Stress-Free Travel With Credit Card Travel Insurance


Planning your vacation ahead of time is a smart move. It can save you a lot of money on airfare, hotel stays, dining, and experiences. However, there are things in life you cannot predict, and travel is one of them. No matter how well-planned your trip is, some things are out of your control. For instance, you may have to cancel your trip due to illness, bad weather, or other emergencies. Also, accidents may happen when you’re traveling, or you could lose your luggage. Credit card travel insurance can help you be ready for these accidents.

Why Get Travel Insurance?

To avoid hefty fees and huge expenses, you need to protect yourself. You probably have life insurance and auto insurance, right? For the same reasons, when traveling, you need to have travel insurance coverage. Purchasing a travel insurance policy is one option, but it can be expensive. The good news is that you can avoid it by using your credit card’s travel insurance benefits. Your credit card can help you get the insurance coverage you need if your trip doesn’t go as planned. It may offer benefits such as lost baggage reimbursement, medical emergency coverage, trip cancellation insurance, and travel assistance.

Credit card companies offer many perks to cardholders who travel a lot. Some cards provide basic travel coverage, while others offer unique travel insurance benefits. Since benefits vary significantly by card, you should take some time to compare travel protection and insurance features. Knowing you have the right card in your wallet, you can enjoy peace of mind on your next trip. 

This quick guide will help you learn some useful and practical details about credit card travel insurance. Also, check out the credit card travel insurance offers we have prepared for you. 

What is Credit Card Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is insurance for unexpected and emergency events that occur during your business or family trip. Credit card travel insurance is an extra benefit of credit cards that you can enjoy as a cardholder. Moreover, cardholder’s family members can use some of the card’s travel insurance benefits. 

You can receive coverage if you get sick, or you can obtain reimbursements for delayed flights. You are insured if your luggage gets lost or stolen or if the trip gets canceled due to bad weather. Depending on the issuer, benefits and insurance policy limitations differ.

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance?

If you are taking a trip overseas, you should get travel insurance. Finding an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy shouldn’t be an issue, but if you want to get it for free, look to your credit card coverage. Travel rewards credit cards offer plenty of benefits for free, so why not take advantage of that to cut your trip expenses?

So, that’s one of the reasons why you should get credit card travel insurance: it is free. Besides, accidents and unwanted situations happen all the time. You might sprain your ankle on your trip or lose your bags. Travel insurance can provide coverage for such cases. Without insurance, you will probably face enormous expenses. 

So, even though travel insurance may sound like a tedious task, you will be happy to have it if things don’t go as planned.

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How Much Coverage You Have with Credit Card Travel Insurance 

You might be wondering if credit card travel insurance is enough. The answer isn’t straightforward; it depends on your needs and the card offer. Just because a card includes certain benefits does not mean that it covers all occurrences. Many times, you need to pay for the trip with the card or rewards earned with it to qualify for insurance. Even if you do, you still need to consider the coverage limit amounts, how long it is valid for, and who is covered. Are your children and your spouse covered by travel insurance? Is there a difference when traveling for business purposes vs. personal reasons?

You will know all these crucial details if you read the fine print or contact from the credit card company. Only then you can decide whether credit card travel insurance is enough or if you need to contact an insurance company and purchase additional coverage. 

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Exclusions and Limitations 

It is essential to know that even the best travel insurance credit cards have exclusions and limitations. Before you rely on travel insurance, you need to know that coverage depends on qualifying events, which then limit the amount of coverage. For example, athletes, women in the third trimester of pregnancy, and people with pre-existing medical conditions may not qualify for coverage. Or, if you cancel your business trip because you have to attend some meetings, you won’t receive a trip cancel reimbursement; the reason for the cancellation counts.

Types of Travel Insurance You Can Get from Your Credit Card 

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver 

Rental car insurance is the most common type of travel benefits that credit cards offer. If your rental car gets stolen or damaged, you will be covered. But, to qualify for this type of insurance, you have to pay the entire rental with your card. You’ll also have to decline to pay for coverage that the rental company offers.

However, you should also be aware of restrictions common to these policies. For example, some policies exclude expensive sports cars, full-size vans, and other vehicle types. Also, insurance might exclude certain foreign countries like New Zealand, Italy, Australia, and Jamaica. Chase cardholders don’t have to worry about these exclusions. 

Travel Accident Insurance 

Nobody likes to think about getting injured or dying during trips; but, to protect yourself and your loved ones, consider a card with travel accident insurance. This insurance provides a benefit for death or other serious injuries. The coverage limit varies, though, so do your research. For example, the Ink Business Preferred card offers $500,000, while the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers an astounding $1,000,000.

It is also good to know that there are exclusions for this insurance. It will not cover injuries that result from intoxication or that are self-inflicted. 

Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption Insurance 

This insurance reimburses you for expenses when your trip with a common carrier (airline, railway, bus, etc.) gets canceled or delayed. You’ll also receive coverage if you have to cancel your reservation due to severe weather, illness, or the death of a family member. The insurance also provides coverage if you have to cancel your trip due to military service and jury duty. 

Trip Delay Insurance 

This insurance covers purchases like lodging, meals, toiletries, and medication if something delays or disrupts your trip. It usually activates when the trip is delayed by 6 to 12 hours. 

However, you first need to go to your common carrier for reimbursement before invoking your credit card’s benefits to cover the remaining expenses. That’s because this insurance is usually secondary.

Lost Baggage Insurance 

If your bags go missing, this insurance covers you up to $100 per day for a few days for purchases like clothing or toiletries. But, as with delay insurance, you first need to seek reimbursement from a common carrier before filing a claim with your credit card insurance. Plus, you will have had to charge your travel ticket to your credit card to activate this insurance. 

Baggage Delay Insurance 

If your credit card offers baggage delay insurance, you are entitled to reimbursement for certain expenses, like clothing, medications, and toiletries. You usually get $100 per day for about five days. Typically, you need to file a claim within 20 days after the occurrence.

Roadside Assistance 

Some cards offer roadside assistance and coverage for small car repair services, such as changing a flat tire, getting towed, or receiving a jumpstart. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, for example, offers premium roadside assistance. Other cards, on the other hand, might coordinate help for free, but you usually have to pay for any costs related to the services provided. 

Medical and Dental Insurance 

If you need medical and dental services while traveling overseas, this insurance will reimburse you for such treatments. Not many cards offer this coverage, though, so you’ll want to research a bit to find a card that meets your specific needs. 

Emergency Evacuation and Transportation 

If you need emergency medical transportation to the nearest medical facility or your home because of a severe illness or an injury, this insurance will cover the cost. If you are visiting developing countries or remote areas, it is highly recommended to have this type of insurance. Even though you may have to pay for medical expenses upfront, the insurance company reimburses you after you file a complaint. 

Credit Card Travel Insurance

The Pros of Credit Card Travel Insurance

Collect and Spend Points

Most credit cards that come with travel insurance offer other added benefits, such as rewards points. You earn points when spending money on different purchases. You can then redeem those the points for cash rewards or use them to book a flight, pay for hotel accommodations, or cover other expenses. 

Solid Coverage

Depending on the card, the level of coverage can be better than a travel insurance policy, especially for lost or damaged luggage. 

Travel Anywhere 

You can go anywhere with credit card travel insurance and get the coverage you need. And since it is not localized, you won’t need to buy more coverage for longer trips. Some regions, however, might be excluded. Another advantage is that many cards come with no foreign transaction fees and are accepted worldwide.  

The Cons of Credit Card Travel Insurance 

Annual Fees and Interest Rates 

Usually, only exclusive credit cards include complimentary travel insurance. That means that to enjoy these added perks, you will probably have to pay hefty annual fees. On the bright side, the insurance premiums are often more valuable than fees.

Also, if you carry a balance on your credit card, you will have to pay interest on credit card debt. Therefore, pay your bills on time to save money on interest. 

Higher Excess 

Credit card insurance protection often has higher excesses in comparison to travel insurance policies. When taking out a claim with credit card insurance, you might pay up to $250 extra, while you might pay only $100 with standalone travel insurance. In other words, free travel insurance is not free anymore if you need to make a claim. 

Pre-Existing Conditions 

Many credit card companies do not cover pre-existing medical conditions or allow you to pay extra for an exception. If you have a pre-existing condition, make sure you read the terms and conditions. 

Return Tickets Only 

What does that mean? Well, to be covered, owning the card is not enough. You either must use your card to buy the tickets or buy them with points you earned on that card. Furthermore, you might need to book a return ticket to get coverage, which some travelers might find inconvenient.

In addition to these downsides, some credit card protections do not cover domestic travel, adventure activities, or damaged or delayed luggage.  

Weigh the Good and the Bad 

Before you rely on your credit card’s coverage, make sure you understand what it does and does not include and if there are any restrictions. Weigh the pros and cons and make sure you take the time to read the terms and conditions. You don’t want to be traveling to the other side of the world thinking you are covered when you are not. 

Credit Card Travel Coverage vs. Travel Insurance 

Travel insurance and credit card travel protection is not the same thing. While there are many similarities, they are also many differences between the two. Unfortunately, it might be difficult for many travelers to see distinctions quite clearly.

We have listed some of the most common benefits that credit cards offer. Sometimes those benefits are enough to keep you protected on your trip. Other times, the level and quality of protection provided by credit cards might not be sufficient. In such instances, insurance plans from travel insurance companies might be a better option. 

Travel Insurance 

Travel insurance offers more extensive coverage than credit card protection benefits. Purchasing travel insurance as a supplement to the benefits that go with your credit card is a smart move. If you are traveling internationally or taking an exotic trip with high prepaid costs, you should consider buying a travel insurance policy. Also, it is recommended to purchase add-on insurance for benefits that your card doesn’t cover. It’s worth it to pay a couple of hundreds of dollars if it means saving thousands of dollars for unreimbursed travel expenses. 

Medical and Evacuation Coverage Is Included 

In contrast to the majority of credit cards, travel insurance policies include emergency medical and evacuation reimbursement. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, for example, is one of the rare cards that come with this travel benefit, with up to $100,000. Most travel insurance policies reimburse up to $500,000 for emergency medical transportation expenses. 

You must read the fine print or contact your credit card company to understand how this benefit works. As mentioned earlier, the credit card’s protection might include coordinating and arranging these services, but they may not reimburse for medical expenses.  

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Comprehensive Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance 

If your card doesn’t offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage, an insurance policy could save you thousands of dollars. Even if your card does provide coverage, it probably accepts only a small number of reasons for canceling your trip. Such limited reasons include injury, illness, and the death of a close family member. With travel insurance, you have more options. Travel insurance plans extend coverage to cancellations due to natural disasters, bankruptcy, and terrorism. On top of this, most credit card protections excludes pre-existing conditions, while travel insurance covers them.

For overseas travel, consider purchasing travel insurance plans, because they reimburse trip cancellation costs (100%) and trip interruption costs (150%). 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is one of the best credit cards for travel expenses, particularly for frequent international travelers. 

You can earn three Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining out and generous 50,000 bonus points. Cardholders can also enjoy excellent perks, such as having no foreign transaction fees, getting access to airport lounges, and having several travel protections. These extensive perks and benefits that travelers receive when using the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card justify the annual fee of $450. And there are even more travel protection benefits that you get with this card. 

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Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance 

If your trip is canceled or interrupted, you can get up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses. Covered reasons include inclement weather, illness, or other events. The cardholder and their family members get this coverage even if the cardholder is not traveling with them. 

Baggage Delay Insurance 

Chase Sapphire Reserve provides insurance for baggage delays over 6 hours. They reimburse for clothing, toiletries, and other essential purchases up to $100 a day for up to 5 days. 

Trip Delay Reimbursement 

For common carrier trip delays over 6 hours and an overnight stay, cardholders and their family members receive $500 per travel ticket for expenses such as accommodation and meals. 

Lost Luggage/Damaged Luggage Reimbursement 

This coverage provides reimbursement for costs due to lost or damaged luggage. The coverage for checked or carry-on luggage that is lost or damaged is $3,000 per passenger. Coverage for electronics, jewelry, watches, and cameras is up to $500 per passenger per covered trip. It does not cover lost documents, money, and securities. 

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver 

Primary cardholders and additional authorized drivers can get reimbursement for rental car damage. You receive coverage up to $75,000 due to collision or theft when traveling in the United States or abroad. 

Travel Accident Insurance 

When you are traveling by a common carrier, such as airline, bus, train, or cruise ship, you get accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $1,000,000. To be eligible for this coverage, you need to pay for the trip—or at least a portion of it—with your Chase card. It also works to pay with points earned with the card. 

Roadside Assistance 

Roadside assistance provides coverage in case of a roadside emergency. If your car breaks down and you need gas, a tow, a tire change, or a battery boost, you get coverage up to $50 per incident. You are eligible for four services a year. 

Emergency Medical Evacuation  

If you get sick or injured on your trip and you need emergency evacuation or transportation, you might be covered for medical costs up to $100,000. To be eligible for this insurance, you must be more than 100 miles from home and on a trip that lasts between five and 60 days. In addition to the cardholder, the spouse and children can use this travel insurance benefit. 

Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit 

If you are more than 100 miles from home on a trip and you or our family member get sick, you can get up to $2,500 for medical expenses. 

Credit Card Travel Insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 

One of the best cards for trip cancelation, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers valuable travel insurance benefits and a low annual fee of $95. Suitable for cardholders who travel occasionally, this card earns substantial rewards both at home and on trips. You earn two Ultimate Reward points for every dollar spent on travel purchases, including airline, hotels, and rental cars. Plus, you earn two points on dining. It offers a variety of travel protections. 

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Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance 

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Preferred card offers cancelation insurance and interruption coverage up to $10,000 per covered passenger and $20,000 per occurrence.  

Baggage Delay Insurance 

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you get reimbursement of up to $100 per day for up to 5 days for baggage delays more than 6 hours. However, you need to file a claim within 20 days of the baggage delay. 

Trip Delay Reimbursement 

Trip delay reimbursement is up to $500 per ticket for delayed trips over 12 hours and an overnight stay. The insurance does not cover prepaid expenses. 

Lost Luggage/Damaged Luggage Reimbursement 

If your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen, you are eligible for reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger. That also applies to your immediate family members.  

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver 

Unlike the Chase Reserve card that offers coverage up to $75,000, the Chase Preferred card provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the rental car. The coverage includes collision damage and theft. 

Travel Accident Insurance 

Accidental death or dismemberment coverage is up to $500,000 if you use your card to cover the costs of airplane tickets (same for bus, train, and cruise). Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance provides coverage of up to $500,000. Travel Accident Insurance available 24 hours, reimburses costs up to $100,000.

Note: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card does not offer Emergency Medical Evacuation or Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit. 

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card from Chase is a business card with several valuable travel protections. In terms of rewards, this card offers a better deal than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. You earn three points per dollar spent on travel and other business-related categories. This card also provides other travel insurance benefits. 

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Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance 

Cardholders receive reimbursement for canceled and interrupted trips. The cancelation and interruption coverage is up to $5,000 per trip for travel expenses that are non-refundable and prepaid. 

Baggage Delay Insurance 

Much like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserved cards, the Ink Business Preferred card covers baggage delays. The card reimburses for costs of one cell phone charging cable, clothing, and toiletries for baggage delays over 6 hours ($100 a day). 

Trip Delay Reimbursement 

For flight delays over 12 hours, you receive up to $500 per ticket. Reimbursement applies to an overnight stay, as well. 

Lost Luggage/Damaged Luggage Reimbursement 

You are covered up to $3,000 per passenger with the Ink Business Preferred card if you check luggage that becomes damaged or lost. 

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver 

Just like the Chase Preferred card, this card also offers reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the rental car. Coverage is primary when you rent a vehicle for business reasons and secondary when renting for personal purposes. 

Travel Accident Insurance 

With Ink Business Preferred Accidental, accidental death or dismemberment coverage is up to $500,000. 

Note: Ink Business Preferred cardholders do not have Emergency Medical Evacuation or Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit. 

The American Express Platinum Card 

The Platinum Card by American Express is one of the best travel cards on the market. In addition to elite status and access to airport lounge benefits, you earn five points for every dollar you spend on airfare and hotel stays. Its $550 annual fee is definitely worth all the perks and membership experiences you get with this card. However, the Platinum Card offers a limited number of travel protection benefits. On the other hand, it does provide medical emergency insurance. 

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Emergency Medical Evacuation 

Platinum Travel Assistance coordinates evacuation in case of a medical emergency while traveling. Coverage for medical transportation is up to $100,000 per trip and up to $20,000 for medical services. Pre-existing medical conditions are excluded. The benefit is active only if you coordinate it through American Express. 

Lost Luggage and Damaged Luggage Reimbursement 

The Platinum Card provides coverage up to $3,000 per passenger for lost or damaged luggage. Coverage for jewelry and electronics is only up to $1,000 per traveler. To qualify for coverage, you must pay for your fare with the card or rewards collected with the card. 

Travel Accident Insurance 

American Express Platinum cardholders who travel on any common carrier can receive up to $500,000 per person in travel accident insurance. 

The American Express Platinum Card does not offer the following insurance options:

  • Trip Interruption Trip Cancellation Insurance

Baggage Delay Insurance

  • Reimbursement for Trip Delay
  • Damage Waiver for Auto Rental Collision
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Medical and Dental Emergency Benefits 

Other Credit Cards to Consider for Travel Insurance and Protection

Chase Freedom Visa Signature Card 

If you don’t want to pay an annual fee but still enjoy travel insurance benefits, you should consider the Chase Freedom Visa Signature card. Some of the benefits include the following:

  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance – you can be reimbursed for up to $5,000 per trip (only with the Visa Signature version of the Chase Freedom card)
  • Up to $250,000 for accidental death or dismemberment for all common carriers – Travel accident insurance
  • Lost luggage insurance – up to $3,000 reimbursement per traveler
  • Waiver for auto rental collision damage
  • Additional Charge – Roadside assistance

The Chase Freedom has a 3% foreign transaction fee. Although it offers fewer insurance benefits than some of the other cards that we mentioned, it is a reliable card considering its $0 annual fee. 

USAA Rewards American Express Card 

Military members who travel overseas a lot might find the USAA Rewards American Express Card valuable in terms of travel benefits and other awards and perks. There are no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee. Plus, you earn 3X points per $1 spent on restaurants and 2X per dollar on gas and groceries. To qualify for the card and all travel benefits, you must join USAA. These benefits include the following:

  • Up to $500,000 for accidental death or dismemberment – Travel accident insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance – reimbursement up to $100 per day for five days
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance – up to $1,500
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Emergency assistance 

Now that you have learned more about credit card travel insurance, do you think it is sufficient when traveling overseas? Do these benefits make you reconsider which credit card to use to protect yourself when traveling?

Which credit card do you use when you purchase your travel package? Does it come with credit card travel coverage? Let us know in the comment section.


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