Travel insurance at affordable premiums

Do I need to buy cruise insurance

As this recent news story demonstrates, the costs associated with falling ill on board can be very high. So, if you are planning a cruise you are already likely to have considered the need for travel insurance.

Before going ahead and arranging it, however, you might want to take the precaution of reading the small print of any policy to ensure that a cruise is actually covered by the policy.


Advice published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warns that some standard travel insurance policies may specifically exclude cover for passengers on a cruise.

The reason for this lies chiefly in the nature of a cruise and the insurer’s calculation of the risks associated with this form of travel.

Top of the list of some insurers’ concerns, for example, is the potential difficulty and expense of getting a passenger to hospital for treatment. Many cruise liners these days – and especially the larger ones – have reasonably well-equipped hospitals or sick bays. With the best will in the world and on even the most well-appointed ships, however, there is naturally a limit to the scope and extent of medical treatment which it is possible to provide.

If you fall ill or have an accident whilst the ship is out to sea, therefore, your condition might require a very expensive medical evacuation by helicopter. Even when your ship is reasonably close to shore, such a medevac is both complicated and costly.

Since every emergency is different, of course, it is difficult to say how much any medevac might cost. There is a quite long – but ultimately inconclusive – discussion thread on the website Cruise Critic which mentions sums as low as £3,000 but as high as £40,000 once all the medical care and escorts have been provided.

Cruise insurance

With costs so potentially high and the incidence of travel insurance policies which exclude cruises, what is the solution?

The answer lies in specifically written cruise insurance – offered by specialist travel insurance providers, such as ourselves at Bengo Travel – which may be tailored to meet your individual needs and circumstances on any type of cruise. Our detailed guide explains just what makes cruise insurance so special.

Your age and pre-existing medical conditions

Unlike many standard travel insurers, specialist providers of cruise insurance may impose no age limit on those who might be covered.

Although there is no age limit, however, it is very important that you declare any pre-existing medical conditions when arranging the cover. Clearly, any pre-existing condition or illness might increase your chances of relapsing or the condition taking a turn for the worse whilst you are at sea. Factors such as this – effectively increasing the risk which the insurer is taking on – are known in insurance terms as “material facts”.

There is a presumption in insurance law that the contract has been entered into in “utmost good faith”, where all material facts have been made known to the insurer, without any attempt to disguise the truth or to minimise the condition or illness suffered.

In the absence of such a detailed and honest declaration of your pre-existing medical conditions you run the serious risk of your insurer subsequently rejecting any claim.