As a tour or excursion operator the first step in making sure that you have the minimum insurance for operating your business is complying with local insurance requirements. This local insurance coverage can indemnify you if your tour boat hits a dock or another boat or an employee crashes the company car.
If your business is only focused on local inhabitants for the participants of your tours you might be able to get away with a simple insurance policy from a local insurance provider. However, if you want to contract your business with cruise lines you will need to have excursion insurance with complete, comprehensive liability, vehicle and/or watercraft coverage from a known carrier with a high credit rating to be acceptable to a cruise line.
Vehicle Coverage for Ground Tours
For each type of excursion there are specific insurance requirements that are required. To operate as a ground tour for any cruise ship, your vehicles, drivers and passengers must be covered with reliable tour operator insurance customized for your service. The coverage amount depends on the tour company's business but it's likely to be far more than your local insurance requirement.
Personal liability insurance to cover passenger injuries and loss of property is mandatory. The cruise line is interested in the welfare of passengers in your vehicles but they are not responsible for any mishap caused by your drivers or another driver.
Ground transportation companies transporting people between cruise ships, hotels or airports must have extensive baggage coverage in the event that someone's luggage is missing. This rarely happens if bags are tagged correctly but the transport company must have tour operator insurance for this mishap.
Coverage for Possibly Dangerous Activities
In some cases, passengers may want to try something fast pace and possible dangerous such as mountain biking or ziplining. Businesses that offer tours like this must also have liability insurance to cover any mishap. They must also provide safety equipment and instructions. Insurance companies covering these types of tours have very strict safety requirements.
Whether your tour company offers a smooth catamaran trip to snorkel with the stingrays on Grand Cayman or you offer harbor cruise or whale watching tours to ship passengers you must have extensive tour operator insurance covering personal injury and property loss, similar to land operators.
If you are operating in the U.S. or Canada, you must have Coast Guard approval and you must supply life jackets and other safety equipment. A kayak tour in the Juneau-Douglas Island area must provide safety equipment and instruction.
Non-motorized watercraft rental companies must also carry the comprehensive liability insurance. It is in the best interest of the company to make sure anyone renting equipment knows how to use it, is capable and uses provided safety equipment.
A tour operator or watercraft renter may refuse to rent a kayak or jet ski to someone who won't wear a life jacket or appears intoxicated. The rental or tour agency is responsible for the renter using the equipment. The renter is not responsible for damage to equipment, however.
A reliable insurance company will specify various requirements for acceptable rental and operating conditions.
Keep Them Happy
Cruise lines like happy passengers and know that happy customers are more likely to return for a future cruise and will tell their friends about their wonderful experience, including shore excursions if everything is done right. The cruise lines must know that shore excursion operators share their enthusiasm for happy customers and it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure tours go smoothly and all insurance requirements are met.Excursion Insurance, a member of the NSI group, is a top-rated carrier that will provide customized insurance for your port of call tour operations.