Are You Safe at Sea and on Shore? Ensure Careful Cruising With Travel Protection

Consumers Should Read the Fine Print About Travel Insurance

RICHMOND, Va., March 24 /PRNewswire/ — As more people travel the high seas, the more they should be aware of the potential risks, as well as available protection and restrictions. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, more than 11 million people took a cruise in 2005 and that number is growing.

“Accidents, illness, crime, severe weather and tight connections can affect your cruise experience, but travel protection gives peace of mind, financial protection and assistance,” says Beth Godlin, Executive Vice President of Access America, a leading provider of travel insurance and assistance. “Insurance is only important when you need it … and then you want it to be the right type of coverage.”

Travel protection is available through a variety of sources, including travel agents, cruise lines, tour operators and online brokers. But how do consumers know which one to choose? “Travel agents are usually familiar with a variety of policies and can steer you towards the one that’s right for you,” Godlin stated.

Cruise Insurance: What’s Covered & What Isn’t

There are a few key differences in plans offered by the cruise lines versus plans offered by third-party insurance providers, such as Access America:

1) Plans offered by cruise lines don’t protect against their own
financial default.
2) Plans offered by cruise lines often don’t cover emergency medical
treatment, evacuation or trip interruption if something happens while
a passenger is on a shore excursion, especially if it is booked
separately from the cruise.
3) Plans offered by the cruise lines often don’t reimburse for
last-minute incidents that may cause you to miss your cruise, such as
missed connections, delayed flights, severe weather, etc. In fact,
most cruise line plans have much fewer covered reasons for
cancellations compared to third-party insurance providers.

What to Look For When Buying Travel Insurance for a Cruise

Take a look at the list below and decide what type of coverage you need. Then make sure that the policy you’re buying has it.

* Trip cancellation & interruption coverage, including protection for
certain last-minute incidents that cause you to miss your cruise
* Emergency medical coverage both on-board and on shore, including
privately booked shore excursions
* Illness, injury or death coverage both on-board and on shore, including
privately booked shore excursions
* Emergency evacuation coverage both on-board and on shore, including
privately booked shore excursions
* Coverage for lost, stolen or delayed baggage
* Financial default of the cruise line
* 24-hour hotline assistance

Travel insurance varies in price, usually 4% to 8% of trip cost, depending on the type of plan, the traveler’s age and type of trip. The most popular type of plan in the U.S. is per-trip coverage, although annual plans are also available. Insurance plans have limitations and restrictions on coverage and coverage levels. For more information, visit http://www.accessamerica.com/.

About Access America

Access America provides travel insurance and assistance to millions of travelers each year through travel agents and suppliers, credit card companies and healthcare organizations. Access America is a division of World Access Service Corp., a member of the Mondial Assistance Group and part of Allianz. With operations in 28 countries, Access America makes life simpler and more financially secure for travelers and travel companies. Visit http://www.accessamerica.com/.

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