When to arrange insurance

Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for all travellers and is not included in the price of your trip.

We would recommend that you arrange insurance directly after booking, not only to protect your investment as soon as possible but also because some insurance policies may offer a reduced level of coverage if not purchased shortly after paying your cruise deposit.

What your travel policy should include

Gentoo chicks

Swooping above the waves, South Georgia © Renato Granieri

Adelie penguin, Antarctica

Swoop Antarctica is unable to provide travel insurance recommendations due to UK regulations. However, below we have made some suggestions that should help you with your insurance purchase.

When reviewing your intended insurance package there are a number of standard requirements that we think every good travel policy should include:

  • Cancellation, delayed departure, and curtailment/interruption costs - it is important that the cancellation value is equal to the total cost of your trip
  • Emergency medical and other expenses including medical evacuation, repatriation, and cover for any pre-existing medical conditions – this should include cover for expenses relating to Covid-19 claims
  • Financial failure of agent or operator
  • Hospital inconvenience benefit
  • Personal accident
  • Death
  • Loss of limb(s)/sight
  • Permanent total disablement
  • Delayed/lost baggage or lost passport
  • Lost personal money or documents
  • Personal liability cover
  • Disruption including airspace closure
  • Missed departure/connection
  • Travel risks such as hijack/mugging etc
  • Legal expenses

Please note these are general guidelines. For more detailed information on what is required for your specific voyage please refer to your ship operator's terms and conditions, and consider your own individual needs and circumstances. It is also important to check whether your insurance will cover you in the event of any changes to governmental travel advisories which are relevant to your trip.

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Swoop says

In the event of a situation arising that you intend to make a claim for, it is important to inform your insurer straight away.  They may have a specific process they require you to follow. It’s sensible to keep their emergency phone number and your policy number loaded in your phone contacts.

Cruise requirement

When travelling to Antarctica it's mandatory that your insurance policy includes medical evacuation cover for a minimum of $100,000 per person, however, some operators may require cover ​of ​up​ ​$250,000 per person. It is important that you check this in advance.

Arranging insurance

Topics to discuss with your insurer

Here are some considerations for you to talk through with your insurer prior to purchasing your insurance policy. We strongly recommend phoning the insurer to discuss your requirements as it can be difficult to establish all the necessary answers online.

Please note that this is not an exclusive list and you should ensure that you discuss any relevant personal circumstances which may apply to your insurance purchase.

  1. Is this policy valid for travel to countries or activities (such as cruising) subject to a travel advisory? (For US-based travellers it’s important to ask about cover if a US State Department travel advisory Level 4 is in place prior to booking the policy or goes into place prior to entering the country. As well as cover if the country is upgraded to Level 4 during your trip.)
    In our experience, many US-based insurance policies will cover you for travel to a Level 4 country, but will not cover you if you wish to cancel the trip because of a state advisory change or for “fear of travel” reasons.
  2. Does this policy include cancellation coverage for the full value of the trip should I need to cancel the trip due to a positive Covid-19 test prior to or during travel, and does it cover medical costs incurred as a result of Covid-19?
  3. Does the policy include cover for trip interruption?
    For example, if you are required to quarantine during your travels, either as a result of personally contracting Covid-19 or being affected by other nearby positive travellers. Would the policy cover “lost/curtailed days” along with any charges for rescheduling other impacted travel arrangements such as flights and hotels.
  4. Does the cancellation coverage amount cover the full cost of the expedition cruise (plus any flights and hotel arrangements booked separately)?
    It’s important to check that there is no maximum coverage limit, or that your trip cost does not exceed any maximum amount.
  5. Is a “Cancel for Any Reason” policy available and what are the terms and conditions?
    This may give you greater flexibility and coverage but is often only available to purchase within days of your initial deposit payment.
  6. Does the policy cover any specific requirements set out by your operator?
    This may include mandatory emergency evacuation coverage to a certain value.

Activities: If you have booked any additional activities during the course of your expedition cruise, please ensure that these are covered within the terms of your policy. For example, snowshoeing.

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Malva says

Having the right insurance for your adventure gives you peace of mind before and during your travels. Taking time to research options and scrutinise the details is a worthwhile investment!

Malva Canonico Customer Experience Coordinator

Travelling to Chile and/or Argentina

Boarding the plane for King George Island

Casa Rosada: presidential palace of Argentina, Buenos Aires

As per entry requirements at the time of writing, foreign nationals entering Argentina must have medical insurance that explicitly covers any expenses relating to Covid-19, such as medical costs, quarantine, and trip suspension. Your policy document must clearly state the inclusion of Covid-19 coverage.  If this is not clear on your standard policy documents then ask your insurer to write you an additional letter confirming that Covid19 coverage is included.  We strongly recommend that travellers visiting Chile can also provide the same information, though it is not mandated at the time of writing. 

Please check with your insurance provider to ensure that you have the appropriate cover in place. Please also be aware that this entry requirement is liable to change at any point; we will continue to monitor the rules and update this guide should they do so, but please be aware it is your responsibility to ensure there have been no changes before you travel.


Chile previously required that Covid-19 insurance coverage have a fixed level of medical insurance (a minimum claim value of $30,000 USD). General medical insurance of $30,000 USD that did not explicitly cover Covid-19 expenses was not sufficient.

Although they have currently dropped this requirement, we are conscious that it could be reintroduced if the situation changes. Therefore we strongly recommend that you ensure that your policy documentation explicitly covers Covid-19 claims.


If your insurance policy does not explicitly mention Covid-19 – for example, if it is included as standard – then you should request evidence in writing (maybe an email you can print off) from your insurer. A specified minimum coverage amount is not required.

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Swoop says

We recommend that you have both paper and electronic copies of all of your insurance documents. Pop the insurer’s contact number into the phone address books of everyone in your travelling party, along with your policy number, so it’s easy to access in an emergency.

When travelling to South America

Please note that you must bring your complete insurance policy with you when travelling in order to provide evidence of coverage.

As well as ensuring your full policy is available on your phone, you should carry a printout (and possibly a spare copy in case you lose one). Have the page marked and ready to show the airline when boarding your flight(s).

Arranging insurance

Insurance according to nationality

Swoop Antarctica is unable to provide travel insurer recommendations due to UK regulations. It may be worth contacting a local insurance broker who has a good understanding of the options available in your area, as they may be able to match you up to a suitable policy. We are unable to check the wording or suitability of the policy you are considering; should you have any queries needing clarification please contact the insurer directly.

When choosing an insurance provider, please refer to your ship operator's terms and conditions and consider your own individual needs and circumstances. Please note that if your nationality is not listed below then we are unable to provide information on insurers in your locale.