Credit Card Travel Insurance: Who and What’s Covered

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Life happens, and it can happen at the most inconvenient times — like while you’re traveling. In these instances, credit card travel insurance could save you thousands of dollars and give you peace of mind throughout your travels.

Here is an overview of what is provided by different card issuers and the different types of coverages. Before you travel, be sure to familiarize yourself with the exact terms of these benefits.

What kind of credit card travel insurance do issuers offer?

Consumers can expect the terms of their credit card travel insurance to vary from issuer to issuer, as well as card to card. In our table summaries, we highlighted credit cards that provide outstanding travel insurance benefits. If you don't see your card listed anywhere under its respective issuer, the card may have limited or no travel insurance coverages.

Chase travel insurance

There are several Chase credit cards that have travel insurance. While most plans we’ve seen limit benefits and payouts to just your spouse and children, Chase has some of the most inclusive definitions of “immediate family member.” This group includes: spouses and domestic partners; children, including adopted children or step-children; siblings and siblings-in-law; parents and parents-in-law; grandparents and grandchildren; aunts and uncles; nieces and nephews, as well as legal guardians or wards.

Standout Card: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, one of the best travel credit cards, comes with top-notch credit card travel insurance benefits. It’s one of the handful of cards in the industry to cover all three major insurance groups — travel accident, trip interruption and luggage. It also includes emergency medical and dental insurance, along with emergency evacuation and transportation. These benefits can be immensely helpful in the case of an emergency or illness from a mass outbreak like the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Not only does it provide users with expansive coverage, the maximum payouts in the respective categories are higher than most. For trip cancellation insurance, for example, users are covered up to $10,000 dollars per person and $20,000 per trip.

CardRental car insuranceLuggage ProtectionsTrip Interruption Insurance
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Primary
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardPrimary
Chase Freedom®Secondary
New! United Club℠ Infinite CardPrimary
United℠ Explorer CardPrimary
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardSecondary
The World Of Hyatt Credit CardSecondary
*Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit CardPrimary
*Disney Premier Visa® Credit CardNone

American Express travel insurance

Recently, American Express has felt the pressure from other issuers to build trip cancellation protection into its benefits. As of Jan. 1, 2020, American Express added credit card travel insurance to several of their products, including The Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and the Centurion® Card from American Express.

These products all have large annual fees, which may discourage some from applying. Still, given that credit card travel insurance could save you thousands of dollars on even one travel mishap, the cards’ annual fees could be worth it.

CardRental car insuranceLuggage ProtectionsTrip Interruption Insurance
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressSecondary
American Express® Gold CardSecondary

American Express® Green Card

*The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
*The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American ExpressSecondary
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressSecondary

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
*Blue from American Express®Secondary
Hilton Honors American Express CardSecondary
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® CardSecondary
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express CardSecondary
Delta SkyMiles® Gold CardSecondary
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum CardSecondary
*Centurion® Card from American ExpressPrimary

Capital One travel insurance

Capital One provides basic travel accident insurance on all credit cards they issue. It doesn’t offer coverage for trip interruptions, so if your flight is canceled or you have an emergency that causes you to miss a flight, Capital One will not reimburse you for your trouble. Before you pay for your next trip with a Capital One credit card, be sure to consider other travel insurance options.

CardRental car insuranceLuggage ProtectionsTrip Interruption Insurance
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit CardSecondaryNoneNone
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardSecondaryNoneNone
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit CardSecondaryNoneNone
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®SecondaryNoneNone
Capital One® Platinum Credit CardSecondaryNoneNone
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®SecondaryNoneNone

Citi travel insurance

In September 2019, Citi removed nearly all of its travel protections from all of its credit card products. This was an especially big disappointment for cardholders of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, an outstanding cash back credit card. Unfortunately, it lost some value as the travel coverages were stripped away.

Different types of credit card travel insurance explained

As seen above, there are several different types of credit card travel insurance. While the types of protections can vary a lot with each card, there are some elements that remain constant throughout.

Here are some of the most common protections:

Travel accident insurance

Travel accident insurance typically covers individuals in the event of death, or dismemberment during the course of common carrier travel — that is, a vehicle that is licensed to transport any public passenger who pays a fare or buys a ticket, and is available on a regular schedule (planes, trains, ferries and cruise ships, for example). This coverage works similarly to a life insurance policy.

For example, if you were to suffer loss of life, a claims adjustor would determine your expected future earnings and pay out the amount to your beneficiary, up to the maximum limit. Typically, the coverage is only extended to the cardholder and their immediate family, though how immediate family is defined will vary from issuer to issuer.

The amount of money this benefit can pay out will typically vary between $100,000 and $500,000. However, the list of exclusions on travel accident insurance is hefty. Most credit cards will not provide any payout in the event of physical illness; disease; pregnancy, childbirth or miscarriage; bacterial or viral infection; bodily malfunctions or medical or surgical treatment or diagnosis.

Baggage loss/delay insurance

If your credit card provides lost luggage insurance, you will be covered up to a certain amount of money for the loss or damage sustained to carry-on or checked baggage. This benefit is typically limited at a few thousand dollars per person, per trip. In certain cases, separate limits are placed on special items, such as jewelry.

For example, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, cardmembers may receive up to $500 per insured person per trip on jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders and other electronic equipment. The payout for this benefit will be equal to the replacement value of the items lost or damaged, up to the maximum payout amount. That means, if the covered items you lost were valued at $300 and your maximum payout amount is $500, you will receive just $300. If you lost $700 worth of items in that same scenario, you would be eligible to receive just $500.

In certain cases, your card may also cover damages that result from your bags being delayed — though only for items deemed vitally important. Items such as a toothbrush, laptop or even contacts are often not included in this.

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

The rarest type of travel insurance provided by credit cards protects individuals against damages resulting from trip cancellation or interruption. This coverage includes flight insurance — for example, if your flight is canceled by the carrier as a result of inclement weather, or if you miss a non-refundable flight due to a covered reason, you may be eligible to receive money back through your credit card travel insurance policy.

This coverage will commonly only pay out for the cost of the flight you miss. Any damages that result from the interruption, such as losing a night at a hotel, will not be covered in most cases. Some premium credit cards offer coverage for this type of loss, though limits are usually set pretty low.

Rental car insurance

Most credit cards advertise this benefit as an “auto rental collision damage waiver.” In most cases, the coverage is secondary, meaning it only covers what isn’t covered by other policies, including your personal car insurance. However, the policy may have primary coverage if traveling outside of the United States. The policy is only active if you decline the rental car insurance offered by the rental car agency.

Keep in mind there are several credit cards with primary car insurance, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. With primary car rental coverage, when you need to file a claim, you do not need to involve your personal car insurance carrier whatsoever.

Emergency evacuation and transportation

If you or a your family members become sick or injured during your trip and require an emergency evacuation, you can be covered for those services. Coverage includes transportation, medical services and medical supplies. Each policy has specific terms to meet before a claim can be filed, so be sure to read the fine print.

Emergency medical and dental benefit

With this benefit, you can be reimbursed for up to a specified amount of medical expenses if you or your immediate family members become sick or injured while traveling. Coverage includes ambulance services, drugs, medicine and therapeutic services.

Credit card travel insurance and the coronavirus

In late 2019, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) began making news as a global outbreak of the virus began to spread. Originating in China, the virus spread quickly, leaving thousands dead and travelers scrambling for options as airlines began canceling flights.

At the time of publishing, carriers such as Delta, United and British Airways have canceled flights from the United States to China and other destinations, leaving travelers with the burden of finding alternative travel options and non refundable expenses.

Will credit card travel insurance cover the coronavirus?

With any travel hiccup, it is important to understand the terms of credit card coverages. In the case of the coronavirus, each policy will have unique language regarding outbreaks and illnesses. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express mentions the following covered losses in its terms and conditions:

  • Reimbursement of a nonrefundable amount paid to a travel supplier in case of “accidental bodily injury or loss of life or sickness” of the cardholder or any eligible traveling companions.
  • Quarantine imposed by a physician for health reasons.

In other words, if you or your qualifying travel companions become sick or quarantined because of the coronavirus, you may be covered under the card’s policy. On the other hand, the terms don't explicitly mention anything regarding epidemics or pandemics, so you may be out of luck if you want to cancel your travels simply because you want to avoid the coronavirus.

In addition, trip interruptions are beginning to occur due to the coronavirus. For example, Delta announced they are cutting international and domestic routes by 25% and 15%, respectively. Also, cruises are routinely quarantined in the case there is an outbreak on the boat. If your travels are interrupted or canceled in these cases, The Platinum Card® from American Express may reimburse you for non-refundable prepaid land, air and sea transportation arrangements.

Coverage like emergency medical and evacuation coverage may also be useful in case you become sick while traveling. If you are traveling during the coronavirus outbreak, it may be a good precautionary step to apply for a credit card that offers these policies, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

If you are unsure about the terms of your credit card travel insurance policy, it is best to call your credit card company to clarify.

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The information related to these cards have been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).