Unless you live under a rock, no doubt you’ve recently heard of the various catastrophes that have befallen certain cruise ship tours over the past year. The customers on the Carnival Triumph who suffered from the groundings, mechanical failures and loss of water and electricity for days on end were offered as little as the cruise companies could offer and not risk the wrath of the public. Recompense for being forced to live in squalid conditions and losing long-awaited vacation plans included a refund for only three days of the planned cruise and the offer of a half-priced cruise in the future.
The anger of these passengers and the reported filth and disorganization of the ship led to a senator calling for a passengers’ Bill of Rights and an investigation into this recent spate of disasters. During all the media hype with photo shots, video footage and great quotes, some investigators began to research what happened in the past to the passengers of such voyages and discovered precisely why it’s wise to consider insurance as a necessity when booking a voyage.
Travel Insurance 101
Many people rushing through the airport mistake travel insurance for either temporary healthcare coverage purchased for travel or “flight insurance life insurance” purchased in the airport by the superstitious or flying phobic.
It is neither. Rather, this type of policy is designed to reimburse you in the event that something happens to prevent your trip from even starting or interrupts it once started. A travel insurance policy is often purchased at the time one books and pays for a stay at a resort or an excursion on a cruise, but it can also be purchased independently directly from an insurance carrier.
As the dollars begin to pile up, would-be vacationers are often apt to forego this option as just another means for the company or the travel agency to make money. Yet, few consider the potential number of occasions that could happen between booking the vacation and enjoying it. Trip insurance ensures that you’ll be reimbursed for cancellations due to personal illness, illness of a close family member, “cancellation of plans by a travel companion, airline delays, lost baggage or a cruise line going out of business.”
Purchasing the Right Policy
Trip insurance is often purchased at the time of booking. In the midst of the giddy excitement, it’s hard to differentiate among all the various offers that seem only to increase the cost of your vacation. But insurance is a wise investment, as it offers you the opportunity for reimbursement should your trip be cancelled for any of the previously mentioned reasons.
Read the fine print carefully to ensure you’re truly buying the best policy for your needs. You really do have to sit down and read every single printed word of the policy. Don’t accept the travel agent’s explanation or even that of a cruise company. Instead, seek any clarifications directly from the insurance company offering the policy.
Most trip insurance policies can cost 5 to 7 percent of the overall trip to your final bill. While it may seem expensive at the time, a policy appropriate to your needs can save you months or even years of haggling over significant amounts of money. It offers a peace of mind rarely found in life and is strongly recommended by most travel experts.