Gocompare.com Travel Insurance has issued five reasons why consumers need specialist cruise insurance, warning that standard travel insurance may not provide adequate cover for some of the specific problems that can occur on a cruise.
Having reviewed more than 1,750 travel insurance policies, the company found that only one-third of single trip and 37 per cent of annual travel policies cover cruise holidays as standard, while some policies completely exclude cover for cruises (13 per cent of single trip and 11 per cent of annual policies) and others do offer cover, but for an additional premium.
Gocompare also found that, where cruise-specific cover is provided, policies vary dramatically in the financial protection they offer and it is therefore important for consumers to purchase a policy that covers their needs and the cost of their cruise.
Some of the elements that the company has advised consumers to consider are: medical cover and maximum ages, cancellation, cabin confinement, cruise itinerary change compensation and extended baggage cover.
According to Gocompare, medical expenses can be higher for cruise-goers than for standard holidaymakers and the recommended minimum amount of medical cover consumers should have is £1 million for Europe and £2 million for the rest of the world. The company said that an important benefit of cruise insurance is that it offers extended cover for older people and generally all pre-existing medical conditions will usually be covered.
When it comes to cancellation, their advice to consumers is that they should insure their holiday investment against cancellation by arranging travel insurance around the same time as they buy their cruise, and choose a policy that covers the cost of their cruise and any pre-paid excursions.
When it comes to cabin confinement, the company states that if consumers are unable to leave their cabin due to illness or poor weather conditions during their cruise, most cruise-specific policies will pay out a daily amount.
Some cruise-specific policies will also compensate cruisers for changes to cruise itineraries, the company stated.
Lastly, in terms of extended baggage cover, cruise travel insurance can offer higher limits for loss of or damage to baggage, it said.
"Cruise-specific cover is tailored towards you being on a ship. Cruises are like lots of different holidays all rolled into one so you'll need to make sure all the destinations you'll visit are covered by your policy, even if you're only leaving the ship for a few hours. Also, if you decide to participate in any activities, like snorkelling or golf, you'll need to check the activities section of the policy wording to make sure you are fully covered,” Alex Edwards from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance informed consumers. "Finally, it's really important to read policy documents carefully because they will contain exclusions and conditions you need to be aware of. For example, if you book an on-shore excursion independently, you might not be covered if you don't get back in time and the ship sails without you. Medical treatment required as a result of excessive alcohol consumption is commonly excluded by most policies."