If you do an internet search for “travel insurance” you will find that there are several types of coverage that exist. Trip cancellation; medical travel insurance; international travel insurance and excursion insurance just to name just a few. With differing types of travel insurance available it can create questions for travelers and tour operators alike as to what the specific insurance policies include and what is needed by the traveler versus what is needed by the tour operator.
All cruise lines carry their own complex insurance packages to protect the vessels, crew and passengers. Passengers can buy their own trip insurance; however, these insurance policies don't extend to the tour excursion operators on shore. Tour operators hoping to work with cruise lines for shore excursions are required to carry very specific excursion operator insurance.
Travel Insurance - Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
Passengers are strongly advised to purchase the cruise line's trip cancellation and interruption insurance at the time of booking but it's not mandatory. This insurance includes baggage protection, flight delays, and emergencies that might require a last minute cancellation.
Passenger trip insurance includes medical emergencies that might occur while on the cruise, emergency evacuation and even repatriation of remains, (not a pleasant subject but it does happen).
Excursion InsuranceRegardless of whether the cruise line passenger has chosen to purchase Travel Insurance or not, the shore tour operator must be protected with excursion operator insurance to cover unexpected accidents and other emergencies while the cruise line passengers are on their tour or excursion. Cruise lines must be reassured that all of the shore excursion operators they use are the safest and most reliable in each port of call, and each tour operator and shore excursion operator must provide the cruise line with proof of insurance coverage that will protect the cruise line and their passengers in the event of an accident.
There are many shore excursion options for cruise ship passengers including:
- Diving, Snuba and snorkeling
- Sailing, fishing, boating
- Jet skiing and beach activities
- Bus tours
- Zipline Excursions
- Bicycle tours
- Hikes and treks
- Cultural tours
These are all popular activities enjoyed by cruise passengers. Most passengers want to see the local sights and spend time in port with fun, unique activities. Each of these activities also has the potential for accidental injury to a cruise passenger and all recommended tour operators must carry some or all of the following coverage.
Watercraft Liability Insurance
Water sports are very popular and very fun, but they can result in unexpected accidents once-in-awhile. Excursion or tour operators who provide sailboats, jet skis and power boats must have Contingent Watercraft Liability insurance. This includes activities like party boats amd the popular Banana Boat Rides in many ports.
Tour operators for diving and snorkeling trips must also have insurance that covers the boats, dive equipment and the people using it. A diving tour operator must verify that all divers are PADI certified before allowing them to use equipment.
Any tour recommended and endorsed by the cruise ship using a watercraft must be covered with excursion operators insurance. This includes river tours, river rafting, fishing expeditions, jet boat tours, whale watching and bay excursions.
Contingent Auto Liability
This coverage is excess auto liability over and above your local compulsory automobile insurance and includes coverage for owned, hired and non owned vehicles. Cruise lines contract with land tour bus companies to transport passengers to different locations in each port. The tour buses may be the open double decker vehicles or enclosed air conditioned buses. These tour operators must have Contingent Auto Liability insurance in addition to local primary commercial auto insurance.
Contingent General Liability
Also referred to as Third Party or Public Liability, covers bodily injury and property damage to tourists in your care, custody and control while participating in an excursion tour. This coverage excludes auto, aircraft and motorboats. Non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks, canoes, sunfish, etc. are included. This does not replace any business property or liability coverage placed locally. Zipline, bicycle, hiking and other land tour operators must have Contingent General Liability insurance to cover unexpected bodily injury or property damage.
Various countries have different liability laws. Cruise lines are responsible for their passengers and they will only contract with reliable tour operators who are covered by appropriate liability coverage.
Contact Excursion Operators Insurance Group for more information.