All travel does with certain risks. This is especially true when travelling to remote regions like the Arctic Circle.
To ensure that you understand all of your Arctic travel insurance options, we have set out below the main opinions to consider when purchasing an Arctic travel insurance policy. These include aspects such as emergency evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss and activity cover.
We have also provided a quick Arctic travel insurance calculator from the adventure travel insurance experts – World Nomads. You can use this calculator to get an instant quote for your Arctic cruise journey. The calculator is fully explained below.
Please note: Arctic Cruise Guide are not insurance experts. The considerations and information presented below are based on our personal experience and research.
Get an immediate quote from our recommended travel insurance provider, World Nomads.
Because Arctic cruises don't come cheap, purchasing the right Arctic travel insurance is vital. Delays, or even cancellations have been known to happen and you want to avoid disappointment.
The Arctic weather is notoriously unpredictable and ships depart according to the weather. Because of this, delays do occur. If the delay is long enough, some people are forced to cancel their trip. It's crucial therefore to purchase an Arctic travel insurance policy that covers you for ‘trip interruptions’ 'trip delays’, and ‘trip cancellation’.
When choosing a cruise, please note that many operators give you basic cover as part of your ticket. The coverage is not extensive though.
In the Arctic,the weather waits for no man. Generally, most Arctic travel insurance policies will cover you up to $500 for trip delays.
Although this will usually cover the extra hotel costs, if you can get higher, you should.
We always advise people to book their cruise with a little leeway either side of the cruise dates to avoid disappointment if delays do occur.
Although rare, Arctic cruises do get cancelled. If you are forced to cancel your trip due to not being able to wait for the weather to clear, then your compensation of $500 for trip delay is not going to be too useful. Therefore, purchasing a good trip cancellation policy is paramount. Most Arctic cruise insurance will cover you trip cancellation from bad weather.
Saying this, the payout is generally around $2,000. Most people usually pay double this for an Arctic cruise, if not more! Make sure you purchase an advanced policy that covers you up to $10,000. For World Nomads customers, this means selecting the 'Explorer' option.
Other unforeseen elements that may cancel a cruise is family deaths, unforeseen illness, natural disasters and cruise operator insolvency. It's certainly not unheard of for a cruise operator to cease operations due to financial instability. In that case, you would receive no refund. So make sure you're covered! Also make sure that your cruise operator is ABTA and ATOL protected so that you would be paid out no matter the circumstances.
Once again, because of weather, it is not unheard of for a ship to turn around mid-trip due to incoming storms.
Most standard Arctic policies will cover you up to about $5,000, however, the 'Explorer' option by World Nomads covers you up to $10,000.
Most insurers force customers to pay an excess if any claim is ever made. This allows insurers to bring the down the price of the policy slightly. The more excess you have, the more you will pay when you claim. World Nomads is one of the very few travel insurers who that have a zero policy excess system.
Because many Arctic expedition cruises visit remote regions (like the North Pole), evacuation costs can be significantly high.
All Arctic expedition cruises require you to have the proper cover for emergency evacuation. This means an insurance policy that covers air lift evacuation.
Without the proper Arctic cruise insurance you will not be permitted onboard your ship.
Almost all Arctic cruise operators will need to see proof that you are covered to at least US$200,000 for evacuation, medical costs and repatriation. Although it sounds high, the average evacuation cost in the Arctic is over $100,000. As standard hospital operation will cost over $10,000, whilst repatriation costs well into the hundreds of thousands.
We always advise purchasing Arctic travel insurance that covers you over $200,000. You really cannot underestimate the cost of an emergency evacuation in the remote Arctic.
World Nomads covers you up to $300,00 on their standard policy with a further $100,000 for medical expenses. If you purchase the 'Explorer' option then you will be covered up to US$500,000 for evacuation and repatriation. For UK and Australian residents that cover is in the millions.
Before purchasing Arctic travel insurance, be aware that you will not be covered for any pre-existing illnesses. You should also never rely upon your credit card or bank travel insurance as normal policies rarely cover expedition cruises to the Arctic.
You will also notice that many insurance policies claim that they cover you up to 10 million dollars on your policy. However, this rarely includes the Arctic or actual evacuation.
This is where reading the fine print is very important. Many Arctic cruise will offer or include activities such as hiking, skiing, dog sledding, kayaking and diving.
Insurers will never reveal openly if these activities are covered, it is up to you to read the small print.
One thing that is almost guaranteed is that activities such as sea kayaking and diving are not covered on standard policies, particularly in the Arctic!
Another aspect you need to very clear about when purchasing Arctic cruise travel insurance is whether or not you are covered when you leave the ship. Although it sounds strange, many policies do not cover you when you take a shore excursion. As these happen on a daily occurrence, it's extremely important to make sure you are covered when ashore.
Most good policies by recognised companies, will cover you whilst ashore, however, they will not cover you for extra adventure activities such as camping, climbing etc.
As an example, a standard policy from World Nomads (who are excellent when it comes to activities), will cover you for hiking, paddle-boarding, zodiac trips and kayaking, but won't cover you for skiing, climbing, scuba-diving or snorkelling. For these added extras you would have to select the 'Explorer' option. This does vary slightly depending on where you live.
Although it may sound obvious, you'll need a policy that covers you for baggage, theft, damage and delay.
This is particularly important for Arctic cruise photographers as many carry expensive camera gear with them.
No one want the dreaded feeling of realising that they won't receive their luggage in time before the cruise, but sadly it does happen. Therefore, getting adequate cover is crucial. The good news is that most standard Arctic insurance polices will cover you for this. Saying that, it's good to fully understand exactly how much you will be covered for.
Genrally, for lost or stolen baggage, you will receive US$1,000. If, like us, you own expensive camera gear, then a US$1,000 is simply not good enough. Make sure you read the fine print! We suggest getting premium cover or selecting the 'Explorer' option with World Nomads. You'll be covered up to $3,000 for lost or stolen baggage and $500 for delayed baggage over 12 hours.
Be careful with basic travel insurance policies that claim to cover you for millions on your lost or stolen baggage. Most of these policies do not cover you for optical gear or anything bought second hand. Once again, read the fine print.
Although you will be safe aboard your ship, we always suggest bringing a small lock with you for your transit needs. Better to be safe than sorry. Remember to also purchase a policy that covers you for your time before and after your cruise.
For a full packing list, click here.
Below is a super quick calculator by World Nomads which will give you a quick Arctic travel insurance quote.
The quote that you will receive will be for a standard policy cover. Depending on where you live, you may get several options - Standard and Explorer. If you are happy with a standard policy then just fill out the form as normal, however, if you wish to upgrade to the Explorer option then you will need to follow the instructions below.
STEP 1: FILL OUT THE FIELDS IN THE CALCULATOR BELOW AND CLICK ‘GET A PRICE’ (REMEMBER TO PUT IN ANY COUNTRY YOU VISIT ALONG YOUR CRUISE, INCLUDING BEFORE AND AFTER)
STEP 2: CLICK ON THE ACTIVITIES LIST TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE COVERED FOR THE ACTIVITIES YOU WISH TO DO
Depending on your country of residence, you will be covered for different activities. For example, US citizens are not covered for snorkelling, whereas, UK citizens are. The activities button is located just above the ‘Buy It Now’ button on each policy option. See Image below marked in red:
After you click the activities option a blue page will appear that has every activity World Nomads can cover you for. Activities with the number 1 next to them are covered in all policies as standard. However, the activities with a number 2 next to them are only covered with the ‘Explorer’ option. See Image below:
For non US citizens, you will have the option to ‘upgrade’ your policy. This means that you can add certain activities to your policy and take out more cover for your personal items and equipment.
TRY IT FOR YOURSELF NOW!
Visit World Nomads to get a quick and reliable Arctic travel insurance policy.
We hope you have found our information helpful. If you would like to know any more about Arctic travel insurance then please just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Tags: Arctic travel insurance, travel insurance for the Arctic, Arctic cruise travel insurance, insurance for Arctic cruise
Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has cruised to some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet.