For a lot of guests, adding insurance to their Disney vacation package makes perfect sense.  Maybe your job situation is iffy or planning a trip far in advance makes you nervous.  Maybe you’re just worried about something bad happening once your vacation begins.  Whatever the reason, there’s one rule you should follow when you buy insurance directly from Disney: Don’t add it until your final payment. Here’s why.

Briefly, buying insurance with your vacation package is pretty simple. In fact, it’s almost too simple, which is why it gets some guests into trouble. The option is offered to you when you book with an agent or with Disney or, if you’re doing it online yourself, when you finalize your package details prior to paying the deposit.  For Disney World, insuring the adults means that the entire package is covered, so say you have two adults and three kids on a reservation. You’ll pay $75.95 per adult or $151.90 total. Disney Cruise Lines is a little different, since everyone has to be insured. Expect to pay hundreds of dollars to insure a typical cruise.

Here’s where people run into trouble. Say you have every intention of adding insurance to your trip so that when you’re asked, you just add it without thinking. Chances are, you’re aware that insurance is non-refundable, but you may not have processed that information to mean from here on out!  Maybe you even confused it with the fact that your $200 Disney World deposit is fully-refundable up until 45-days prior to travel. It’s easy to do. Whatever the case, if you have to cancel your reservation, you just lost money, even if you have to cancel it months prior to travel.

Get Park Wise: Disney insurance coverage is very basic. If you need a policy that covers a broader range of circumstances, consider buying insurance from an outside company. You can even purchase a policy from the company that Disney uses, Travel Guard.

Since Disney travel is fully refundable up until final payment, there’s actually no risk in not adding insurance until that time.  You simply don’t need it before then. So don’t give into the pressure,whether real or imagined, to add it because you’re going to need it later. As long as you add it before your final payment, you’re good to go. Finally, if you’re the type of guest who makes payments, just make sure you leave $100 or so left to pay on your trip until your final payment is due. That way, if you have to cancel, you won’t lose a penny.

Adding insurance before your final payment is the type of mistake that needlessly costs guests money every year.  What do you usually do? Do you add insurance and if so, do you buy it directly or from Disney?

  • jcruise86

    Thanks for the tip, Chris!

  • I never buy insurance. However, recently one of the guys I work with had to cancel his cruise at the last minute because his father had a heart attack. If he had travel insurance, would he have been covered?

    It’s really got me thinking about all the things that can go wrong.

  • StevenW

    “Expect to pay hundreds of dollars to insure a typical cruise.”

    Huh? This is not true. If you go to Travel Guard, you pay based on number of passengers. Typically, it is about $50 per person. For two people, it is barely a hundred dollars. It is more with 4 people.

    The best way to save on your travel insurance is buying everything at the same time and then buy travel insurance for the whole trip. Otherwise, if things are bought separately, every item needs to be insured separately like the cruise, the airfare, and the hotel. Alternatively, just insure the items that are mostly costly and cannot be refunded like the cruise and airfare.

    If you made separate reservations for the rental car and hotel, they are easily cancelled. There would be no insurance for timeshare reservations. Such things have little monetary value.

    Travel insurance seems best for cruises and airfare especially if there are medical issues, bad weather, flight delays, lost luggage, or vendor cancellations.

    • Chris Wood

      Steven, if you buy insurance directly from Disney, your cruise insurance will cost $100s, depending on the price of your cruise and the number of people in your party. It’s obviously lower with cruise lines that cost less, such as Carnival. I rarely advocate buying insurance, but in the case of DCL, I always buy it.

  • brettb

    I roll my own trip, booking hotel, car, airfare, admission, etc. separately. Unless I’ve been doing it wrong, I’ve only been buying one insurance policy to cover the whole thing. There are rules regarding pre-existing condition waivers based on the your *first* deposit.

    But there are plenty of 3rd party online brokers that make choosing an appropriate policy (which are almost always superior to Disney’s policy) easy.

    We buy because of health concerns, even those of non-travelling family members. Grandma dies right before you leave? With the right policy, you’re covered.

    • Chris Wood

      Good information–thanks for your response.

  • disdad70

    I think that some of your recommendations are ill-advised. Only decline insurance if you can afford to lose the entire value of the vacation. (Likewise only buy car and homeowners insurance if you can afford to lose the value of those items too.) The reality is that most people should get insurance when they deposit for one reason: pre existing conditions are almost always waived. Let’s say that you don’t purchase insurance with your deposit and then a family member gets sick. You think that you will still be able to travel so you buy insurance at final payment just in case. Then the situation gets worse just before you leave for vacation and you need to cancel. Guess what, your insurance claim will be denied because the condition was pre existing at the time of the insurance purchase and now you face massive penalties, if not a full loss.

    While there are many types of insurances, most will cover the value of your Disney vacation and your airfare. This is very important because nearly all airline tickets are non refundable upon purchase. Once again there are many types of insurance. Make sure there is a weather related clause. Florida is hurricane central and many people fly in from winter weather climates, that pretty much encompasses the entire calendar year. And make sure that your insurance covers you until you return home and not just up to your arrival date. Lastly, make sure that your insurance provides a cash refund and not a future travel credit. The lower the cost of your insurance (especially with a cruise vacation) the less coverage that you have. You don’t even want to know about the costs involved in getting off of a ship mid cruise to return home due to a medical emergency. Most travel providers (airline, cruise, hotel) have heard every sob story that there is and they will refuse to waive their fees.

    Once again, compare vacation insurance to your car insurance (albeit car insurance is normally legally mandated.) Could you afford to lose the value of your car/vacation if something unforeseen happens and are you willing to pay hundreds of dollars to fix damaged/pay change penalties if necessary.

    Truth be told, I am a travel agent and I receive commission to sell insurance. However it would unconscionable of me to not highly recommend insurance to my clients. I can share countless stories of people who thought that they were invincible, declined insurance and then lost massive amounts of money at a low point when they were already knocked down by illness and death. Yes, most people will never need insurance but like all insurance you are sure relieved when you need it and you have it. Consider the small price of insurance versus your overall vacation total when planning your next vacation.