Does My Credit Card Come With Travel Insurance?
The days and weeks leading up to a trip can be full of excitement, with travelers looking forward to new adventures and experiences. But the reality is, regardless of the amount of preparation in place, trips often don’t go exactly as planned, due to flight cancellations, airport delays, lost luggage, medical emergencies, or other common travel disruptions.
Having protection against the unexpected is why many savvy travelers make sure they are covered by travel insurance before departing for their trips. While travel insurance can be purchased through airlines and third-party sites like Squaremouth.com, travelers may not know that they already have some form of travel protection built into their credit card.
Squaremouth dives into the world of credit card travel insurance, to explain what it covers and if it offers enough coverage for your upcoming journey.
Understanding Credit Card Travel Insurance
These days, many credit cards offer their customers some form of travel insurance, or “travel protection” as it’s commonly referred to by credit card companies. This protection is offered as an added benefit to cardholders, but is often limited to bookings made using the credit card. In addition, travel credit card insurance often offers lower coverage limits and fewer inclusions than most standard travel insurance policies.
Key Coverage Inclusions
When it comes to travel insurance, most credit cards come with basic coverage and offer similar benefits to one another. Some cards will provide more elaborate travel benefits to cardholders, but these cards typically come with high annual fees. When comparing card travel insurance, it’s important to keep an eye out for coverage in the following areas:
- Cancellations: Trip Cancellation coverage is one of the main reasons travelers buy travel insurance. Many popular travel credit cards include this coverage as part of their package of perks, covering canceled trips for reasons such as illness, injury, death, inclement weather, or terrorism. Credit card trip cancellation insurance will typically cover anywhere between $1,500 and $10,000, depending on the card.
- Delays: If a card offers travel protection, it will usually include coverage for delays. In this case, travelers can be reimbursed for meals and hotel accommodations during a delay. This Travel Delay coverage will vary by credit card, but is often between $100 and $1,000 per traveler.
- Lost Luggage: Most travel credit cards will also offer coverage for lost or damaged luggage, typically reimbursing cardholders up to $3,000. However, this coverage is usually limited to common carriers, and does not provide reimbursement for luggage lost, damaged, or stolen during the trip itself.
- Medical Emergencies: Another popular reason for wanting travel insurance is for medical coverage while traveling abroad. Both Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits can provide coverage in the event a traveler becomes ill or injured while on their trip. However, a very small percentage of credit cards offer any form of medical protection to their cardholders. Those that do offer medical coverage typically reimburse up to $2,500. In comparison, travel insurance benefits offer significantly more medical protection, with some policies offering more than $1,000,000 in coverage.
Credit Cards With Travel Insurance
Travel protection has become a popular differentiating factor for many credit cards, especially with the rise in travel concerns sparked by Covid-19. Most cards that offer travel insurance will require cardholders to pay an annual fee.
Below is a list of popular credit cards that offer travel protection:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- United Club℠ Infinite Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card
Credit Card Travel Protection vs. Travel Insurance
If you currently have travel protection from your credit card, you may not need additional coverage from a travel insurance policy. However, if you’re insuring an expensive or adventurous trip, a comprehensive travel insurance policy is still something to consider. Below we compare the differences between the two types.
For credit card holders, the cost of built-in travel protection is already included in the card’s annual fee. This often ranges from $95 to $450 per year, depending on the card.
Typically, a comprehensive travel insurance policy, with coverage for cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, and luggage, will cost between 5% and 10% of your total trip cost. In 2022, the average comprehensive policy cost travelers $312.
While using your card’s travel protection benefit may be less expensive than purchasing a third party travel insurance policy, it’s not always the best option. Credit card travel protection is a good choice for travelers looking for basic coverage for cancellations, delays, lost luggage, and other unexpected travel disruptions.
However, credit cards offer limited medical coverage, if any at all. For travelers looking for insurance that covers medical treatment abroad, it’s best to look at other options outside of your credit card.
Keep in mind that travelers are able to stack a third party travel insurance policy on top of their existing credit card travel protection for added coverage. In any event, assessing your needs and comparing travel insurance plans before your trip is the best way to guarantee you get the best policy at the best price.
When it comes to travel insurance, the more options there are, the better chance you have at finding a policy that meets your needs. While credit cards may offer travel protection, they don’t always offer more than one option. Luckily for travelers, shopping around for a policy is easier than ever before.
Outside of credit card travel protection, there are hundreds of other policies that offer varying degrees of coverage for travelers. For example, travelers concerned with getting injured during their trip can find policies that offer much higher medical coverage than even the best credit cards can offer. Other policies may also cover specific activities like scuba diving and hang gliding that may be excluded from most credit card protection plans.