How to Survive Getting Sick at Sea

Posted by on in Travel

Dear Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group:

A while back, I went on my first cruise. It was a lovely experience except… I got sick. Not seasick, mind you, but flu sick.

I stuck it out for a day before realizing some type of medication might be in order. A visit to the ship's doctor fixed me right up. What caught me by surprise, though, was the hefty bill I received.

Now, I'm planning on taking a cruise that spans several countries – Italy, France, and Spain. Having learned from the past, I'm looking into getting travel medical insurance this time around.

The cruise line's insurance policy is pretty pricey. Upon reviewing the policy, a few red flags popped up for me. Its trip interruption coverage kicks in after 12 hours, which makes me wonder how a delay of say, 48 hours, is handled.

Additionally, the cruise line insurance has a clause that says reimbursement comes in the form of a credit for a future cruise versus cash back. Not so keen on this idea. Plus, the cruise line doesn't cover the costs of airfare not purchased through their line.

My understanding about the cruise line's medical evacuation coverage is that it's set for the closest port. Do you cover something closer to home, or would a separate policy specific to medical evacuation through another carrier be in order?

Thought I'd compare with Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group to see if a policy through you would provide better options for the journey.

Oh, and another question -- does being in international waters, at times between countries, impact a potential claim?

As always, many thanks for your assistance.


The Accident-Prone Tourist


Dear Accident-Prone Tourist,

You're smart to purchase travel medical insurance for a cruise. Depending on the type of policy, it can cover everything from trip cancellation/interruption and baggage protection to medical costs and emergency medical evacuation. Oftentimes, benefits for death and dismemberment are also offered.

To give you a better understanding of our policies, let's start off by delineating between trip interruption and trip delay, which are two different benefits. A trip interruption occurs when travel is interrupted by a specific event, like a death in the family, or a crisis, such as your house burning down while you're away.

Trip delay would occur if the cruise launch on which you're scheduled were delayed due to circumstances like a tropical storm - something that keeps the actual trip from beginning.

You mentioned the cruise line’s policy being pricey. Typically, when you opt for a cruise line policy, you are opting for a set pricing structure, notes This price “may be on the high side” because cruise lines sell bundled policies, which typically include trip cancellation coverage – something a Tokio Marine HCC – MIS Group plan would not include. A cruise line’s insurance plan, adds USA Today, “may not be the most comprehensive on the market for the price.”

Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group's Atlas Travel or Atlas Premium policies, however, are great choices for cruise fans.

Here's a brief overview of coverage via an Atlas Travel policy:

  • After the deductible, we will pay 100% of eligible medical expenses for accidents and injuries occurring outside the U.S., up to the overall maximum coverage limit of the policy. As an FYI, international waters aren't an issue for our policy, as they aren't technically anyone's "home country." Furthermore, as long as a person is traveling outside their home country, and that country is not under a travel warning, or on our list of excluded countries, coverage should apply.
  • Should a sports injury occur, say while snorkeling or jet-skiing, the policy will pay 100% of eligible medical expenses after the deductible, up to the overall maximum limit of the policy. (*See your policy's Description of Coverage for a full list of sports included in your coverage.)
  • Emergency medical evacuations are available 24/7 up to a $1,000,000 lifetime maximum.

Read more about the policy at our website and feel free to give us a call for if you have additional questions. We can be reached at 1-800-605-2282.


Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group Representative

P.S. Here are five tips for a healthy cruise: visit the doctor and dentist before your trip, wash your hands often, eat well and drink plenty of fluids, don't drink too much alcohol, and avoid sick passengers.

Don't forget to pack the Ultimate Guide to International Travel. Download now!


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Tokio Marine HCC - Medical Insurance Services Group (MIS Group) is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. We are regulated by the State of Indiana in our capacity as Third Party Administrator. Tokio Marine HCC - MIS Group has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by Tokio Marine HCC – International Group.