Whether or not to purchase travel insurance is a question that many cruisers ask themselves when booking a cruise. Your Travel Advisor or travel website should always offer it, but in the back of your mind there may be a budget-conscious devil questioning if you really need to spend additional money on travel insurance. Do you ask yourself “What could happen” or “how often do I really get sick?” I know I have and have even foregone purchasing the insurance for one or two of my cruises. Fortunately, nothing happened on those cruises. I was very lucky because as much as we think it can’t happen to me, I can tell you first hand, it can.
I took a cruise in March 2018 on Norwegian Epic. This was my first cruise as a cruise blogger, and also my first time cruising on Norwegian. I was so excited for this cruise. I couldn’t wait to explore the ship, the ports of call and blog about it all.
The day I was leaving for my vacation I woke up with a terrible sore throat. Refusing to believe I was sick, I soldiered on and boarded the ship the next day. During the first two days of the cruise my throat hurt so bad that I tried not to swallow. By day three I realized that not swallowing wasn’t an option, and I was getting sicker. I finally broke down and went to the on-board medical facility to see the ship’s doctor.
The cost to see the doctor was $159. The doctor took blood and a throat culture (additional costs incurred for these tests as well). Both tests showed positive for strep throat and an ear infection. Normally I would just take antibiotics prescribed to me and be on my way, however, due to another health-related issue to antibiotics, it wasn’t that simple for me. I needed to take two different types of medication – one to treat the strep/ear infection and the other to keep me healthy from the antibiotics.
Since the second medication wasn’t something that most people commonly need, the ship only carried an intravenous form of it versus a pill form. As a result, I ended up spending four hours each day for the remainder of my cruise, five out of seven days, in the medical center to get the intravenous medicine that I needed.
My first question to the doctor was “How much will this cost?” He was very honest and said it would cost thousands of dollars. He then asked me if I purchased travel insurance, and I told him I did. He assured me I had nothing to worry about.
During my four hours each day in the ship’s medical facility, I realized very quickly that I wasn’t the only passenger who was unfortunate enough to get sick on a cruise. There were several passengers coming in to visit the doctor for various ailments such as sprained ankles, upper respiratory infections and cuts. When you have nothing to do but lie in a hospital bed for hours at a time you can’t help but be nosy and eavesdrop. I learned of another young woman on my cruise who also had to receive medicine intravenously, so it doesn’t just happen to us middle-aged passengers.
All in all, the cruise wasn’t the best cruise I’ve ever taken, but I’m so thankful that I did purchase travel insurance. The total medical bill after five days of on-board treatment was over $6,500! Between my primary medical insurance and the travel insurance I was able to recoup every penny of the cost.
Moral of My Story
Please don’t ever question again if you should buy travel insurance – always purchase it! It’s a minimal cost when you compare it to the cost of your cruise or trip, and it can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. While I have shared my story here, I have barely scratched the surface about travel insurance.
Did You Know…
• Travel insurance covers far more than just medical issues?
• There are many different types and levels of coverage that travel insurance policies offer?
• The claim process works well, but there are some important things you should know if you have to file a claim with your travel insurance?
Stay tuned for a future blog with further insight into the world of travel insurance that will touch on each of the bullets above.