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Credit card coverage for travel insurance?

I posted this question on an existing thread but it is buried in the Trip Reports forum and few will see it. I am re-posting as a new topic because I believe it is important for people to understand what is and is not covered by their credit cards.

For those who rely on credit cards for travel insurance protection, can you describe what is covered? I reviewed my American Express card terms and conditions and saw the following travel benefits:

---Roadside assistance
---Rental car coverage ( loss or damage, not liability)
---Assistance by phone with legal or medical issues, such as finding care, but no payment for medical care
---Accidental death or dismemberment benefit: the kind that pays specified amounts for death, or loss of a limb or eye. You have seen the gruesome charts, showing, for example, $100,000 for accidental death, $50,000 for loss of one hand and one foot, $25,000 for loss of an eye, and so on. This is not coverage for medical care but indemnity for a loss. To have this coverage, one must pay the full cost of travel by “common carrier” ( such as airline) with the card, so travel on frequent flyer miles is not covered.

For my American Express card (and other AmEx cards I checked), that is it. There is no trip cancellation coverage, no medical coverage, no evacuation coverage. These three to me are the really important aspects of trip insurance, so I would not rely on my AmEx card for anything but the rental car coverage.

So my question is, are there credit cards that do include these types of coverage as well? How does it work?

Posted by
6877 posts

Yes, some credit cards do cover trip cancellation coverage. WalletHub study (see link below) estimates that "32% of cards offer trip cancellation insurance, providing an average of $3.2K in coverage." I doubt evacuation or medical would be covered under any credit card because "medical" seems like a distinct market area that credit cards have ceded to more traditional insurers like Travel Guard, etc. I think there would be a huge fight (between cc's and insurers) if credit cards started offering this stuff and skimming business from the insurers, who are better situated to manage these types of risks (through their actuarial data, etc.). I look forward to hearing from others on this, but that's my impression.

I hope this helps a bit, it's a good comparison chart:
Chase Sapphire Preferred looks really solid as far as travel-related coverage goes.

Posted by
3493 posts

Yes, there are some with more coverage.

The United Airlines Club card from Chase includes the following travel coverages when you use the card to pay for all of the trip:

  • Baggage Delay Insurance: If your bag is delayed more than 6 hours you get $100 a day
  • Lost Baggage coverage: Up to $3000 per ticketed passenger
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption: Up to $10,000 for non refundable travel expenses
  • Trip Delay coverage: Up to $500 for meals and lodging
  • Various travel benefits normally only available to higher level frequent flyers on United (upgrades, fast lane for airport security, and so on)

Does not have AD&D coverage or legal assistance coverage. Also no coverage for medical costs.

Posted by
2526 posts

Supplementing my earlier post on a different thread. See the Citibank/Costco credit card and read the fine print at “Your Guide to Protection and Benefits” starting at page 10. Included at no additional cost is interruption or cancellation coverage. For pet owners, see the coverage on page 14. You must use the card for at least a portion of your trip. If just used for some but not all of your trip, then the reimbursement extends only that amount not to exceed $3K per “covered traveler.” Each "covered traveler" (family and companions...extensive definitions) has up to $3K of protection. Reimbursement includes "unused transportation tickets or forfeited deposits" (minus refunds), change fees (e.g. airlines), nonrefundable hotel and tour expenses, etc. Rental car coverage extends to 31 days and up to $50K, but excludes personal injury/liability, third party personal property, damage to other vehicles/property and injury to anyone. Accident insurance with a maximum amount of $250K/person is rolled in as well. Cancelling a trip for any reason is not included. There’s also a travel concierge service for emergencies. This no annual fee credit card, but requiring a paid membership at Costco, does have a 3% foreign transaction fee. It may be offset by a "3% cashback on restaurant and eligible travel purchases worldwide." I've tried without success to learn in advance whether a purchase that is fully travel related falls into the stated rebate language.

Posted by
5697 posts

Chase Sapphire Reserve, at $450 per year (less $300 per year reimbursement of travel expenses) provides all benefits of the older Chase Sapphire Preferred PLUS medical evacuation costs up to, I believe, $50,000. (Both have no foreign transaction fees.)
Also on auto rental insurance, it's important to know whether the credit card insurance is primary or secondary -- if the benefits statement doesn't say "primary" it's probably secondary, which is a little more complicated to use.

Posted by
2575 posts

This is a good article: My take aways: only 15% of credit cards have an insurance benefit. Chase cards seem to have better coverage. But, the closing caveat from this article: Whichever credit card you use to pay for a flight, remember its travel insurance shouldn’t be a replacement for more comprehensive coverage you can buy yourself from a travel agent or travel insurance company. Read the fine print of your credit card’s travel coverage and make sure any exclusions are covered by your own policy.

I have had to use travel insurance for cancellation twice with great results. Then last summer my daughter was injured on our tour and the travel insurance company had a nurse call to help us navigate. I don't think a credit card customer service agent would have done as well. I'm OK with using credit card coverage for rental car damage, lost luggage, flight delays-those non critical things that can go bump in the night. But when it comes to medical coverage, evacuation, reimbursement for trip cancellation and so on, I would not travel without a comprehensive travel insurance policy. To those who say they've never had it and never needed it I say, lucky you.

Posted by
13211 posts

Thank you. I wrote more above, but am having trouble with my iPad. It seems that everything I write after a dash disappears when I post. (Has anyone else seen this happen with a new iPad Pro?).

This is great information. I really don’t need another credit card as we get miles with the ones I have. But I might take a look at the Costco one.

Posted by
362 posts

I can second the recommendation on the Citi Card. I don't have one through Costco but through American Airlines. I read the trip coverage section, and it is great compared to what's available through my AmEx card, provided you book all parts of your trip using the Citi Card.