Getting travel insurance for your trip to Cuba is not only advisable, it’s actually mandatory.
Although it may be tiresome and probably the least exciting part of planning your trip, getting travel insurance (for anywhere you go, not Just Cuba) will allow you to enjoy your trip more, without having to worry about what will happen if you miss your flight, get in an accident, etc.
If you are planning a trip to Cuba, you’ll find this article useful since it will focus on what you need to know about Cuba travel insurance.
Is Travel Insurance for Cuba Mandatory?
Yes, anyone who travels to Cuba must have valid travel health insurance to be allowed to enter. Along with travel insurance, you should also have a Cuba Visa or Tourist Card, depending on the visa requirements, and a valid passport.
Make sure to have sufficient coverage, because the immigration officers at the entry points will check it before allowing you to enter. If you do not have travel insurance, you will have to buy it at the airport or seaport upon arrival.
However, if you apply for a Cuban visa, submitting travel insurance is a requirement of the application process, so you will likely already have insurance before you even travel.
Where Can I Get Travel Insurance for Cuba?
You can get travel insurance from a local travel insurance company in your country or you can purchase online.
The most convenient method of purchasing travel insurance is online. There are insurance brokers and comparison websites such as Insubuy, which allow you to compare between plans, making it easier for you to find one that is most suitable.
When buying travel insurance, make sure that the policy you choose does offer coverage for Cuba. Read the policy carefully, and if you are still not certain, ask your insurance providers specifically whether or not you will be covered in Cuba.
If you do not buy travel insurance for Cuba before travelling, then you will have to buy it at the airport, seaport, or the land point of entry. In these cases, travel insurance may not be adequate or sufficient, which is why it’s preferred to buy it in advance.
However, if you are booking from the US or from a company that is underwritten by a US insurer, finding an insurance plan which offers coverage for Cuba can sometimes be tricky.
Travel Insurance Plans for Cuba for US Citizens
Not all US travel insurance companies offer coverage for Cuba. This is a result of US sanctions against the South American country dating back from the 1950s. As a matter of fact, US citizens are not even to travel to Cuba as tourists at all – they can only travel if the purpose of travel falls under certain categories.
This is why before actually buying the insurance policy, read it carefully and ask your insurance company whether you will be covered in Cuba – even if the plan claims to be “worldwide”.
Some travel insurance plans which cover Cuba (for US and non-US citizens) are:
What Does Travel Insurance for Cuba Include?
When purchasing travel insurance for Cuba, you should look at plans with at least basic coverage for:
- Medical emergencies. If you suddenly get sick or have an accident in Cuba, then travel insurance can cover the costs arising from your medical treatment.
- Trip interruption or cancellation. This part of travel insurance is to make sure that if you have to cancel your trip or cut it short for some reason, you will be reimbursed for some of your non-refundable travel expenses. The reasons that insurance companies consider valid for reimbursement are usually limited, however.
- Theft, loss, damage of luggage. If during your trip, your belongings are stolen or damaged, then you can get reimbursement for them, up to a limited amount. You should be able to present receipts for the possessions, as well as a police report if they were stolen/lost.
- Emergency evacuation or repatriation. This type of coverage will cover the costs of any expenses incurred if you have to be flown back to your country in an emergency (e.g. air ambulance).
Additional travel insurance coverage (add-ons)
Most insurance companies will have optional add-ons which you can get coverage for. Usually, this includes:
- Adventurous activities (skiing, scuba diving, climbing, white-water rafting, etc)
- Terrorism coverage
- Expensive items or electronics.
- Personal liability.
When Should I Buy Travel Insurance for Cuba?
You should aim to get travel insurance as soon as you start booking your trip. That’s because you will have coverage for any payment you make after buying the policy. If travel insurance is a requirement of your Cuba visa application, then you will have to buy it before you apply.
It is recommended that you buy travel insurance at least 15 days before you travel if you want to enjoy the full benefits of the policy.
If for some reason, you travel to Cuba without having purchased travel insurance, you may also be able to buy it at the entry point, airport, or seaport.
How Much Does Travel Insurance for Cuba Cost?
Travel insurance for Cuba depends on the following factors:
- How much coverage you get. Depending on whether you want a higher policy maximum, whether you get coverage for evacuation or adventurous activities, etc.
- How long you will stay. Most plans charge their prices by day, so travel insurance for a 30-day stay will be more expensive than one for seven days.
- Your age. Travel insurers charge people who are older (65+) more for an insurance plan because of the increased risk they have of making a claim.
Generally, if you have a pre-booked, non-refundable trip, you can expect to pay somewhere between 4%-10% of your total costs for travel insurance.
Healthcare in Cuba for Tourists
All Cuban citizens enjoy free healthcare and Cuban doctors are known for their skill and professionalism, although they are not paid in the same manner as in Western countries. If you get sick in Cuba as a tourist, there are tourist medical centres where medical staff will take care of you swiftly and with professionalism. You will have to pay for the medical services you receive since only citizens of Cuba enjoy free healthcare.
However, although the Cuba healthcare system is known for being one of the best in the region, they still lack some basic equipment and they are often overworked because they send a large portion of their doctors on missions overseas. This is why it is advisable to purchase evacuation/repatriation, as well as any prescription medication that you will need for that time.
Is Cuba Safe to Visit?
Yes, Cuba is considered a generally safe place to visit. Naturally, as it if when travelling anywhere in the world, you should be careful from things such as petty crime and be mindful about where you leave your things. Another thing travellers warn about when visiting Cuba is scams, where people will try to get you to give them money, but otherwise, there is no increased risk. Even if you get sick or in an accident, you should be well taken care of there.
Is Cuba Safe to Visit for US Citizens?
The US Department of State advises a Level 2, “Exercise Increased Caution” travel advisory for Cuba, urging citizens to “Exercise increased caution in Cuba due to demonstrable and sometimes debilitating injuries to members of our diplomatic community resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff.”
As of 2019, it has become harder for US citizens to travel to Cuba in a solo trip, as well as impossible for simply tourism purposes. All American citizens have to select a reason of travel from one of the approved categories of travel, which include family visits, journalism, export, humanitarian projects, etc.
Do I Need Vaccines to Visit Cuba?
You do not need to get any specific vaccinations when you travel to Cuba.
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