In the cases we've reported on thus far, travelers are required to purchase a travel insurance policy to access the job loss protection. Prices start around $30 per person (and are not refundable). eCruises.com, however, is throwing it in gratis. Customers from around the world, booking online or over the phone, can add to their reservations a comprehensive travel insurance policy from iTravelInsured -- with job loss protection -- at no extra cost to them.
The complimentary insurance offers typical coverage -- trip cancellation/interruption, baggage delay, emergency medical services -- in addition to job loss protection. The policy will reimburse you for 100 percent of the cruise fare paid. The only thing you wouldn't get back is the insurance premium, but in this case there is not a premium because eCruises is picking up the tab. The caveat is that the policy must be acquired at the time of initial booking.
The insurance covers you in the event of your own job loss or that of a travel companion. So let's say you've planned a family cruise and reserved six cabins with eCruises.com's complimentary coverage -- then you lose your job. Under eCruises.com's plan, you and your entire party can cancel without penalty up until the day of departure. To be eligible for full reimbursement, you must submit a pink slip or other notice of termination to iTravelInsured.
A representative from eCruises.com says they actually began offering the free insurance with job-loss protection in August 2008, and that there are no current plans to terminate it.
Confused about the many policies out there and what you really need for your cruise? Our just-updated feature, Travel Insurance Pros and Cons, is a useful resource on researching and purchasing travel insurance.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor