Windstar Cruises Travel Insurance - 2021 Review
Windstar Cruises offers two travel insurance options that come at a high cost and underperform in key areas. Specifically, Windstar cruise insurance has poor Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation.
In this article, we provide an overview of Windstar’s trip insurance plans, break down the details of Windstar Cruises insurance and show you other travel insurance options on the wider travel insurance market.
The Windstar Cruises Experience
Windstar Cruises accommodates travelers on sailboats and motor-powered boats in their six-ship fleet. In an age when mega-ships are common, Windstar’s motorboats are more like large yachts. This is a stark contrast to the floating resorts operated by Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and MSC Cruises.
With a capacity of 150-300 travelers per ship, Windstar Cruises provides an intimate and refined travel experience.
Windstar Cruises Travel Insurance
Windstar Cruises’ travel insurance is called Full Sail Travel Protection.
Aon Travel Practice administers the program and processes claims. Arch Insurance underwrites and is a trusted partner of Aardy that underwrites the RoamRight travel insurance plans.
Windstar Cruises offers two insurance options: Premium and Standard.
You can enroll directly with Windstar on their website or by phone. The Windstar Cruises website contains detailed insurance information.
Windstar Cruises employs a unique travel insurance pricing system. They charge a flat fee of 10% of the trip cost for the Premium insurance plan, and 8% of the trip cost for the Standard insurance.
Overall, the Windstar Cruises travel insurance charges a luxury price for minimal protection.
Our Trip: Ruins, Relics, and Rainforests of Central America
Our example Windstar cruise is for the 15-day Ruins, Relics, and Rainforests cruise along the Pacific coast of Central America.
Passengers start the cruise in Panama and end in Mexico. The cost for two travelers, ages 55 and 60, is $18,338.
For this trip, Windstar cruise travel insurance costs $1,834 for Premium trip insurance or $1,467 for Standard trip insurance.
Alternatives to Windstar Travel Insurance
AARDY consistently recommends travelers leaving the United States buy a minimum of:
- $100,000 Medical Insurance per person
- $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation per person
- Waiver of Pre-existing Medical Conditions
We chose these two policies for comparison because for this trip Travel SE is the least expensive policy that includes the recommended minimums.
Also, we compare with iTravelInsured Travel LX because it’s the least expensive policy with the Cancel For Any Reason feature.
Let’s see how Windstar’s coverage measures up to our minimum recommendations:
When we compare all four insurance plans listed above, both Windstar travel insurance plans show their weaknesses quickly.
If you must cancel your trip for one of the reasons listed below, Windstar insurance provides a cash refund.
Worth noting, Windstar’s plans limit the Trip Cost they cover for Cancellation and Interruption. Windstar Cruises’ Standard cruise insurance plan covers up to $10,000 Trip Cancellation maximum per person. That’s a painfully low ceiling, as most policies cover between $50,000 and $100,000 per person.
Alternatively, the Windstar Premium option provides protection up to $75,000 maximum for each traveler.
Windstar Cruises permits a 100% cash refund for the following covered cancellation situations:
- Serious illness or death of a family member
- Traffic accident that leads to you missing your departure
- Stolen passports or visas
- Travel delay 12 hours or more delay by an airline due to weather or mechanical issues
- Job loss (if with the same employer for at least one year)
- Job transfer (250 miles or more from your current residence)
- Jury duty
- Government mandated shutdown of an airport due to weather or terrorism
- A strike that causes airline services to stop for at least 12 consecutive hours
We find no fault with the trip cancellation reasons listed above with Windstar insurance.
However, iTravelInsured Travel SE and LX include all the above, and:
- Family member or traveling companions’ death or serious illness
- Jury duty
- Uninhabitable accommodations at your destination
- Bankruptcy or default of an airline or cruise line
- Job Loss (at least one year with the same employer)
- and more.
We identified two problems that stand out with Windstar’s Trip Cancellation coverage:
- Low Trip Cost maximum on the
- While Windstar Standard’s Trip Cancellation coverage suffices for cruises less than $10,000 in cost, the lack of coverage above $10,000 unacceptable (especially at an 8% surcharge over the trip cost price).
- High cost and underperformance
of the Premium option
- While $75,000 in Trip Cancellation coverage is a solid amount, we find the 10% of trip cost price for the Premium option excessive.
Windstar Cruises’ Cancel For Any Reason Coverage
While we’re always pleased when a cruise line offers Cancel For Any Reason, Windstar insurance plans only provide cruise credit, rather than cash. We prefer travelers to receive a cash refund, as it is more useful and does not expire.
Windstar’s Cancel For Any Reason affords you:
- 90% of the trip cost for Windstar Premium, with a $75,000 maximum
- 50% of the trip cost for Windstar Standard, with a $10,000 maximum
“Cruise Credits” are a poor substitute for real money when you pay top dollar for Windstar’s cruise travel insurance.
Windstar Standard shows very poorly in this category. It is a barebones policy with a slight Cancel For Any Reason benefit.
You can find more useful Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance plans on the Travel Insurance Marketplace.
Cancel For Any Reason Coverage with iTravelInsured Travel LX
Unlike Windstar’s pseudo-Cancel For Any Reason coverage, iTravelInsured Travel LX provides real Cancel For Any Reason coverage.
What do we mean by real? We mean you get a cash refund (75% of trip cost), not “Cruise Credits.”
iTravelInsured Travel LX Cancel For Any Reason requires:
- Insuring 100% of non-refundable, prepaid trip costs
- Purchasing the LX policy before or within 1 Day of Final Trip Payment
- Canceling the trip at least 48 hours before trip departure
Windstar Cruises Travel Medical Insurance
Next, we review Windstar’s Medical Expense and Medical Evacuation coverages.
Aside from the price, the biggest difference between the two Windstar Cruises’ trip insurance policies and the iTravelInsured plans are the amounts of Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation.
Specifically, both Windstar cruise insurance plans provide insufficient Medical Expense protection in an emergency.
Windstar Cruises Standard Travel Insurance provides a mere $10,000 in Medical Expense coverage. We are shocked that a luxury line like Windstar Cruises offers such dismal Medical coverage for an 8% trip cost price tag.
Windstar’s Premium cruise insurance steps up Medical Expense coverage to $50,000, but charges travelers 10% of the trip cost. It’s mid-range coverage with a top-end price tag.
We recommend a minimum of $100,000 per person in Medical Insurance coverage when traveling abroad. Foreign hospitals charge $3,000 to $4,000 per day for treatment. Medicare does not pay providers outside the US. Medical Insurance of at least $100,000 provides you peace of mind and financial security while on your Windstar Cruise.
Consider the Unseen Risks of This Trip to Central America.
Did you know there are 22 different species of venomous snakes in Costa Rica? The 22 species account for about 500 snake bites per year. If you receive a venomous snake bite while hiking in Quepos, Costa Rica, remain calm so the venom does not circulate quickly throughout your body and immediately seek medical attention.
Antivenom costs $1,500 per dose and up!
Often 10-20 doses are needed for the antivenom to work. Snake antivenom works very effectively, but this life-saving treatment comes with a large financial cost.
Knowing this, would you visit the rainforest of Costa Rica with only $10,000-$50,000 in Medical insurance coverage?
Windstar Cruise Insurance Protection Doesn’t Pass Muster
Windstar Cruises Standard travel insurance provides an anemic $10,000 Medical Insurance benefit that won’t cover a critical illness or traumatic injury. Treatment beyond setting a bone vaporizes $10,000 in Medical Insurance immediately.
The Standard Windstar Cruises trip insurance plan covers dangerously little coverage for a very high price. Windstar Cruises Premium travel insurance supplies $50,000 Medical Insurance, but at an excessively high cost.
Consequently, AARDY recommends at least $100,000 Medical Insurance when traveling abroad. A medical emergency only must happen once to wipe out your retirement savings and diminish the comfort of your lifestyle.
Windstar Cruises Travel Medical Evacuation Insurance
Next, we discuss Medical Evacuation insurance.
Unfortunately, Windstar cruise insurance continues its trend of deficient coverage.
We recommend $250,000 minimum per person in Medical Evacuation when traveling overseas. Strong Medical Evacuation coverage offsets the exceptionally high costs of air medical travel (which bills at $15,000 per hour and up).
Regrettably, Windstar Cruises Standard trip insurance consists of $25,000 in Medical Evacuation. This is an exceptionally poor value for the excessive 8% of trip cost price.
Somewhat better, Windstar Cruises Premium travel insurance incorporates $100,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage, but that still falls quite short of our recommendation of $250,000.
iTravelInsured Travel SE & LX: Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation
We selected iTravelInsured Travel SE and LX plans to compare against Windstar’s insurance offerings because SE is the least expensive quote for this trip which included at least $100,000 Medical Insurance and $250,000 Medical Evacuation. Likewise, we also include Travel LX in the comparison because it’s the least expensive quote which includes Cancel For Any Reason.
iTravelInsured Travel SE provides $150,000 Medical Insurance and $500,000 Medical Evacuation coverage. These levels dwarf Windstar Cruises Standard plan, which has $10,000 Medical Insurance and $25,000 Medical Evacuation.
As a result, iTravelInsured Travel SE extends $140,000 more in Medical Insurance and $475,000 more in Medical Evacuation than Windstar’s Standard insurance. The kicker here: iTravelInsured Travel SE’s premium is $386 less than Windstar’s Standard insurance.
This illustrates the importance of shopping around for travel insurance. At a Travel Insurance Marketplace like Aardy, you have far more options to choose from, usually at must lower rates than the cruise line.
For example, if you experienced a heart attack during your Windstar Cruises vacation, their $10,000 in Medical Insurance won’t provide the necessary treatment for your recovery. You’d need surgery, medication and medical stabilization, all of which are expensive.
If your condition requires airlift off the ship, $25,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage burns very quickly, as medical air transportation bills at $15,000 per flight hour and up. There wouldn’t be any Medical Evacuation left for a private medical jet flight home for continued treatment.
Don’t overlook the importance of Medical Evacuation. It’s one of the most expensive emergency services travelers face.
iTravelInsured Travel LX vs Windstar Premium Travel Insurance
Now, let’s examine the differences between Windstar Cruises Premium travel insurance plan and iTravelInsured Travel LX.
iTravelInsured Travel LX costs $178 less in than Windstar Cruises Premium travel insurance and provides much more in coverage.
Two of the most robust benefits are the Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation. Travel LX pays up to $450,000 more for Medical Insurance and up to a staggering $900,000 more in Medical Evacuation.
In addition, Travel LX also offers Cancel For Any Reason, but it’s set up differently from Windstar’s Cancel For Any Reason program. First, Marketplace policies like Travel LX pay a cash benefit, not credit. Second, Windstar Premium offers 90% of your trip cost as cruise credit, while Travel LX returns 75%.
However, the drawback is that Windstar’s programs cannot cover any travel arrangements (flights, hotels, transfers, tours, etc) arranged by anyone other than Windstar. On the other hand, Travel LX permits you to include any travel arrangements that are prepaid and non-refundable so you can cover everything conveniently in one policy.
Another painful point against both Windstar Cruises is that the trip insurance plans fail to cover Missed Connection.
If your flight is late and the cruise ship leaves without you, Missed Connection pays to get you caught up to the cruise and refund the unused portion of the cruise. Unfortunately, Windstar Cruises covers nothing like that.
Windstar cruise travel insurance might be convenient to buy, but it’s not convenient if you must use it.
Pre-existing Medical Condition Coverage
In the world of travel insurance, a Pre-existing Condition is an illness, disease or injury that occurs within a window immediately before you buy the travel insurance plan. In general, travel insurance does not cover any medical conditions which are new or worsened within the 60-180 days prior to purchasing travel insurance.
Thankfully, some travel insurance programs Waive this provision and allow the policy to cover Pre-existing Conditions.
Windstar Cruises Premium trip insurance provides a Waiver of Pre-existing Conditions. When you purchase the Premium plan within 14 days of the Initial Trip Deposit or Payment, the policy covers Pre-existing Conditions. The Waiver applies to Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Medical Insurance, and Medical Evacuation.
Without a Waiver of Pre-existing Conditions, you are not fully covered and risk a significant coverage gap.
If you purchase a travel insurance policy after those first 14 days passed, Windstar Premium will look at the past 60 days of your medical history to see if you have a Pre-existing Condition. If you have one, the policy does not cover claims related to that condition.
Not all cruise lines offer a Waiver of Pre-existing Conditions. In fact, very few do. We are quite pleased to discover Windstar Cruises covers Pre-existing Conditions with their Premium cruise insurance plan.
Although that’s great news, we wish both of Windstar’s cruise insurance plans furnished stronger Medical and Evacuation coverage to complement the Pre-existing Conditions Waiver.
Note that Windstar Cruises Standard travel insurance does not include a Waiver of Pre-existing Conditions and leaves you with a major gap in coverage and poor value for the money.
Pre-existing Medical Condition Coverage: Available with iTravelInsured Travel SE and Travel LX
iTravelInsured Travel SE and LX both grant a Pre-existing Condition Waiver.
When you purchase iTravelInsured Travel SE within 20 days of your initial trip deposit, the policy ensures coverage for Pre-existing Medical Conditions.
Thankfully, iTravelInsured Travel LX provides even more flexibility. For those of us who forget to buy travel insurance shortly after making the initial deposit, there’s good news.
iTravelInsured Travel LX covers Pre-existing Conditions when you purchase the policy before or no later than within 1 day of your final trip payment.
Unfortunately, many travelers of all ages have Pre-existing Medical Conditions. If you are one of those travelers, it pays to buy robust protection like iTravelInsured Travel SE and LX offer.
If you have Pre-existing Medical conditions, Windstar Cruises insurance exposes you to more financial risks than necessary. Windstar Cruises trip insurance offers $10,000-$50,000 in Medical coverage which is simply too low for us to recommend.
Thankfully, both Windstar cruise insurance plans are up to par when it comes to insuring baggage.
Windstar Cruises travel insurance pays up to $1,500 for baggage loss or theft with the Standard plan and up to $3,000 with the Premium plan. Both plans cover up to $500 for baggage delay.
While these benefits are reasonable and good to have in place, they do not come close to justifying Windstar’s high insurance premiums.
If we could offer you one tip: Save your receipts!
You will need them to access the full Baggage Coverage benefit. Without original receipts for your items, Baggage Coverage reimburses you for 75% of Actual Cash Value.
Note the following exclusions with Baggage Coverage:
- Wear and Tear of items
- Confiscation by Customs
- Theft due to an unlocked vehicle
- Keys, Money, or Credit Cards
- Glasses or Hearing Aids
- Animals (leave the Toucans where they are)
Close examination of Windstar Standard and Premium insurance shows where it lacks the most: Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation.
Worst of all, Windstar insurance is overpriced and affords a substandard value compared to other travel insurance plans on the open market.
Problems with Windstar Travel Insurance:
- Only $10,000 in Medical Insurance, and only $25,000 in Medical Evacuation (Standard insurance)
- No cash payout with Cancel For Any Reason coverage
- Both plans are outrageously expensive
Contact AARDY for insurance that provides value, and peace of mind wherever your travels take you.
How Do I Get a Travel Insurance Quote?
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Can Save by Purchasing Directly from the Insurer?
Purchasing coverage directly from an insurance provider will not save you money. You also cannot compare travel insurance plans from other companies at the same time when shopping at a single insurer.
After all, you won’t find the same trip insurance at a better price, even directly from the insurance company. Aardy guarantees you the lowest prices allowed by law.
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