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Credit Card Travel Insurance: Who and What’s Covered

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Knowing whether your credit card provides you with travel insurance coverage can potentially save thousands of dollars. In the unfortunate event that an accident occurs, you should double check if you're covered before paying. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the exact terms of these benefits. Here we'll provide users with an overview of what is provided by different card issuers and an overview of the coverage. We urge consumers to read through their specific cardmember terms; these are always subject to change.

What Kind of Credit Card Travel Insurance Do Issuers Offer?

Consumers can expect the terms of their credit card travel insurance to vary both issuer-to-issuer, as well as card-to-card. In our table summaries, we excluded any credit cards that don't provide any travel insurance benefits at all. If you don't see your card listed anywhere under its respective issuer, chances are you aren't covered.

Chase Travel Insurance

Out of the Chase credit cards we surveyed, we found 8 to come with travel protections. 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 your spouse or domestic partner and their children, including adopted children or step-children; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews. Note that benefits for each card also depend on the network. For example, the Chase Freedom® Visa Signature card comes with several travel insurance benefits, but the plain Visa version does not.

Standout Card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, one of the best travel credit cards, comes with top-notch travel insurance benefits. It’s one of the handful of cards in the industry to cover all three major insurance groups – travel accident, luggage, and trip interruptions. 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.

Citi Travel Insurance

Citicards offer one of the biggest selections of cards with travel insurance benefits. Almost all of their cards come with travel accident insurance, and trip interruption insurance. For most of these cards, the benefits are provided through the Mastercard network, meaning the type of protection you get is less likely to depend on the card's annual fee as we've seen with other issuers.

Best Citi Card For Travel Insurance: At $450 per year, the Citi Prestige® Card is one of the most expensive Citi cards, but also provides some of the best travel insurance benefits. Most notably, this card provides coverage for medical evacuations – a benefit most other credit cards don’t offer. If you become seriously ill or are involved in an accident, emergency services can leave you with a tremendous bill – especially if you’re outside the United States. This benefit will cover you up to $100,000 for these types of costs.

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

American Express Travel Insurance

Despite their prestigious reputation, Amex credit cards are some of the least generous in terms of travel insurance perks. Other than The Platinum Card® from American Express and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, none of the other American Express-issued credit cards offer travelers trip cancellation insurance, and Amex recently cut travel accident insurance for all of its cards.

Standout Card: The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express offer trip delay and trip cancellation coverage. Of the remaining cards by the issuer to offer just trip delay insurance, those cards are American Express® Gold Card, American Express® Green Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.

Capital One Travel Insurance

Capital One provides boilerplate travel accident insurance on all credit cards they issue. If you happen to have a Capital One card running on the Visa Signature network, however, you will also receive access to lost luggage protections as well. Unfortunately, like with Amex, these credit cards will not provide users with trip cancellation insurance. Therefore, if your flight is cancelled by the carrier or you suffer from some sort of emergency that will cause you to miss a flight, Capital One will not reimburse you for your trouble.

Standout Cards: Capital One Visa Signature Cards. If you have one of these credit cards, your benefits are as good as they can get with Capital One.

Different Types of Credit Card Travel Insurance Explained

As seen above, the three main categories of coverage are general travel/flight insurance, lost luggage insurance, and trip cancellation/delay insurance. The extent of protections these benefits will provide can vary greatly, but there are some elements that remain constant throughout.

Travel Accident Insurance

Travel accident insurance through credit cards 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 (e.g. planes, trains, ferries, and cruise ships). 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. 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 thereof.

Baggage 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 in baggage. The limits on this benefit are typically capped 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 the $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 Insurance

The rarest type of travel insurance provided by credit cards protects individuals against damages resulting from trip cancellation or interruption. If your flight is cancelled 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 card company. This coverage will commonly only payout for the cost of the flight you miss. Any damages that result from the interruption, such as losing a night at hotel, will not be covered in most cases. Some premium credit cards do offer limited covered for this type of loss, though limits are usually set pretty low.

Comments and Questions

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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).