October 18, 2001
Travel insurance companies, who fell all over themselves last month following the September 11 terrorist attacks proclaiming generosity in paying claims, have curtailed some areas of coverage. The biggest and most important move has been to cut back on default coverage (often the only distinction between these third party policies and those offered through the cruise lines themselves). Travel Guard, which, it must be said, has such an accurate crystal ball it announced it would no longer cover default for Renaissance Cruises a month before the cruise line folded, now adds American Classic Voyages – which includes U.S. Lines, Delta Queen Steamboat, Delta Queen Coastal Voyages and American Hawaii Cruises – and Royal Olympic to that dubious list. Others who have followed suit with the same exclusions include Travelex and Access America. CSA Travel Protection has gone even further, saying it now excludes default coverage for any cruise line. Default cutbacks are not limited to cruise lines; some companies are including airlines with known financial instability as well (including Swissair, Sabena, National). Beyond the restrictions in default coverage, these major insurers will, regardless of cruise line, continue to include trip cancellation and delay benefits in their policies. But it’s never been more important to read the fine print before you buy a policy.