If only I had a dollar for every question I get about travel insurance! Well I might just be able to pay for another cruise. A short 3-night cruise in the off season in an inside cabin, but still. Insurance is a mysterious creature. Coverage is hardly ever cut and dry, and there are reasons for that. And it’s not cheap! Trust me, I understand it’s painful to pay for something you may or may not ever use. In fact, you are paying for something we hope you never have to use! I can’t tell you what to do, but maybe I can help you approach the insurance choice for your Disney cruise from a more informed place. Here are 10 frequently asked questions!
1. Should I Get It? – My answer here is an unequivocal yes. Yes yes yes. I’ll be honest, the odds are overwhelming that you aren’t going to need it. But, oh if you do. I’ll spare you the full retelling of the story of my healthy mother coming down with pneumonia on a Greek Isles cruise a few years ago. But, needless to say, her insurance bills were over $5,000, and they almost made her stay in a hospital in Athens which could have multiplied that bill by 10. If not more. here are so many other stories of a child’s appendix unexpectedly rupturing in Mexico (and really does it ever expectedly rupture?), a teenager breaking an arm in port, stories of people missing the ship because their flight was delayed, etc. etc. etc..
I even used my trip insurance one time to get reimbursed for having to spend the night in Seattle when weather prevented us from getting to Vancouver from Colorado for an Alaskan cruise. That was in May. No snow, no storms, just a windy day! Just remember, a cruise isn’t like a normal vacation where you can just go a day late should travel delays or weather occur. If you miss the ship, you miss your vacation! Insurance is important for so many reasons on a cruise.
2. How Expensive is It? – That depends. Disney’s insurance is approximately 8% of your cruise fare. Most other companies offer different plans that vary in price based on the level of coverage you want, the cost of your trip, and your age. Now one thing to know about Disney insurance is that Disney does not provide the actual insurance if you buy it through them. In other words, it’s not Mickey’s Travel Insurance LLC, it’s a plan Disney purchases through a separate insurance company. But, we will call it Disney’s insurance plan for clarification. It will often be more expensive to go through Disney, but not always. One great thing about Disney’s insurance plan is that it does not take age into account, so sometimes with older guests, it’s cheaper to buy it directly through Disney. Disney’s insurance plan, however, offers at least one other perk that may make it worth it to you which I discuss below.
3. Is It Refundable? – I’ve been asked multiple times (even by beloved family members) the following question in one form or another: “Will I get a refund after my cruise for my travel insurance if I don’t use it?” I think the answer is obvious, but a quote from a favorite commercial always pops into my mind, “That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works…” Many plans will give you a few days to change your mind after purchase, but otherwise, once you’ve bought it, that money is gone. One exception to this is adding Disney’s insurance to your cruise before final payment. You don’t actually pay for it and Disney does not actually purchase your policy until you have made final payment. So, no matter how early you add it, you can remove it up until final payment.
4. When Should I Buy It? – That depends as well. If you have a pre-existing condition, for many policies you need to buy insurance within 14 days of your deposit for that condition to be covered. Of course, because it’s non-refundable, that’s a risk if you are booking a cruise you’re not positive you will take. Disney’s insurance plan is also not a good option for you, as it does not cover pre-existing conditions. If you’re not worried about a pre-existing condition, you have a lot more leeway on the when. You can buy insurance up until the day before you leave from many companies. I don’t necessarily recommend that, but it is possible. One of the main risks you are taking in that case is a different kind of pre-existing condition. If you waited until the day before you left and there was a named storm in the Caribbean before you bought insurance, any travel problems related to that storm will not be covered. It’s kind of like wrecking your car and then trying to up your insurance before you file a claim. It won’t work.
5. Does It Cover Air? – Maybe. Disney’s insurance plan will not cover air if you do not purchase the air through Disney. For other plans? It depends on the coverage, but usually air is wrapped up in the cost of your trip and is covered.
6. What if I Have Personal Health Insurance? – Most health insurance companies do not cover overseas personal travel. There are exceptions, so definitely check your coverage, but as a general rule they do not. Keep in mind that with travel insurance you are not just purchasing additional health coverage. You are also purchasing insurance for travel delays, trip interruptions, lost baggage, flight problems, etc.
7. What if I Can’t Go? – Trip Insurance may help, it depends on your policy and why you are cancelling. Some reasons will be covered with most policies. Life-threatening illness of an immediate family member for example. Some companies offer “cancel for any reason” insurance. You can literally decide you don’t want to leave your dog Fluffy and get your money back. “Cancel for any reason” policies can be awfully expensive though. If your main fear is cancelling, Disney’s insurance plan is a great option and has a cancel for any reason clause. Disney’s insurance plan will give you back 75% of your non-refundable cost back in the form of a future cruise credit if you cancel for a reason that’s not covered and thus not entitled to a full refund. In my opinion, it’s the number one reason to get insurance through Disney.
8. Which Insurance Company is Best? – There’s no easy answer here. I have personally used and can recommend Disney’s insurance plan, USAA’s policy, and Allianz. There are other great companies out there though. I usually recommend visiting a site like Insuremytrip.com to compare coverage and prices from multiple companies at once. Make sure the policy you choose covers what you are most concerned about. Are you worried your military spouse will unexpectedly deploy or have leave revoked? Make sure you choose a policy that covers it. Are you worried about a pre-existing condition? Make sure it’s covered. Are you worried about flight delays and bad weather? Make sure it’s covered. The same goes for anything else that worries you! There are so many options out there, odds are you’ll find one that fits both your concerns and your budget.
9. Are Claims Usually Accepted? –Let’s face it, insurance companies make their money when they don’t have to actually pay claims. Read the fine print before you purchase a plan, and cross your t’s and dot your i’s when you file a claim. If it’s a health related claim, you will usually be asked to file with your personal health insurance company first, and then file with the travel insurance company for anything that is denied. For other claims, they may need receipts for additional expenses incurred, proof of flight delays, or other pertinent information. I won’t lie, it’s not a quick process. But worth it when it works!
10. I Travel Frequently, is There a Better Option? – There is! I’m a big fan of annual travel insurance. One purchase will cover your travel for a year. Allianz and Travel Guard are two of the big companies that offer annual travel insurance. It’s not cheap, but it’s a whole lot less than buying insurance even two or three times a year.
So are there any travel insurance tidbits you have to share? Any advice for those looking for travel insurance? Any stories (good or bad) of having to use travel insurance or wishing you had purchased it? Share with us!
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obligation quote on your next vacation.