AmaWaterways Travel Insurance - Review
AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in California. It boasts farm-to-table dining, fine wines, modern cabins and ship decor, and focuses on Europe's rivers. However, they also sell cruises in Africa, Vietnam and Cambodia. AmaWaterways cruises are marketed to English-speaking passengers from North America, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Passengers tend to be 50-plus, experienced, well-educated travelers with a strong interest in culinary arts and active exploration. AmaWaterways Travel Insurance is offered as part of the purchase process. However, we do not recommend that you buy AmaWaterways Insurance. Better to compare the wider Travel Insurance market in order to get best value for money, and appropriate Trip Insurance coverage.
Our AmaWaterways Cruise: Christmas Markets on the Danube
Our sample couple, ages 55 and 60, selected the Christmas Markets on the Danube 8-night river cruise for $6,960.
The cruise begins in Vilshofen, Germany and travels down the Danube to Budapest, Hungary. Along the way, the ship stops to visit holiday-decorated landmarks and markets featuring festive handmade toys, gifts, food and events.
AmaWaterways Cancellation and Travel Insurance Policy
Like most cruise lines, AmaWaterways uses a tiered cancellation fee schedule. As a result, the cancellation fee increases as the departure date approaches. To offset the fees, AmaWaterways upsells a cruise insurance program called Cruise Protection Plan.
AIG Travel Guard underwrites the Ama trip insurance program. Travel Guard is a trusted insurance partner and AARDY offers several levels of Travel Guard coverage. The AmaWaterways policy mirrors Travel Guard Plus (available at AARDY) but differs in a few categories.
How to Buy AmaWaterways Cruise Protection Plan
On most cruise line websites, you can easily book a reservation and pay a deposit immediately. Inconveniently, AmaWaterways does not allow shoppers to make a deposit directly on the website. You must either submit the contact form to get a quote and wait for a call back, or call AmaWaterways directly and speak to a sales rep.
Usually we can get a quote at checkout, but no such checkout exists. We called AmaWaterways for a quote on the cruise fare, port fees and insurance. AmaWaterways charges a flat 10% of the combined price of cruise fare and port fees for travel insurance.
In this case, the cruise and port fees came to $6,960 for both travelers. The cruise insurance is an extra $696. Then, Ama charges an extra $160 to add Cancel For Any Reason. Grand total for AmaWaterways travel insurance: $856.
For DIYers, this convoluted process could be frustrating.
Now that we have our cruise insurance quote from AmaWaterways ($854), let’s compare it with two travel insurance policies available at AARDY.
First, we contrast it to Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice. We chose this policy because it’s the least expensive insurance plan for this trip with at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 Emergency Evacuation and a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver. These are the minimum coverage levels we recommend for seniors traveling outside the country.
As a result, you can see how Ama Cruise Insurance measures up against the most affordable option and a Cancel For Any Reason policy.
Price and Value
Obviously, the price difference is massive between AmaWaterways travel insurance and two plans available at AARDY.
The Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice offers very similar benefit limits as Ama, but Ama Cruise Insurance costs more than double.
iTravelInsured Travel LX provides significantly higher medical ($400,000 more) and evacuation ($500,000 more) than Ama, yet also offers cash refund for Cancel For Any Reason at a fraction of the cost.
You will always find the best value for your money at AARDY.
Again, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with AmaWaterways Travel Insurance. Compared with many of the cruise insurances we review, it offers good coverage. But, as we see whenever we review cruise travel insurance policies sold directly by the cruise lines, there always seems to be better trip insurance options at lower prices when we compare the wider travel insurance market.
Trip Cancellation for Unexpected Events
AmaWaterways Cruise Protection Plan covers a satisfactory list of cancellation reasons.
If you, your traveling companion or non-traveling immediate family member suffered an unexpected illness, injury or death before departure, trip cancellation reimburses you for 100% of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. Personal or family medical emergency is the most common reason travelers cancel their trips.
Covered cancellations include:
- Unexpected injury, illness or death of a traveler, business partner or non-traveling family member
- Inclement weather
- Home uninhabitable or inaccessible by natural disaster, vandalism, burglary
- Destination made uninhabitable or inaccessible by natural disaster, vandalism, burglary
- Hijacked, quarantined, subpoenaed, jury duty
- Called to active duty military service
- Terrorist incident on itinerary
- Complications of pregnancy or childbirth
- Involuntarily terminated or laid off through no fault of own
- Involved or delayed by a traffic accident en route to destination
- Employer-initiated transfer 250 miles or more, requiring relocation
- Primary or secondary school student required to complete extended school year
- Named hurricane
- Theft of passports, visa
- Common carrier mechanical failure causing cessation of travel
Important to note, AmaWaterways trip insurance only covers the bookings made through them. If you purchase airfare or any other travel arrangements elsewhere, the Ama Cruise Protection Plan won’t cover it for cancellation.
This is a critical issue for many travelers. Any other trip bookings that are made outside the cruise are simply not covered. And whilst we are discussing Cancellation coverage here, note that Travel Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation coverage would also be missing for those days of travel before and after the cruise. Given how many of our customers add to a cruise, this lack of door to door coverage can be very important.
Moreover, traditional travel insurance policies do not charge for additional days of coverage if the trip length is 30 days or less. Yes another reason to compare travel insurance options for your cruise.
AmaWaterways travel insurance covers most unexpected events. However, they do not pay a refund if a traveler must cancel because they’re required to work.
According to the Ama Cruise Protection Plan, work cancellation constitutes Cancel For Any Reason and repays with a future credit rather than cash refund. Most cruise companies do the same, and all that we have been able to review offer credits that time expire. No thank you – we would prefer a cash refund, every time, in the event of a travel insurance claim.
By comparison, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice offers 19 covered cancellation reasons, while iTravelInsured Travel LX includes 21 reasons. Travel LX’s Cancel For Any Reason benefit also pays a 75% cash refund.
Photo by Mircea Iancu
Cancel For Work Reason, Get Cash Refund
What if your employer approved time off, then required you to work? Can you get a full refund? Yes, but you need Cancel For Work Reason, a feature AmaWaterways travel insurance doesn’t have.
Many trip insurance plans at AARDY have Cancel For Work Reason protection.
Just look for “Cancel For Work Reason: 100% Refund” under Extra Cancellation Benefit in the quote search results.
iTravelInsured Travel LX covers Cancel For Work Reason when you purchase the policy within 20 days of the Initial Trip Payment.
Although Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice does not offer Cancel For Work Reason if required to work during the trip, it covers involuntary termination. As mentioned, AmaWaterways does not offer an option to Cancel for Work Reason.
Cancel For Any Reason
AmaWaterways offers a Cancel For Any Reason option called “Travel Waiver Plus.” If you call off your trip for a reason NOT listed in the covered cancellations, AmaWaterways refunds you future credit (rather than cash).
- Cancel For Any Reason Travel Waiver Plus
- Must purchase optional Travel Waiver Plus at time of booking
- Booking must be for destination other than Africa
- Pays in future credit, not cash
- Credit valid for 24 months
- Only covers bookings made with AmaWaterways
- Costs additional $80 per person
If you agree “Cash is King,” you would prefer a Cancel For Any Reason policy that refunds money. Aardy’s Cancel For Any Reason policies refund 75% of trip cost in cash when:
- Buy policy within 20-21 days of Initial Trip Deposit
- Insure 100% of trip costs
- Be medically fit to travel at time of purchase
- Cancel 48 hours or more before departure date
When things happen that you cannot anticipate or control, travel insurance compensates you if it interrupts your trip. The most common situation is an unexpected illness, injury or death of a traveler or non-traveling family member. Understandably, in such an event most of us would wish to interrupt our trip and head home.
AmaWaterways travel insurance trip interruption benefit shares the same list of covered reasons as cancellation.
The AmaWaterways policy reimburses you up to 100% for the unused portion of the prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs, and one of the following additional transportation costs:
- Return home
- Rejoin the trip (tour, cruise, etc.)
- Reach the trip destination
Up to a maximum of the total trip cost.
At the same time, both Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice and iTravelInsured Travel LX offer up to 150% trip cost reimbursement for interruption. If you must interrupt the trip, it reimburses you for the unused portion of the trip, plus additional costs to get home early. Trip Interruption coverage that exceeds 100% is especially helpful if the trip interruption occurs at the beginning of a trip. A traveler would wish to claim for the entire trip, and have the cost of getting home early covered. As such, the more comprehensive travel insurance policies tend to have Trip Interruption coverage of 150%.
Photo by AmaWaterways
Medical Insurance for Peace of Mind
It only takes one medical emergency to wipe out your retirement savings. Surprise doctor’s bills can cost tens of thousands. Proper Medical Insurance during your trip is one of the most important features.
Regrettably, many seniors don’t realize Medicare won’t pay outside the US. Some Medicare supplements pay a small emergency benefit of $50,000, but it’s a lifetime limit and you must pay up front, then get reimbursed. If you had a heart attack in Paris, you’d end up with bills exceeding that limit. Note also, that such Medigap policies have a 20% co-pay.
Even countries with universal health care won’t pay for your treatment. Citizens pay taxes for that privilege. Americans must seek treatment at private medical centers, rather than public, and pay full price. Just one night’s stay could cost you $3,000-$4,000. If you had a heart attack, expect the bill to hit $100,000.
Important to note:
- Medicare doesn’t pay outside the US
- US State Department won’t help you either
- Some supplements cover up to $50,000 emergency treatment
- Universal health care doesn’t cover Americans
- Americans must pay full price at private hospitals
- Expect $3,000-$4,000 per night inpatient fee
That’s why AARDY recommends each traveler have at least $100,000 Medical Insurance when leaving the US. Any less than $100,000 and you could lose your retirement savings on medical treatment in a foreign country.
Aptly, AmaWaterways travel insurance pays up to $100,000 for medical treatment on your trip. We are pleased AmaWaterways offers this suitable level of medical coverage. Ama is one of the few cruise insurance policies that we have reviewed with $100,000 of Medical Insurance, so credit must be given here.
Likewise, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice also covers up to $100,000 of medical insurance, while iTravelInsured Travel LX pays up to $500,000 for medical care. In addition, Travel LX is a Primary medical insurance, so it will pay before any other health insurance.
Emergency Medical Evacuation Protects Your Retirement Savings
If you have a critical illness or injury, you may need emergency medical evacuation.
A short flight on an air ambulance easily costs $25,000. A transatlantic or transpacific private medical jet may charge $250,000. No senior wants to spend their hard-earned retirement savings on a medical flight. That’s why you need good Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage.
For this reason, AARDY recommends all travelers leaving the US get at least $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation protection.
Fortunately, AmaWaterways Cruise Protection Plan pays up to $500,000 for medical evacuation. Another thumbs-up for Ama – strong medical evacuation coverage. The three scenarios it covers are:
- Transportation from location of injury or sickness to the nearest hospital
- Transportation from a local medical facility to the nearest adequate licensed medical facility for appropriate medical treatment
- Transportation to a medical facility nearest the insured’s home to obtain further medical treatment or to recover
Correspondingly, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice also includes $500,000 for medical evacuation, and iTravelInsured Travel LX covers $1,000,000.
What if You Have Pre-existing Medical Conditions?
A Pre-existing Condition refers to an injury, illness, or disease of an insured, traveling companion, business partner or family member which occurs within 60-day window prior to the policy effective date.
Looking at the past 60 days of medical history, this includes:
- New conditions first presented or treated
- Worsened conditions, new symptoms, required acute treatment
- Medication changes
- Test or treatment given or recommended by physician
AmaWaterways Cruise Protection Plan automatically covers your condition if it is stable, older than 60 days and controlled with medication.
Travel insurance does not pay benefits for pre-existing conditions, but many policies offer a Waiver that adds pre-existing conditions back into the policy.
AmaWaterways travel insurance offers the Waiver for Pre-existing Conditions when:
- Purchase policy within 21 days of initial trip payment
- Insure 100% of trip costs at the time of purchase
- Increase trip cost on policy within 21 days of when subsequent arrangements made
- Be medically fit to travel at time of purchase
- Trip cost is less than $100,000 per person
Likewise, AARDY recommends travelers, especially seniors, purchase a travel insurance plan that covers pre-existing conditions whenever possible.
Equally, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice also includes a Waiver of Pre-existing Medical Conditions when you purchase the policy within 20 days of Initial Trip Payment. Uniquely, iTravelInsured Travel LX offers the Waiver when you purchase the policy within 1 day of final trip payment. This is often a lifesaver for travelers who purchased their travel insurance late.
There is no additional fee for the waiver, but you must purchase the policy shortly after making the Initial Trip Deposit (within 14-21 days). If you wait too long to buy travel insurance, you lose out on the peace of mind from the pre-existing condition medical waiver.
Photo via Pixabay
Baggage Delay, Loss & Damage
The AmaWaterways trip insurance protects your belongings.
If the common carrier or transfer company delivers your bags more than 12 hours late, the policy reimburses clothing and personal necessities, like toiletries and medication. There is a maximum of $200 per day for 5 days.
AmaWaterways cruise insurance also covers loss, theft or damage to your baggage, personal effects, passports, travel documents, credit cards and visas during the trip.
Equally important, the policy limits the reimbursement for expensive items like jewelry, watches, electronics and cameras to $500 total.
For the best outcome, we recommend whenever possible, carry medications and expensive items on your person.
AmaWaterways Cruise Protection Plan offers great travel assistance service through AIG Travel Guard.
Some of the services include:
- Replacing prescriptions, physician referrals, and arranging medical evacuations
- Travel emergency, locating stolen or delayed baggage, replacing lost passport or travel documents, emergency cash transfers, pre-trip travel advice and inoculation requirements
- Live travel counselors help with any travel request, including flight or hotel rebookings
- Concierge service like tee time reservations, restaurant referrals and reservations, wireless device assistance, sporting or theater tickets
- Identity theft assistance contacting credit card companies, monitoring credit reports and working with local authorities
Of course, all policies available from AARDY include travel assistance services similar to those above.
AmaWaterways have built a quality travel insurance product for their customers. Underwritten and administered by AIG Travel Guard, the Cruise Protection Plan’s coverage meets our minimum standards for a trustworthy cruise insurance policy. Cheers to AmaWaterways!
At the same time, AmaWaterways’ travel insurance charges an extremely overpriced fee. Similar policies on the AARDY Travel Insurance Marketplace give the same or higher benefits for a fraction of the cost.
The Ama Cruise Protection Plan has only a single “take it or leave it option.” It features a solid list of cancellation reasons but lacks cancellation due to work. It offers Cancel For Any Reason, but charges a very high price to incorporate this benefit, and only pays in future credit instead of cash.
If you already have the AmaWaterways Cruise Protection Plan, not to worry. You have a great policy you can count on in case of catastrophe.
Next time you cruise, run a comparison quote with us and see how much money you can save on a similar or better policy. You can even run a sample quote before you book your cruise.
- We can guarantee you won’t find the same policy at a lower price
- You can compare and contrast travel insurance policies and value
- All the plans are listed lowest to highest cost with clear benefit summaries
- We can recommend a best-fit policy for your needs
Whatever the case, visit AARDY first to shop around before committing to the first travel insurance policy you’re offered. Stop by and have a chat, send an email or give us a call at 650-492-6298