(NerdWallet) – A Disney vacation can be the trip of a lifetime. It can also be the most expensive trip of your life.
For many, buying travel insurance should be just as essential as buying a churro when cruising Main Street. After all, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. But that’s not the only reason you might cancel. Maybe you booked a vacation but then lost your job? you may want to wait until you regain a steady stream of income. Maybe your child has broken his leg and you want to rebook when he’s healed.
Travel insurance can be purchased from a travel insurance company, or you may already have it by holding some credit cards. Alternatively, you can purchase it directly from Disney, which offers supplemental insurance for vacation packages at its US theme parks.
Is Disney Travel Insurance Worth It, or Are There Better Deals?
What Disney Travel Insurance Covers
If you are going to Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California and have booked a vacation package (i.e. hotel and theme park tickets), you can purchase the Protection Plan Disney trip. Underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, it is available for purchase by US residents and US citizens living abroad who book through the Disney website.
Exact coverage and availability of benefits vary depending on where you live, but typically include:
- Trip Cancellation or Interruption: Reimburses prepaid trips up to the full cost of your trip for covered reasons including illness, injury, job loss or military service.
- Travel delay: Reimburses eligible expenses up to $200 per day ($600 per trip).
- Loss of baggage: Reimburses up to $2,000 for lost, stolen or damaged baggage.
- Bag delay: Reimburses purchases of necessary items if your baggage is delayed 12 hours or more.
- Emergency medical expenses: Provides up to $25,000 of coverage if you become ill or injured while traveling.
- Damage to rental vehicle: Reimburses repair costs up to $25,000 in the event of collision, theft, damage or vandalism.
How much does Disney Travel Insurance cost?
Although Disney doesn’t list its prices directly, a NerdWallet analysis of several travel packages found that it costs a flat rate of $82.50 per adult and $6 per child.
Flat rate travel insurance can be good for ultra-expensive trips, but a bad deal for low-budget trips.
Treat yourself to a seven-night stay during Christmas week 2022 for a family of four (two adults and two children) at Disney’s lavish Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Book it with six-day theme park tickets with all the add-ons — like water park admission — and you’ll pay around $12,000. Adding travel insurance would cost $177, or 1.4% of your overall cost.
But suppose you’ve planned a trip instead for the end of September when the kids are back in school. Two adults could stay at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort with two-day base tickets for just $850. Adding Disney’s insurance would increase the cost of your package to over $1,000, which is an overall price increase of almost 20%.
Travel insurance that is only 1.4% of the total cost of your trip is a good deal, but 20% is far from it. After all, most travel insurance costs between 4% and 8% of the total trip, according to the US Travel Insurance Association.
Reasons to Get Disney Travel Insurance
Flat rate travel insurance, as offered by Disney, is quite rare. Most policies are priced based on factors such as the length of your trip, your destination and the age of the insured.
Here’s why it could be a good deal:
Flat rate pricing is preferable for more expensive journeys: If an expensive trip should lead to equally expensive travel insurance, it makes sense to opt for flat rate pricing. And it’s not just a fancy hotel and Disney theme park tickets with all the extras like frontline passes. Consider other non-refundable travel items, such as airline tickets and prepaid rental cars. If you are fly first classor you get hit with rise in rental car pricesflat-rate insurance is particularly attractive.
You are an elderly person: Travel insurance costs are based on risk, and insurance is more expensive for older travelers, who are more likely to have health issues, according to Allianz Travel Insurance.
Since Disney’s only age differentiator is child versus adult, its plan might be cheaper for seniors compared to an independent insurer.
Many other policies do not cover theme park tickets: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney has required travelers to make advance reservations to enter its US theme parks. The days of buying tickets first thing in the morning are over. For popular days, you will often need to book your tickets months in advance. But while most policies cover cruises, airfare, lodging, and tours, it’s hard to find policies that cover theme park tickets.
Due to the high cost of Disney tickets (and the fact that most Disney tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable), you probably want to be covered for these as well.
Reasons to Skip Disney Travel Insurance
But most people are better off skipping Disney insurance. Here are some reasons:
The maximum coverage is relatively low: Disney’s insurance will pay a maximum of $25,000 for accidental death and dismemberment, while it’s common to find coverage of up to $500,000 elsewhere.
Likewise, Disney’s policy covers up to $2,000 for lost baggage. That might be insufficient if you packed a fancy camera. With other insurance policies, coverage of at least $3,000 is common.
And Disney rental car coverage only reimburses repair costs up to $25,000. Especially given rising car pricesthis might not be enough for serious accidents.
Coverage is limited: In fact, getting reimbursed with your Disney travel insurance can be tricky. Covered events are limited to specific situations, including injury, death of a family member or jury duty. Additionally, you must provide proof, such as a court order or death certificate. Disney’s insurance will also not cover pre-existing conditions.
You do not want to book a Disney hotel: Disney Insurance is only available to travelers staying at one of Disney’s (expensive) resorts. If you are go to disney world cheap, staying off property is almost always cheaper. Don’t let eligibility to purchase Disney insurance persuade you to book a Disney resort that doesn’t fit your ideal budget.
Better alternatives to Disney travel insurance
Before your Disney trip, compare travel insurance quotes from several suppliers. And don’t overlook these other types of travel insurance:
Cancel coverage for any reason
Maybe an increase in COVID-19 cases has you considering travel. Or maybe an injury prevents you from traveling, but you don’t have a medical certificate to prove it. Given the limited number of reasons eligible for coverage, you might be better off with “Cancel for any reasonwhich covers you no matter what reason you cancel.
Look at your credit card
Some credit cards offer travel insurance as a benefit, as long as you purchased the trip with this card. Given the high cost of travel insurance, this benefit alone can often be worth the often high annual fee these cards charge.
Check with your bank to see what is covered. For example, the insurance offered through many Chase credit cards will explicitly not cover theme park tickets.
When is Disney travel insurance worth it?
Given how uncertain travel is these days, even a short weekend getaway should have some degree of reassurance. But you may not need to pay for Disney travel insurance.
As long as you accept that your theme park tickets are uninsured, the travel insurance offered by many credit cards is probably a better bet, and may not cost you anything once you hold the card. If you really want to provide coverage, paying for a cancellation for any reason might be even better.