Last week, the Carnival cruise ship Triumph gave the world a fantastic example of irony. With roughly 4,200 passengers and crew stranded at sea for 5 days without power, running water or working toilets, the Triumph cruise was an utter failure.
I can only imagine that a shower was the first thing those travelers wanted when their ship finally docked in Mobile, Alabama on February 15th. But the second thing they may have wanted to do, was to call their travel insurance company to find out what damages the policy might pay for.
Would Travel Insurance for International Trips Cover the Triumph Incident?
An insurance policy isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get your money back if you don’t have a good vacation. If you decide you don’t want to go on the trip, you lose your job just before departing or inclement weather makes it impossible to get a tan, travel insurance isn’t going to foot the bill.
In the case of a mechanical failure that ruins a vacation, however, a travel insurance policy for international trips would likely reimburse the traveler for the expense. This happens to be exactly what investigators suspect occurred when the small fire sparked in the engine room of the Triumph.
In this specific incident, Carnival Cruise Lines has decided to give full refunds to travelers who were stuck onboard. That means that even if they have insurance coverage, they likely won’t make a claim or be rewarded a benefit, because the goal of insurance is to make a traveller financially whole after an incident like this, which is something Carnival is already doing with its refunds.
The Other Benefits of Travel Insurance for Your Cruise
A cruise is an amazing experience, but it’s also expensive and one that can be ruined by a number of different situations, such as a hurricane, cruise line bankruptcy, or theft.
While the passengers of the triumph are being reimbursed by Carnival, who is also comping some of their onboard purchases and giving them a certificate for a free cruise in the future, a cruise line isn’t likely to reimburse for cancelled trips due to insolvency or the weather. Additionally, the liability limitations passengers agree to when booking their cruise generally state that the cruise line isn’t responsible for passengers’ personal possessions—even if they’re at fault for the damage or loss.
Insurance reimburses travelers for the damages caused by these incidents and others, allowing them to book their cruise with confidence and without fear of suffering financial damages should something go horribly awry.
What Isn’t Covered
It’s just as important to understand what trip insurance doesn’t cover as it is to understand what it does cover. Here are three things you might not realize won’t be covered by your policy:
- General inclement weather: If a cruise is cancelled or the trip shortened due to a hurricane or other major weather incident, insurance may reimburse all or part of the cost of the trip. But if it simply rains a lot, is colder than the traveller would like, or the ship’s course and destination is changed due to the weather, there would be no basis for a claim.
- Acts of war: If your cruise ship is caught in the crossfire of an act of war or terrorism, even if it cuts your cruise short, you aren’t likely to be covered.
- Trips paid for with frequent flyer miles or rewards: If you aren’t out the cash for the trip, even if it’s canceled for a covered reason, your insurer won’t reimburse you.
It’s always a good idea to read your policy documents once the policy is issued. Not only will this help you save time by not filing a claim for something that’s excluded but it will also ensure that you get what you’re entitled to if something does go wrong.
Buying a Policy
One way to guarantee that you won’t have any protection against financial damage due to a cancelled trip or mechanical failure is to skip securing trip insurance coverage.
With a variety of limits, benefits and deductibles to choose from, it’s simple to get a comprehensive policy that adds very little cost to your overall vacation. You can even secure benefits for lost luggage and health care that might be needed during travel or at one of the ship’s destinations.