It’s no secret the Cruising Industry is booming, with over a million Aussie travellers embarking on a cruise in 2014 – a growth figure that well exceeded industry forecasts. As the industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, leading assistance provider, Allianz Global Assistance (AGA), is urging travellers to ensure they are well prepared before they hit the high seas.
According to AGA data, the number of Australians purchasing cruise-related insurance policies over the past two years has skyrocketed from just over 2,000 people in 2014, to well over 14,000 to date in 2016.
Over $50 million in cruise-related claims have been paid out to Aussie travellers from January 2014 to date. The most common claims were for medical and hospital expenses (over 17,000 claims), followed by claims relating to cancellation fees and lost deposits (over 7,000 claims).
Allianz Global Assistance General Manager Travel and Medical, John White said, “The number of Australian travellers embarking on cruises each year is increasing exponentially and yet there are still a lot of misconceptions around what is covered by travel insurance or whether it’s needed at all.
“There’s no question that travel insurance is essential for all cruises, whether cruising in international or territorial waters. Travellers need to know that Medicare or private health insurance will not cover them once they climb onboard an off-shore cruise ship, so cover for things like medical expenses, hospitalisation and medical evacuations are all recommended.”
AGA’s key advice for booking travel insurance for a cruise:
- Purchase travel insurance as soon as you invest money into your trip to avoid a lost deposit or cancellation fee. Check with your provider as to whether you need to select ‘Cruise’ as an added extra
- If you’re visiting multiple destinations, make sure all of them are included when selecting which region you need cover for
- Protect yourself in the case of sickness or injury – make sure this includes general medical expenses overseas, hospitalisation and medical evacuation. Please note: Medicare and private health providers do not cover you while you’re off-shore on a cruise ship
- If you plan to undertake any extra adventure-type activities, whether on the ship or in the water, such as scuba diving or rock climbing, ensure your chosen policy specifically covers this, as often it is an additional cover item
AGA’s pre-departure tips to ensure smooth sailing:
- Make an appointment with your GP to ensure you receive all of the necessary vaccinations – don’t leave this until the last minute as some vaccines are required months in advance
- Make copies of your passport, travel insurance details, emergency numbers and any important documentation. Leave a copy with a family member or friend and put a copy somewhere accessible in your luggage
- Consider creating a small health pack: hand sanitiser, tissues, wipes, band aids, sunscreen, pain killers, and sea sickness tablets
- Register your details on the SmartTraveller website – www.smarttraveller.gov.au – this is also where you can keep up to date with the latest travel advice