How to Get the Best Travel Insurance for a European River Cruise

Are you planning on taking a European river cruise in the future? Then you should consider investing in a cruise travel insurance policy. But you might want to skip the river cruise line trip protection…we’ll tell you why!

European river cruises tend to lean more towards the expensive side, which means having travel insurance in place has never been more important. If you need to cancel or are no longer able to travel due to reasons beyond your control, make sure you safeguard your investment for your cruise. After all, the only thing worse than missing a vacation is missing it and paying for it. 

Jumping Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right Does Travel Insurance Cover River Cruises?

Yes! You can insure any nonrefundable costs associated with your river cruise under travel insurance. We’ll get into the details below and outline the insurance benefits you should make sure are included with your policy.

green button that reads quote and compare travel insurance

blue outline of arrow pointing right Benefits of River Cruise Travel Insurance

Heading out on a one-of-a-kind European river cruise? Your travel insurance should be as unique as your journey! Make sure your plan includes benefits that cover common hiccups of river travel, like trip cancellation, emergency medical expenses, trip delay, and baggage loss. 

Here are the top reasons not to miss out on getting the best travel insurance for your European river cruise:

You Miss Your River Cruise Departure Time

Do you have any flights before your river cruise launch? Travel insurance could help if those flights got delayed or cancelled. 

Having coverage for a missed connection will protect you from forking out extra money if you miss a cruise launch or connecting flight due to weather, airline mechanical issues, or announced strikes. Missing even one departure can create a domino effect possibly causing you to miss the boat, quite literally.

Avoid this by leaving enough time between each leg of your trip when booking your cruise.

“Not every travel insurance plan has coverage for missed connections, so make sure to choose a policy that will cover you if you miss your cruise’s departure,” says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance. “Yonder has a specific filter you can use that makes it easy for travelers to find policies with this benefit.”

Screenshot of travel insurance quote filters regarding missing a cruises departure

If Natural Circumstances Prevent Your Cruise from Departing

Picking the right season for your cruise can make all the difference in terms of weather woes. Normally, the European river cruise season starts at the end of March and lasts until the end of the fall. For those who book a cruise during the holidays, adverse weather can change your itinerary for the worse. 

Specifically, the level of the river may be too low to cruise, or hurricane season could mess with your takeoff. This could lead to changes in your cruise itinerary, adding a greater risk of losing your nonrefundable booking costs for off-shore excursions or tours.

Travel insurance could reimburse you under trip cancellation for these losses if you choose to cancel your cruise due to adverse weather. On the other hand, if your cruise departure is delayed and you miss out on prepaid activities, trip interruption could reimburse those costs.

Pro Tip: The Yonder team recommends purchasing insurance early to protect against these unforeseeable events.

river cruise sailing

You Experience a Medical Emergency During Your River Cruise

When cruising along the picturesque European rivers, having medical expense and medical evacuation insurance is key. Unforeseen illness or accidents can be costly without travel insurance in hand, as most health insurance providers don’t extend coverage for international destinations.

Travel insurance with medical expense coverage can help pay for unexpected medical bills if you get injured on board the ship or require medical treatment while on the cruise. Additionally, in the event of a serious medical situation that requires evacuation to a medical facility, having medical evacuation ensures coordination and payment are taken care of by the travel insurance provider.

Other Important Benefits to Make Sure Are Included in Your Policy

Trip Cancellation: Not only should you insure your cruise costs, but also any hotels and flights you’ll be using before and after your cruise.

Travel Delay: If your flight before your cruise is delayed and you have to stay unexpectedly in a hotel and pay for extra meals until the next flight out, travel insurance is a wise choice. It can help reimburse you for these unexpected costs.

Baggage Loss/Delay: Sometimes baggage doesn’t always make it with you on the cruise ship. With travel insurance, you can buy extra clothing and personal items to get you by until your delayed bags arrive on the ship. If your baggage is permanently lost, travel insurance may cover the replacement of those items up to a specific limit.

Change Fee Coverage: If you need to change your flight itinerary and incur a change fee, a travel insurance policy with this benefit could reimburse the fee.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Is Insurance from the River Cruise Line Enough?

If you opt for a travel insurance policy directly from the river cruise carrier, then we’ve found there is a good chance it won’t include extensive coverage. Here are the three big holes in coverage Yonder has found when it comes to river cruise insurance policies.

Only Protects Your River Cruise Costs

While their plan may incorporate trip interruption, trip cancellation, and medical coverage, this usually only applies to the cruise itself. That means any hotels, airfare, and excursions you paid for may not be covered (yikes!).

Pro Tip: Instead of buying an extra policy for non-cruise expenses, you could save money by purchasing a single travel insurance plan to cover both your cruise and other trip costs through a third-party site like Yonder Travel Insurance.

Strict Cancellation Covered Reasons

Although cruise companies offer cancellation insurance, you’d have to cancel your trip for a limited number of specific reasons if you want a full cash refund. Otherwise, they can offer you a voucher, but it has to be used within 12 months of issuance. 

“This could be tough for older travelers or families, as they might have trouble using the voucher in time”, says Boynton.

Purchasing a policy through a comparison site like Yonder Travel Insurance offers you significantly more cancellation reasons. Plus, it’s usually much more affordable than the overly-priced policies offered by cruise companies.

Other Coverage Doesn’t Measure Up

Compared to general retail policies, plans offered by river cruises lack vital insurance benefits. Yonder found major discrepancies in their medical expense and medical evacuation benefits. Surprisingly, most river cruise insurance plans don’t include missed connection coverage or accidental death and dismemberment benefits.

cruise ship going down river

blue outline of arrow pointing right How to Purchase the Best Travel Insurance for a European River Cruise

Our travel insurance experts believe you can find more coverage for affordable rates by shopping for policies outside the cruise company. Here are their tips on how to purchase the best insurance for your river cruise.

Use a Comparison Site 

Not only can you compare policies side by side on Yonder, but you can also opt to filter for a “cruise” travel style. This helps you find policies that cover the essential benefits we’ve discussed, giving you peace of mind.

travel style icons from Yonder Travel Insurance to help filter policy options

“Yonder can help travelers find the best insurance for the type of trip they’re taking and save them from spending money on expensive river cruise-offered insurance plans,” says Boynton.

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure of which policy to choose, you can contact Yonder’s friendly humans for a policy recommendation based on your specific needs or travel concerns.

Get High Medical Limits

When traveling on a European river cruise, Yonder recommends your travel insurance policy include at least $100,000 of emergency medical expense. For medical evacuation, a recommended minimum is $250,000.

Purchase from a Reliable Travel Insurance Provider

Aim for a provider that rates at least an A- on the AM Best Rating scale. This means they’re financially stable and able to pay out claims. Also, be sure the provider has a high user-recommended rating. Yonder offers policies that are curated with this criterion in mind.

Review the Policy Documents

When you fully understand what benefits you’re buying, there’s much more clarity of coverage during the claims process. If you’re not familiar with the policy documents, check out our travel insurance certificate guide. We’d recommend becoming most familiar with the cancellation covered events and the general policy exclusions.

If you haven’t already insured your river cruise, you can start the process by using our free instant quote tool. If you need help deciding which plan is right for your cruise, be sure to reach out to our team of helpful and friendly 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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