruises? What mistakes should you avoid?

World of Cruising spoke to insurance expert Neil Wright, travel pro and managing director of Cedar Tree travel insurance for his advice on buying cruise insurance.

This is what you need to know.

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What is the best travel insurance for cruises?

It's vital to buy policies that automatically cover a cruise holiday, with set additional benefits, as part of standard cover. Look out for policies underwritten by AXA, Wright recommends.

"Having travel insurance, in general, is necessary," the expert said. "Most cruise companies will not let you board unless you are covered, nor should you travel anywhere without it, as the costs of a medical emergency can be horrific, even for the wealthy."

- READ MORE: Cruises cancelled as red list changes and new travel rules launch -

Does travel insurance cover Covid - and the Omicron variant?

Incredibly, travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth.com, reported a 53 percent increase in travel insurance sales following the news of the Omicron variant. So what should you do to make sure you're covered during this tricky time?

Policies that cover previous variants will likely cover Omicron.

"The existing Covid cover currently in place for all our three insurers (CoverForYou, Cedar Tree and Outbacker) also covers the Omicron variant (the same as it did with the Delta variant)," said Wright.

"As far as we’re concerned, it’s just another variant. Covid cover is included as standard – at no extra cost – on all new and existing Single-Trip and Annual Multi-Trip policies.

"However, travellers should check policies with other insurers to understand exactly what they’re covered for, and to what extent."

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Cruise travel insurance: Policies that cover previous variants will likely cover Omicron. Credit: Shutterstock

What mistakes should you avoid when buying insurance?

Wright warns against trying to cheat the system when it comes to illness.

"It is really important that ALL pre-existing medical conditions are declared at the time of purchase as an omission could mean that the whole policy is invalid as the underwriter is not fully able to assess the risk," he cautioned.

- READ MORE: 'Go book' foreign holidays - what you must do before travelling -

How to choose travel insurance

When buying insurance for your cruise do check you're getting enough Covid cover - reading the fine print is vital.

Wright explained: "In the current climate, Covid cover continues to be one of the top priorities. Most insurers are now offering Covid cover.

"But, be warned, despite insurers saying they have this type of cover, it’s the bare minimum, or you have to pay extra, so it’s easy to get caught out. Make sure you check what the insurers’ policy is for vaccinated versus unvaccinated travellers."

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Cruise travel insurance: Make sure you check what the insurers’ policy is for vaccinated versus unvaccinated travellers. Credit: Shutterstock

Important types of Covid cover to look out for

  • You are not allowed to board a cruise due to detected Covid symptoms
  • You fall ill with Covid-19 or another pandemic illness and cannot travel
  • You, or a member of your household, have to self-isolate at home and cannot travel
  • During travel, travel restrictions for a pandemic illness are imposed which were not in force ahead of travel, requiring you to return home
  • You are due to travel, but the country you are travelling to introduces a quarantine period on arrival and you no longer wish to travel and want to cancel your holiday

- READ MORE: Do you need special travel insurance for a cruise? -

Does travel insurance cover cancellation?

The good news is you will get your money back, in some form.

"Your cruise company is legally required to reimburse you for the money you have paid," Wright confirmed, "In some instances, they will offer either a voucher for future use or a different holiday.

"It is entirely up to you whether or not you accept these alternatives, you are fully entitled to decline and insist on a cash refund."

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Cruise travel insurance: "Expect to pay around £8 for a Single-Trip policy for a long weekend." Credit: Shutterstock

How much is travel insurance UK?

"The cost will vary depending on the cover required," Wright detailed. "Expect to pay around £8 for a Single-Trip policy for a long weekend."

Is travel insurance more expensive if you're older?

Travellers over 70 do face high premiums as they are more likely to incur a medical claim hence premiums reflect the increased risk that underwriters face.

- READ MORE: Travel insurance costs can double after 70 years old -

Can you be reimbursed for travel insurance if your holiday is cancelled?

No, you cannot get your money spent on insurance back if your trip does not go ahead.

Wright elaborated: "You will have been ‘On Risk’ for cancellation arising from a series of risks, as set out in your policy, including being hospitalised or being medically unfit to travel, from the moment you purchase insurance until you actually start your journey, this can be a number of months.

"As a result, your policy has been used and insurers will not usually refund the premium. In all circumstances, you will be able to get a full refund if you cancel your insurance within 14 days of purchase. Some insurers are willing to change the dates of your policy at no cost if you have accepted a different holiday.

"With insurers that already cover cruises as part of their standard policies, or depending on the level of cruise ‘add on’ you have purchased with policies where cruises don’t come under standard cover, you’ll automatically be covered for cancellation, along with medical needs and evacuation."

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