Holland America Line Travel Insurance - Review
In our Holland America Line Travel Insurance review, we highlight the costs of its two plans and the limited benefits that are provided.
- Platinum plan underwritten by Nationwide
- Standard plan available to everyone, regardless of country or state of residence
- Rates not based on age
- Plan is charged per person, instead of group
- Only covers the Holland America Line travel arrangements, no arrangements made by the traveler or outside travel provider
- Very weak medical
- Standard plan has virtually no benefits for the cost
Before you buy Holland America Line Travel Insurance, take a moment to familiarize yourself with what it covers and review all your options.
Overall, both levels of Holland America Line Travel Insurance have a generous but expensive cancellation plan. However, Holland America coverage is completely inadequate in the event of a serious illness or accident. Medical Evacuation limits are dubious in an emergency. For Holland America Line guests, there are significantly better cruise travel insurance and cancellation plans available in the wider travel insurance market.
Lastly, we present alternative travel insurance options available for US customers. These plans offer significantly higher benefits at a much lower price.
Holland America Line travel insurance
Cost of the policy
Alternative travel insurance to Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan
Our Holland America Line Cruise
Our illustrative couple, a 55- and 60-year old, chose a Holland America 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise.
The total fare for 2 travelers including taxes is $1,638. Later, we use this trip cost to compare alternative travel insurance plans.
Holland America Line Cancellation Policy
Holland America’s cancellation coverage is reasonably generous when compared with other cruise line insurance. However, the generosity is limited to certain destinations.
This information comes directly from Holland America’s website:
The following applies to cruises to Caribbean; Panama Canal; Mexico; Canada & New England; Pacific Coastal; Pacific Northwest; Alaska and Alaska Land+Sea Journeys; Europe (except Prinsendam Europe, 30+ day Transatlantic and segments of 30+ day Transatlantic) and 27-day or less Hawaii sailings
For other destinations, the cancellation fees begin sooner and are less forgiving. On the positive side, Holland America Line is one of the few cruise lines that provides a refund in cash. Many lines only offer a future credit but keep your money if you cancel. Under those circumstances, this is a positive feature of Holland America Line.
Cruise lines, like airlines, moved in the direction of non-refundable deposits, so at minimum you will lose your deposit for a cancellation.
What is Holland America Cancel Protection Plan?
When you book your Holland America cruise, you will be invited to buy travel insurance: either the Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan Standard or Platinum.
Upon inspection, we discover the Standard Cancel Protection Plan is not a travel insurance policy. Instead, it is an optional upgrade to Holland America Line’s standard cancellation policy and administered by Holland America Line.
On the other hand, the Cancel Protection Plan Platinum is an exclusive insurance policy written for and sold by Holland America Line, underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
Holland America Line requires the traveler make their Cancellation Plan selection before entering contact info.
Standard Cancel Protection Plan
Adding the Standard Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan brings the trip cost up from $1,638 to $1,796. That’s because Holland America Line charges each traveler $79 for the trip insurance.
What do you get for the additional $158?
Our Standard Cancellation Protection Plan (Cancel Protection Plan Standard Plan) will allow you, for any reason, to provide written cancellation up to 24 hours prior to the start of your scheduled travel (sea, land and/or air) arrangements made by Holland America Line and receive a refund equal to 80% of the eligible amounts paid. Cancel Protection Plan Standard is available to all guests, regardless of residency.
Basically, this plan costs our travelers $158 to extend the cancellation out to 24 hours prior to departure for an 80% refund. That means they paid a $158 fee and will lose at least 20% of the cruise fare cost: $327.60.
Still, it lacks full trip coverage. While this plan provides baggage loss/damage protection up to $500 (while bags are in the custody of Holland America Line), it has no medical expense insurance or emergency medical evacuation benefits.
Again, this cancellation plan is not a travel insurance policy. It’s simply an improved partial refund due to cancellation than without the plan.
Holland America Standard Protection Plan is NOT Travel Insurance
Platinum Cancel Protection Plan
Here, the Platinum Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan brings the trip cost up to $1,836. That’s because each traveler is charged $99 for the trip insurance.
What does the Platinum Travel Insurance Plan cover for $189?
Our Platinum Cancellation Protection Plan (Cancel Protection Plan Platinum) enables you to supplement the benefits provided under the Cancel Protection Plan Standard Plan with higher cancellation reimbursement and extends the eligible cancellation period up until the start of your scheduled travel (sea, land and/or air) arrangements made by Holland America Line. Cancel Protection Plan Platinum also provides insurance coverage for trip delays and interruptions, medical expenses and much more. In addition, Cancel Protection Plan Platinum includes 24-hour worldwide emergency assistance services.
This plan is made up of two parts. First is the upgraded Cancellation policy sponsored by Holland America Line, and second is the actual insurance policy with trip interruption and medical benefits.
Holland America Line - Standard vs Platinum Cancel Protection Plan
Holland America Standard Cancel Protection Plan
Standard plan offers virtually no protection for the price. It’s just an expensive, upgraded cancellation policy.
Holland America Platinum Cancel Protection Plan
Side by side, the Platinum Plan puts the Standard Plan to shame. Unfortunately, the traveler still risks incomplete coverage and unfavorable value buying the Platinum Plan.
Holland America Platinum Plan has woeful levels of Emergency Medical Insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation.
Neither Plan Covers Privately-Booked Travel Arrangements
Under the Platinum travel insurance plan, cancellation and interruption coverage only apply to products and services sold by Holland America Line.
When you made your own private arrangements, their Cruise Insurance won’t cover a penny of it.
On the contrary, every policy at AARDY provides trip coverage for all prepaid non-refundable costs, not just the cruise.
This may include airfare, rail tickets, excursions and tours, event tickets, hotel rooms, long term parking, medical device or mobility rentals and port/airport transfers.
In other words, Holland America Line Travel Insurance will leave you completely unprotected in the time spent traveling to and from the cruise – a critical omission of coverage.
What Medical Insurance Benefits Do I Need On a Cruise?
No one goes on a trip expecting massive medical bills or a medical evacuation will come with it.
Travel Medical Insurance covers your emergency doctor and hospital bills while outside the US. Emergency Medical Evacuation gets you to the best place to treat your condition, and later brings you back home after your ordeal.
Medical Insurance Overseas
At AARDY, we believe the only time it’s appropriate to consider lower medical protection overseas is when a traveler has a health insurance that pays full benefits outside the US. Unfortunately, few Americans own health insurance policies with international coverage.
Travel Medical insurance is only effective when it can mitigate a worst-case scenario. We have seen worst-case scenario, so we always recommend a traveler carry at minimum $100,000 of Travel Medical Insurance protection when outside the US.
That may seem like a lot, but unexpected traumatic injury or illness often result in significant medical expense. International private hospitals can charge up to $3,000-$4,000 per day.
A policy with only $10,000 or $15,000 medical coverage won’t last long before the hospital bills you personally. A minimum medical benefit of $100,000 will buy you time and treatment.
Where to Seek Medical Treatment Overseas
Moreover, many Americans believe overseas public health services are free and open to treat a sick or injured American traveler. On the contrary, public health services are not open to foreign visitors, so Americans must seek treatment at costlier private health clinics and hospitals.
As a result, you will pay full price to use private health facilities. Again, the US State Department does not provide financial support to US residents needing overseas health care. In short, you are completely on your own.
Therefore, proper travel medical insurance is necessary.
What Medical Evacuation Benefits Do I Need When Cruising?
It’s not unusual for US tourists to require medical evacuation.
If you experience a serious accident or illness on your trip and the local hospital is not equipped to treat you, you need evacuation to the appropriate facility.
Transport may be as simple as transfer to a nearby hospital or as complicated as a private jet outfitted with medical equipment accompanied by a nursing team to another country, such as home.
Without evacuation, you’d be left to recover alone for weeks or months in a foreign country. In any event, patients recover faster when supported by nearby family and friends. Medical Evacuation provides this.
Health Insurance Won’t Help You
Don't count on your health insurance to send a plane to pick you up and bring you home.
Even if you have good health insurance in the US, it does not include medical evacuation. If you break a leg in Canada, have a stroke in The Bahamas or get a disabling virus in Belize you will be stuck there until you are well enough to take a commercial flight home.
And again, the US State Department will not help with the financial costs of your return home.
Recommended Medical Levels
Specifically, travelers who cruise within 3-4 hours of the US border should carry a minimum $100,000 of Medical Evacuation benefits.
Cruisers venturing further from home need a minimum $250,000 of Medical Evacuation – the cost of a long-range private jet staffed with a medical evacuation team.
Holland America Trip Medical Insurance Benefits Are Dangerously Low
Next, we highlight the Holland America Line Cruise Insurance Medical Expense Insurance and the Emergency Evacuation coverage levels.
In the event of serious illness or accident, both Cancel Protection Plans have recklessly low levels of medical insurance that will leave a traveler exposed to catastrophic financial risk. Later in this article, we go into detail.
As you can see, Medical travel insurance is extremely important for cruisers. On one hand, we like that Holland America Line uses Nationwide to underwrite their Platinum insurance. On the other hand, Holland America Line offers low Medical Insurance and Evacuation benefits despite the fact their primary clientele are seniors.
Travel Medical Insurance
As you can see, Holland America Line offers Medical Insurance in Cancel Protection Plan Platinum, but it’s scant. That’s especially dangerous for senior travelers.
Medical Evacuation Insurance
Likewise, Emergency Medical Evacuation exists, but again, it’s too low to be reliable in a true emergency.
More importantly, seniors who rely on Holland America’s cruise insurance for medical care and evacuation face increased financial risk. The Platinum Cancellation Plan only provides a meager $10,000 medical coverage and Medicare is not accepted outside the US.
Although Holland America’s Platinum Travel Insurance has helpful cancellation, it is not a strong dependable insurance plan. Fortunately, there are many more affordable trip insurance options with better coverage throughout the wider travel insurance market.
Basic Cancellation Travel Protection
Every Travel Insurance policy includes some form of basic trip cancellation protection. Typically, trip insurance pays a 100% cash refund for a number of reasons that include:
- Accident, illness, or death of you, a traveling partner, business partner, or family member
- Jury duty
- Legal appearance
- Traffic accident en route to airport
- Death or hospitalization of your host at your travel destination
- Bankruptcy of your travel provider
It’s not all bad news if you buy the Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan. It has pretty good cancellation benefits.
Admirably, both Standard and Platinum Cancel Protection Plan have a “Cancel For Any Reason” option. However, this is the exception, not the rule in the realm of cruise cancellation.
Most cruise lines that offer Cancel For Any Reason pay cruise credits instead of a cash refund. We applaud Holland America for this.
In fact, Holland America Line itself takes financial responsibility to pay the Cancel For Any Reason benefit in its Platinum insurance:
The following Cancel For Any Reason Waiver is provided by Holland America and is not an insurance benefit. Please see the dates set forth in the Cancellation Policy in the applicable Holland America Line brochure.
The Cancellation Policy further details the requirements for a payout:
Trip cancellation protection is effective for any reason up to 24 hours prior to scheduled cruise or cruise tour departure under the Standard and Platinum Plans. The Platinum Plan additionally offers cancellation protection for covered reasons within the 24 hours prior to departure. All other benefits of the Platinum Plan are effective upon departure.
Holland America’s Covered Reasons for Cancellation
In the final 24-hour window, Holland America’s Cruise Cancellation Plan restricts cancellation to a few listed reasons:
- your sickness, accidental injury or death, that results in medically imposed restrictions as certified by a physician at the time of loss preventing your continued participation in the trip;
- sickness, accidental injury or death of a family member or traveling companion booked to travel with you that results in medically imposed restrictions as certified by a physician preventing that person’s continued participation in the trip;
- sickness, accidental injury or death of a non-traveling family member;
- you or a traveling companion being hijacked, quarantined, required to serve on a jury, subpoenaed; having your principal place of residence made uninhabitable by fire, flood, volcano, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster;
- you or a traveling companion being directly involved in a traffic accident, substantiated by a police report, while en route to departure;
- a terrorist attack (or attacks) occurs in your departure city or in a city that is still a scheduled destination for your trip, provided: the terrorist attack (or attacks) occurs within thirty (30) days of the scheduled departure date for your trip or during your trip.
By comparison, Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector Plus (explained below) lists a generous 24 covered cancellation reasons, including the points above.
Most cruise fares are based on double occupancy of the room. In the event one of the cruisers cancels, they normally charge the roommate a supplement fee or even the remaining fare if traveling alone.
If your companion cancels their cruise for a covered reason, and you still want to go without them, many travel insurance policies cover the added cost of the person who cancelled:
Benefits will be paid, up to the Maximum Benefit Amount, for the additional cost incurred as a result of a change in the per person occupancy rate for Prepaid Travel Arrangements if a Traveling Companion’s or Family Member’s Trip is canceled for a covered reason and You do not cancel Your Trip.
This is a benefit AARDY recommends so travelers can enjoy their cruise vacation even if their companion cannot.
Work Cancellation Travel Protection
In the event a traveler previously received approval for vacation, but the employer later rescinds it, Cancel For Work Reason covers cancellation for a 100% refund.
Although Holland America’s Cancel Protection Plan does not specifically allow Cancel for Work, it falls under Cancel For Any Reason.
By comparison, the Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector Plus cruise insurance allows for Cancel For Work Reason if a covered traveler is required to work during the trip. In fact, it pays a 100% cash refund to cancel for this reason. At Best, Holland America Line would refund 90% cash.
Worth nothing, a traveler who gets laid off from work through no fault of their own may be a covered under ‘covered cancellation’ many travel insurance policies.
Trip Interruption Travel Protection Reasons
If you’re already on your trip and a family member back home dies or is unexpectedly ill or injured, you may interrupt your trip and return early. This is a covered cancellation reason on all trip insurance policies available through AARDY.
Although Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan Platinum has a “Cancel For Any Reason” policy, that does not mean it has an “Interrupt For Any Reason.” On the contrary, it lists only a few reasons it will cover a trip interruption:
- Your Sickness, Accidental Injury or death, that results in medically imposed restrictions as certified by a Physician at the time of Loss preventing Your continued participation in the Trip;
- Sickness, Accidental Injury or death of a Family Member or Traveling Companion booked to travel with You that results in medically imposed restrictions as certified by a Physician preventing that person’s continued participation in the Trip;
- Sickness, Accidental Injury or death of a non-traveling Family Member;
- You or a Traveling Companion being hijacked, Quarantined, required to serve on a jury, subpoenaed; having Your principal place of residence made Uninhabitable by fire, flood, volcano, earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster;
- You or a Traveling Companion being directly involved in a traffic accident, substantiated by a police report, while en route to departure;
- A Terrorist Attack (or Attacks) occurs in Your departure city or in a city that is still a scheduled destination for Your Trip, provided: the Terrorist Attack (or Attacks) occurs within thirty (30) days of the Scheduled Departure Date for Your Trip or during Your Trip.
This is a very basic list that all travel insurance policies should cover for trip interruption.
By comparison, Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector Plus lists 24 covered interruption reasons, including those above.
Moreover, Holland America only refunds trip interruptions for travel arrangements booked through them. Anything you booked privately is not covered for cancellation or interruption.
What Alternatives Can I Find For Cruise Travel Insurance?
Each year, Americans spend over $3 billion on travel insurance. Since the United States is home to one of the largest travel insurance markets in the world, travelers can easily compare policies to find the best fit for their cruise.
To help you shop for the best value, AARDY allows the traveler to quickly quote and compare travel insurance plans from some of the top travel insurers in the country.
Size Up Policies at a Glance with AARDY
First, we work with the most reputable travel insurance carriers in the US. Each of our carriers is rated ‘A’ or ‘A+’ by A.M. Best and offer highly respected customer service. (AM Best website: https://www.ambest.com/home/default.aspx)
Second, our carriers offer a range of travel insurance plans with different levels of benefits, a savvy consumer can compare a dozen different travel insurance plans at the same time.
Third, you are assured to find the best value on cruise insurance. We guarantee you will not find the same trip insurance policy at a lower price.
Holland America Line Cruise Insurance vs Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector Plus Travel Insurance Plan
Earlier we noted that the Platinum Holland America travel insurance plan was $198 for both travelers. Here we compare this to a more formal travel insurance policy with Cancel For Any Reason features priced at $164 for both travelers.
For our senior cruise couple, the cruise fare with fees and taxes is $1,638 for both travelers. Let’s take a look at their quote if they searched bought a travel insurance policy.
Features of Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus
Worldwide Trip Protector Plus is one of the most popular plans at AARDY due to its Cancel For Any Reason feature and high level of Medical Evacuation ($1,000,000).
Let’s take a look at how a premium travel insurance policy compares to the Cancellation Protection Plan offered by Holland America:
Here, our senior cruising couple can protect themselves a top level, fully featured travel insurance plan costs only a few dollars more than Holland America’s nearly-useless Standard Cancel Protection Plan.
Recap: Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan Standard and Platinum
Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan Standard - not travel insurance
- Partial refund for cancellation costs paid to Holland America Line (cruise fare, excursions, air, land tour, etc)
- High cost
Holland America Line Cancel Protection Plan Platinum - very limited benefits
- Partial refund for cancellation costs paid to Holland America Line (cruise fare, excursions, air, land tour, etc)
- Dangerously low medical and evacuation coverage
- Narrow scope of insurance benefits
- High cost
AARDY offers comprehensive travel insurance policies
- Robust medical coverage to give you peace of mind
- Covers all trip costs, regardless of vendor
- Comprehensive policy benefits
- One policy can cover everyone on trip, not just 1 person
- Best value for your money
Holland America Line Travel Insurance Cancel Protection Plan performs solely for cancellation benefits, rather than a travel insurance policy. It is called Cancel Protection Plan after all, and not Holland America Line Cruise Insurance. In fact, Holland America Line seems to play down the insurance aspect of it.
While a Cancel For Any Reason offer is rather generous, most people cancel due to the sickness, injury or death of a covered traveler or a family member. As a result, Cancel For Any Reason is good marketing but overkill and expensive.
In fact, Holland America Line Travel Insurance - Cancel For Any Reason Cancel Protection Plan distracts from the major flaws of both Cancel Protection Plans: deficient medical benefits.
AARDY believes seniors vacationing with Holland America Line are best served when they have ample medical insurance in case of emergency during their trip, not just cancellation protection. As such, we do not recommend either of the Cancel Protection Plans for cruise travelers.
When traveling outside of the United States, we recommend having at least $100k in travel medical coverage, enough for an unexpected medical event.
We also recommend an emergency medical evacuation limit of at least $250,000 to get you to treatment quickly and then back home after a devastating medical event.
Furthermore, if you purchase your trip insurance policy within 10-21 days of your initial trip payment, a pre-existing condition waiver can be included to save you headache down the road.
Have questions? Want to speak with an expert?
We would love to hear from you. Send us a chat, email or call at (650) 492-6298 and talk with a travel insurance expert at no additional cost.
AARDY guarantees you will not find a lower price for the plans on our site anywhere else, not even from the insurer directly.