This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine. Nationwide provided me with information regarding the policies and coverage.

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Our Alaska Cruise was ROUGH! It was like a ghost ship when the boat was rocking so much it nearly emptied this pool. Passengers retreated to their cabins, as did I, with seasickness. I remember thinking it was odd that I was seasick as I was wearing a prescription anti-nausea patch, but it turns out it was much worse and almost ended my cruise.

I’ve had the pleasure of taking several cruises from the warm sandy shores of the Caribbean to the ice-covered Tracy Arm Fjord in Alaska. Some cruises more enjoyable than others, but all were purchased with an eye for price and the adventures the ports of call could provide. My only worries were what to pack.  I was oblivious to the hazards associated with cruising and the financial consequences that can result when I opted out of purchasing travel insurance to save a few bucks.

But after my last cruise to Alaska where I contracted norovirus (read: Cruise Ship Illnesses: My Norovirus Experience), I realized that I could no longer foolishly and naively play tourist without the safety net that travel insurance provides. I was fortunate that I could be treated by the ship’s doctor and that no other medical attention was required, but for a while they considered sending me to a hospital in Canada. Had that happened, I would have been on my own to find my way home and all of the expenses associated with it. That’s a sobering thought.

After that trip, I became a champion for travel insurance and I’ve shared how important I think it is, especially for my adult children. My oldest son travels the world several times a year, the younger once every decade or so, but both need the financial protection that travel insurance can provide.  While they assumed only older people like me needed the coverage, they soon realized (with a little “what if” prodding from me) that anyone can suffer financial losses because of travel issues and they’ve become subscribers to my way of thinking.

My Globetrotting Oldest Son

Thankfully there are plenty of travel plans available, but the important thing is to choose one that’s reliable and trustworthy. Purchasing insurance that never pays out is not much better than going without it. Nationwide is a trusted name in the insurance industry and they offer several plans. In addition to a single trip plan and annual multi-trip plan, they also offer three new cruise vacations insurance plans. These plans go beyond coverage for cancelled flights and in some cases include trip cancellation, trip interruption coverage, lost baggage, and medical benefits.

Cruise Insurance from Nationwide

Nationwide began offering cruise-specific insurance packages in January 2015. In addition to the basic features above, it includes a Port of Call Changes (Itinerary Change) benefit that’s available when the cruise line changes the itinerary prior to departure. This recently happened to a friend whose cruise line removed several ports of call she’d already purchased excursions for. Not only was she disappointed with the new route, she was out the cost of her island tours. If she’d have had Cruise Insurance from Nationwide, she may have been eligible for a one-time benefit of up to $1250 per person for the inconvenience of the itinerary change making the route change more bearable.

My mom on our Long Beach CA to Ensenada, Mexico  via Catalina Island cruise.Carnival.  Extasy Baja Mexico Cruise - Long Beach CA to Ensenada  ad

My mom on our Long Beach CA to Ensenada, Mexico via Catalina Island cruise.

Nationwide’s new Cruise Insurance also covers Shipboard Service Disruptions (Itinerary Change Inconvenience Benefit). With so many ships making the nightly news because of mechanical breakdowns, fires, and even virus outbreaks, this is valuable coverage. It pays a one-time benefit of up to $250 per person if the itinerary changes during the cruise because of covered shipboard disruptions. My mom and sister had this happen when their ship was refused entry at a foreign port because of the fear of a viral outbreak. They ended up spending extra days at sea instead of enjoying the exotic port of call they’d planned. Had they prepaid for an excursion at that port, they may have been covered by Nationwide’s Pre-Paid Excursion Reimbursement (Itinerary Change Pre-Paid Excursion Benefit).

If your itinerary changes after departure and that change results in you missing out on your pre-paid shore excursion, you could be eligible for up to $1000 per person for your cancelled activities. With excursions being a substantial expense, it would be tough to lose the money and miss out on the activity. But what if you have to leave the cruise? It happens more than you think. A death in the family, medical emergency, etc., are all reasons people have had to disembark from their cruise. Nationwide’s Return Home Early (Interruption for Any Reason – Return Transport Benefit) coverage reimburses your transportation costs, up to $1000 per person to return home. A lifesaver if you’ve already got your hands full with the emergency that’s pulled you from your dream trip.

Cruise Insurance Cancellation Benefits

All of these cruise-specific benefits are available and they’re so important when you’re making a huge financial investment in your vacation. Many cruises are booked up to two years in advance so it’s important to have coverage in case something happens – two years is a lot of time for things to change. Travel insurance gives you the ability to make those plans confidently with the knowledge that if something happened, you’d be able to cancel without incurring a penalty. These can include canceling because the school year is extended to accommodate snow make-up days, in the event that the CDC issues a warning for a port of call on your itinerary, as well as other legitimate reasons found in the policy.

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Shots like this one are what makes Alaska Cruises worth the occasional rough waters and even norovirus. It’s stunning.

Choosing the Travel Insurance Plan That’s Right for You

Now that you have an idea of how comprehensive the Nationwide Travel Insurance plans are, you can learn more and choose the one that’s right for you. For me, I would likely choose a single trip policy.  Having the ability to cancel a trip without a huge financial loss would give me peace of mind and knowing that should I become ill, some of the expenses of getting myself and my family home may be covered is priceless. For my oldest son he’d likely want the Annual/Multi-Trip plan because he’s a frequent traveler and he’d enjoy the convenience of one policy to cover a year’s worth of travel. For my youngest who’d love to relive his honeymoon cruise again, he’d find the cruise coverage perfect as it addresses the special needs of cruises.

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Have you opted out of travel insurance and then wished you’d had it? I’d love to hear about it! Also, what travel do you have planned for 2015 and how can Nationwide cover you?

Travel Insurance from Nationwide – get a quote

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Our Disney Wonder Eastern Caribbean Cruise – the best vacation we’ve ever had hands down.

Legal Notes: Travel insurance plans from Nationwide are available to U.S. residents only. Nationwide’s single trip travel insurance plans, including the cruise travel insurance plans, are available in all 50 states and D.C, The Annual/Multi-Trip plans, however, are not available in WA, OR, NY, NH or FL.  Not all plan benefits are available in all states.  Specific benefit amounts vary by plan and certain restrictions may apply; please check the specific plan for coverage details before purchasing.

 

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