Cruise Insurance vs. Travel Insurance: The Key Differences

Booking a cruise online or through an agency is a relatively straightforward process. You might already know where you want to cruise or what type of room you want on the ship. But when faced with the option to add travel protection, not understanding the difference between cruise insurance vs. travel insurance can leave you feeling uncertain.

In this case, ignorance isn’t bliss. After Yonder’s team of travel insurance experts compared general retail travel insurance with cruise-offered insurance, it’s clear customers may not get adequate coverage by opting for travel insurance from cruise lines.

Jumping Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right What’s The Difference Between Cruise Insurance Vs. Travel Insurance?

While many cruise companies offer basic travel insurance benefits, general retail travel insurance often provides a greater variety of offerings and benefit maximums. Most cruises offer benefits like trip cancellation, accident or sickness expense, and travel delay coverage. However, you’ll likely find alternative general retail travel insurance plans that include these benefits at higher limits.

Added Benefits You Can Get With Retail Travel Insurance

Unlike cruise line-offered travel insurance, regular travel insurance can offer benefit upgrades to add even further protection for your trip such as:

  • Cancel for Any Reason coverage for a cash reimbursement (rather than cruise credit)
  • Pre-Existing Conditions Waivers (most cruise policies won’t cover pre-existing conditions)
  • Additional Travel Delay Coverage (usually a set amount with cruise policies)
  • Rental Car Damage Coverage (if you’re renting a car while at port)
Grandeur of the seas cruise ship at port in st. lucia

Cruise Insurance vs. Travel Insurance Price Comparison

Travel insurance prices usually depend on variables like age, trip length, and trip costs. We think it’s always worth comparing prices on a travel insurance comparison site like ours first. Then you can compare those prices you find to the cost and benefits of the cruise insurance. 

Travel insurance on Yonder typically costs around 3% – 8% of the total trip costs. Based on cruise costs totaling $6,000 or less, travel insurance was more expensive through the cruise line, costing between 7% – 9%. 

Older travelers might find a better deal by booking insurance through the cruise if spending $8,000 or more. However, if you need coverage for pre-existing conditions or need higher medical maximums, it’s best to contact the friendly humans at Yonder for a quote and policy recommendation. 

Pro Tip: As a reminder, most health insurance policies don’t provide international coverage, meaning you’d be responsible for any medical expenses if you require medical attention during your cruise.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Is Insurance Offered By the Cruise Line Enough?

According to Yonder’s expert analysis of cruise trip protection policies, it might not cut it when it comes to covering all your bases.Tthink about adding extra travel insurance for complete peace of mind during your cruise.

Yonder’s travel insurance experts analyzed cruise insurance vs. travel insurance and the results are surprising. Although they both offer many of the same core benefits, the differences in benefit limits raises some concerns. The biggest issues we saw were major disparities for insurance offered by the cruise was in trip cancellation covered events and benefits for emergencies — the most important coverage categories of travel insurance.

“If you choose the cruise line insurance, be aware that it might not cover many reasons for trip cancellation,” says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance. “If you cancel your trip for reasons not covered, you could end up losing nonrefundable costs or face unexpected expenses, putting a dent in your trip budget.” 

In addition, most cruise policies from popular cruises only offered $10,000 for sickness or accident expense benefits. Cruise line insurance falls short when compared to the minimum recommended medical expense coverage of $100,000 for worldwide trips.

Keep reading for the details about cruise insurance vs. travel insurance in the analysis below.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Top Shortcomings of Cruise Line Insurance

After diving into the plans offered by the leading cruise companies, Yonder uncovered some key discrepancies worth noting. In contrast to general retail travel insurance policies, cruise line insurance typically offers:

  • 15 – 30 less covered reasons to cancel your trip
  • 10 – 33x less medical evacuation coverage
  • 3x less missed connection benefits

We discovered travel insurance purchased through a comparison site like Yonder typically included exceedingly more insurance, often at a cheaper rate.

We’ve broken it down by benefits and ran a few example quotes in the chart below to see the difference in cruise insurance vs. travel insurance.

chart outlining the differences between cruise insurance and travel insurance benefits and prices

blue outline of arrow pointing right When You Should Consider Additional Travel Insurance

Before you commit to cruise trip protection, it’s crucial to dive into the policy documents. This ensures it offers the level of protection you need. Below are the other areas our travel insurance experts recommend looking into getting coverage for to ensure you and your trip are fully protected. 

Insure Flights, Hotels, and Tours

Despite cruise trip protection offering basic benefits, any other expenses you booked outside the cruise could be at risk. 

“Cruise policies typically don’t cover expenses for hotels, tours, and flights so it’s wise to purchase extra travel insurance to make sure these expenses are covered if your trip plans get derailed,” says Boynton.

If you’re planning on adding any travel before or after your cruise, it’s best to bundle these and your cruise costs into a single comprehensive travel insurance plan from a third party. That way, you can avoid duplicating coverage and paying twice.

Additional Medical Evacuation Insurance

Because you’ll be on a cruise ship far away from a medical facility, medical evacuations on a cruise can be pricey. Without travel insurance during your cruise, you’ll likely be forced to foot the bill if your health insurance doesn’t extend internationally. Yonder recommends having at least $250,000 in medical evacuation benefits for international cruises.

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Cash Reimbursement

While many cruise policies provide Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, they typically only offer cruise credit instead of cash reimbursement. This potentially leads to the loss of your trip value if the credit expires unused. In contrast, Yonder offers Cancel for Any Reason policies that reimburse 75% of the nonrefundable trip cost in cash. Learn more about this flexible cancellation add-on to see if it’s worth it for your trip.

Coverage for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

For travelers with ongoing medical issues or changes to their health in the last six months, it’s best to get a policy that covers pre-existing medical conditions, since most cruise protection plans don’t. Many policies on Yonder include pre-existing condition waivers with no extra upcharge.

If you’ve already added cruise trip protection through your cruise line, consider filling in any gaps with additional travel insurance. This way, you’ll know you have coverage for emergencies and travel headaches that could happen before or during your trip.

Bonus Tip: Even if you have credit card insurance, it might not be enough. Yonder did a separate analysis of what credit cards have to offer and they have some major shortcomings when it comes to protecting your trip. 

View of a closed pool on the deck of a cruise ship

blue outline of arrow pointing right Why Purchase Alternative Travel Insurance Instead

When purchasing general retail policies (which is what we recommend!), you’ll find comprehensive travel insurance that includes more robust benefits. When comparing policies on Yonder to other sites, you’ll find we offer:

  • Numerous benefit categories
  • Higher insurance coverage amounts per person
  • Option to increase the amount insured under the policy
  • Available upgrades to purchase specific coverage
  • Option to adjust trip dates if you need to reschedule your trip
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

When you buy travel insurance via Yonder, you get the added bonus of being able to filter policies tailored for the “cruise” travel style. This ensures that all the essential benefits are included in the policy. And if you’re unsure, our friendly humans are here to recommend a policy that perfectly fits your trip needs!

At the end of the day, every traveler should be able to easily access trip insurance that offers them comprehensive coverage at a fair price. Comparing policies pays off—literally—instead of just going with the default option from cruise or airline companies.

Still don’t believe travel insurance can be that cheap? Let our instant quote tool change your mind by providing curated, travel insurance for your next trip. You can also let us know what questions you have by emailing our team of helpful humans.

As a seasoned professional with over five years of experience in the travel insurance industry, Meagan has honed her expertise in marketing and operations working for Yonder Travel Insurance. Throughout her career, she's shown dedication assisting customers at every stage of their travel insurance journey, from the initial quote process to navigating the claims process. Her expert understanding of travel insurance equips her to provide unbiased and valuable insights, which help travelers find the best coverage and maximize its benefits.


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