9 Reasons Cruise Insurance Is So Expensive

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When you’re already paying a not-inconsiderable amount for your cruise holiday, it can then feel like a bit of a kicker when you have to add insurance on top of that.

And then when you see the prices, you might be wondering what’s going on. Cruise insurance can be way more expensive than other types of travel insurance.

That’s no excuse not to get it though. You do need it. You don’t want to end up like these people.

Here’s why it can cost more than regular insurance, so you can see that it’s often justified.

1. You’re At Sea

The most basic but obvious reason for cruise insurance being more expensive than other travel insurance is the fact you’re often at sea.

And that means two things:

  1. You don’t have access to all the medical facilities you might need immediately
  2. It can be a lot harder to get you to a hospital if things get serious
Seabourn cruise ship at sea

On most cruises, you’re going to be within a day or two of a port of call, so you can get to a hospital or other medical centre for non-urgent treatment without too much stress.

But if something serious happens, you’re going to have to manage with the onboard medical facilities, or you’ll looking at an emergency evacuation – either causing the cruise ship to change course, or a helicopter coming to pick you up.

helicopter flying over a cruise ship

As you can imagine, these are all extremely expensive solutions – and so cruise insurance needs to be high because the insurance companies need to make enough money to cover all the costs when they do need to pay out.

The vast majority of people who buy cruise insurance aren’t going to need airlifting to hospital, but for the occasional ones that do, insurers need to earn enough to cover those costs and still turn a profit.

2. You Visit Multiple Countries

Visiting multiple countries on one holiday will push the prices of your insurance up, because it adds an extra layer of uncertainty to your situation if something does go wrong.

The MSC Meraviglia cruise ship departs from a port at sunset, its decks lined with lifeboats and gleaming under the warm sky, juxtaposed against a backdrop of urban high-rises, embodying the elegance of oceanic travel.

This could be because the insurer has to account for the fact that you might need assistance in one of the countries with limied healthcare, even if the majority of your cruise ports have excellent hospitals.

Or there’s the factor of what happens if you get sick, but then recover. You can’t just hop in a taxi after being discharged from hospital to get back to your hotel. Your insurer will need to pay for flights so that you can catch up with the ship.

3. Cruises Are More Liable To Be Cancelled

Cruise insurance doesn’t just cover the cost of medical problems, but it’s also used to help cover the costs of cancelled cruises. And cruises are going to be cancelled more than other types of holiday.

Road sign against a bright blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds reads 'CRUISE CANCELLED' in bold white letters, conveying a clear message about a change in travel plans.

That’s because of various factors including problems with the ship, or stormy weather – issues which can affect a hotel but not to the point that it usually causes you to have to cancel your entire trip. But with a cruise, those factors can be much more problematic.

It’s also a lot harder for a cruise company to offer you an alternative at short notice. If a flight is cancelled because of bad weather, you’ll normally be offered a different flight within a day or so. Or if a hotel is overbooked, you’ll be transferred to another.

But that can’t happen with cruise ships since there aren’t enough ships from the same cruise line, in the same part of the world, with enough spare cabins. This means more outright cancellations, and therefore more insurance payouts.

4. Drinks Packages Exist

Cruise lines certainly like to make sure their guests are having fun, and one way they’ll often do that is to permit guests to book a drinks package.

Beverage info point in a cruise ship setting, featuring a blue stand with text 'Scegli il tuo PACCHETTO BEVANDE PREFERITO. Choose your PREFERRED DRINKS PACKAGE.' and a QR code, accompanied by a vibrant banner of refreshing drinks, promoting onboard amenities.

These offer unlimited drinks during the day, which means that guests can easily become intoxicated, and essentially remain that way during the entire cruise, just topping themselves up each morning.

To be clear though, you aren’t going to be able to claim on your insurance for injuries or accidents that occur while you are intoxicated. That’s just going to wipe out any claim you might have.

But if you’re injured by someone else who is drunk – accidentally or, heaven forbid, on purpose – then you could potentially make a claim.

And with so many people using drinks packages to their fullest, that’s a lot of potential for accidents or even assaults to occur, which in turn means higher premiums to cover that cost.

5. Cruises Are Still Popular With Older Guests

While cruise ships have definitely started to become a lot more family-focussed, adding facilities aimed at kids and at younger adults, there’s still a huge proportion of passengers that are older, with many people still cruising into their 70s, 80s, 90s and sometimes even older.

An older couple shares a tender moment on a cruise ship deck, elegantly dressed with the man in a tuxedo and the woman in a pink jacket, both smiling and holding champagne glasses, epitomizing timeless romance and luxury travel.

Naturally, that means those passengers are at higher risk of making claims, as they’re more likely to have existing medical conditions that could cause problems, or they’re just more likely to suffer from injury or illness while sailing.

That means they will pay a significantly higher cost for cruise insurance, but it will also drive up prices for multigenerational families too.

If you’re cruising with parents/grandparents, be aware that a family policy might be a lot more expensive than you planned for.

6. Airlines Are Losing More Luggage Than Ever

Does it seem like airlines are just getting worse? Well when it comes to baggage handling, statistics show that they are, with the latest statistics showing that 26 million bags were lost in a year.

A variety of colorful suitcases on a luggage conveyor belt in an airport setting, conveying the concept of travel and the handling of personal belongings during transit.

That’s including all travel, but many cruise passengers will fly to their ship and so it’s their cruise travel insurance that’s responsible for the flight. You wouldn’t typically buy separate travel insurance for the cruise and the flight portions of your trip.

So, with more bags going AWOL, that means more payouts by insurers, which means higher costs. It doesn’t contribute to cruise insurance being more expensive than other travel types, but it does partially account for it being expensive in itself.

7. People Often Take More Risks When Cruising

When you’re cruising, you don’t tend to just stay on the ship. You’ll spend a lot of time in port, exploring each city or town that you visit, and you might also take part in various shore excursions that might involve some adventurous activities. 

These could include horse riding along the beach, or a safari tour – things that are thrilling, but that might increase your risk levels compared to a more relaxing beach holiday. And that can make insurance costs be higher.

A paint horse, guided by a handler, wades through the crystal-clear turquoise waters of a tropical beach, with a cruise ship visible on the horizon, merging the allure of exotic vacations with unique equestrian experiences.

However, the most extreme shore excursions likely won’t be included in your cruise insurance, so you need to check that when you take out a policy. If you’re planning on swimming with sharks, or any water sports, you might need to take out specialist cover – which, again, will add even more expense.

8. The Chances Of Becoming Ill Can Be Higher

Cruise lines will try to deny it, but sickness bugs such as norovirus can be surprisingly common. You aren’t guaranteed to get sick when you cruise, but there is an increased risk – because, if you’re on a ship, illnesses get onto every surface and no matter how hard the crew works, germs spread.

View from a window-side table in a serene room overlooking the sea, with a distant cruise ship sailing along the horizon, capturing a peaceful moment of ocean-view dining or contemplation.

So there’s a potentially increased risk of getting sick when you’re cruising, which could result in you needing to claim for medical issues, or maybe cabin confinement if you’ve added that onto your policy.

9. Cruises Are Often Longer Than Land Holidays

While this won’t apply if you’re booking a shorter cruise, bear in mind that many cruises last longer than your typical 7-14 night land holiday.

Some may last 18-21 nights, or you could be on a much longer itinerary, and that means much higher insurance prices.

Three friends enjoying a cruise, with a woman pointing towards the horizon while they all stand at the ship's railing against a clear blue sky, capturing the joy and adventure of sea travel.

It’ll scale up too, for the length of your trip. Don’t expect a 4-week cruise to have double the insurance of a 2-week cruise. You’re likely more at risk the longer you sail, so the insurance costs might ramp up considerably for those longer sailings.

How To Get The Best Price

While cruise insurance can be expensive, you can bring the cost down if you’re smart and use a price comparison website.

Instead of just going direct to one insurance provider, using a comparison site means you’ll get the best prices possible, and a wider choice of policies with different levels of cover.

My Recommendation

My recommendation for cruise insurance depends on where you live.

These are trusted price comparison sites that will quickly get you lots of quotes to match your exact needs.

And just like with most types of insurance, it’ll vary on which provider is cheapest for you – what’s expensive for one family might be cheap for another depending on their cruise, medical history and more.

For the UK I recommend Compare Your Cruise Insurance, and if you’re in the US then Aardy is a good site to use

If you’re based elsewhere, search online for cruise insurance price comparison and you should find a good option to use.

Make sure you check out the 7 things you need to know before buying cruise insurance too, as that’ll help you find the right policy at the right price.

I also have a Cruise Insurance Buyer’s Guide for you.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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