The 4 Best Credit Cards with Travel Insurance: What Do They Cover?

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The 4 Best Credit Cards with Travel Insurance: What Do They Cover?

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When it comes to travel insurance, not all policies are created equal. But in many cases, you might not need to buy a separate policy at all: You can get it built in when you book travel with certain top credit cards.

From rental cars to delayed flights to lost luggage, some of the biggest names in travel rewards cards offer outstanding insurance protection in different categories just by paying with one of those cards. It's a more cost-effective option than a standalone policy that should cover most of what you need.

But it can be confusing, as just what you get with each card varies. So we're breaking down the absolute best credit cards for travel insurance coverage and letting you know exactly what they cover.

From trip delay and cancelation coverage to medical evacuation and travel accident coverage and everything in between, here is what you need to know.

 

Is Credit Card Travel Insurance Worth It?

It depends on what you need.

In almost every case, the built-in travel insurance coverage from top travel rewards cards is far superior to the add-on policies you can buy from airlines or rental car companies. It should be more than sufficient for many trips. That said, it's not as comprehensive as some big, standalone travel insurance policies that you buy separately.

At the end of the day, travelers need to read the fine print and make sure they fully understand what they're getting … and what you're not, then take your own personal situation into account.

For example, if you have any medical conditions that could require a trip to the doctor or hospital abroad, you'll want to make sure your medical insurance policy would cover that. If not, adding a policy for travel medical coverage might be a smart idea.

That means the first stop is surveying what's in your wallet and what types of situations it may cover. If necessary, you can go on from there to add on any additional policies you may need to fit your travels.

But remember: For any credit card travel insurance protection policies to kick in, you must have booked your trip with that credit card – or used some points and miles from it, plus charging the taxes and fees. In most situations, that's all you need … but some credit cards have some restrictions on what kind of trips you need to book in order to qualify for coverage that you'll want to keep in mind.

 

credit card travel insurance chase sapphire cards

 

Does My Credit Card Have Travel Insurance?

Does your credit card have an annual fee? If not, you likely won't have travel insurance protection. Credit card travel insurance is mostly reserved for cards that have an annual fee, and generally speaking, the higher the fee, the better protection you are going to get.

But that's not always the case. If you want to know if your card provides any coverage, it might be a good idea to call the number on the back of your card and ask a customer service representative what, if anything is covered.

That said, there are a few travel rewards credit cards that stand out above the pack. Here are the best options.

 

The Best Credit Cards with Travel Insurance

 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

When it comes to the best credit cards offering travel insurance protection, you won't find a cheaper option than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

There are certainly cards that will offer a higher level of protection in some categories … but that doesn't come cheap. So with an annual fee of only $95 on the Preferred Card, you really can't beat the coverage that it provides at this price point. It's a big reason why we feel it's one of the best credit cards for travel rewards beginners.

Here is exactly what you'll get in terms of travel insurance protection with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

 

chase sapphire preferred card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

 

Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver

By booking your rental car with your Sapphire Preferred Card, you can decline the rental car agency's collision damage waiver (CDW) and receive primary car rental insurance coverage for damage or theft. And by declining the coverage offered by the rental agency, you can save yourself quite a bit of money while getting high-quality coverage.

Generally speaking, you'll be covered for any physical damage or theft, up to the cash value of the vehicle. However, Chase does exclude “high-value motor vehicles” and exotic cars. Chase explicitly states that the following car brands are excluded from the coverage offered on the Sapphire Preferred:

“Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla”

While most of these brands are typically not going to be available on a standard rental lot, the exclusion for Tesla is interesting and something to be aware of if you are looking to rent one with your Sapphire Preferred Card.

Read more: All About the Chase Sapphire Preferred Rental Car Insurance Benefit

 

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

This includes passenger airfare, tours, and hotels booked with your Sapphire Preferred Card. There is a maximum benefit amount of $40,000 over a 12-month period.

Chase lists the following examples as situations that would be covered while noting it isn't an exhaustive list:

  • Accidental bodily injury, loss of life, or sickness experienced by the cardholder, a traveling companion, an immediate family member of the cardholder, or a traveling companion.
  • Severe weather that prevents the start or continuation of a covered trip.
  • Terrorist action or hijacking.
  • Jury duty or a court subpoena that cannot be postponed or waived.

You would not be covered for the following situations:

  • Travel arrangements canceled or changed by a common carrier, tour operator, or any travel agency unless the cancellation is the result of severe weather or an organized strike affecting public transportation
  • Change in plans or financial circumstances
  • A pre-existing condition
  • Traveling against the advice of a physician
  • A declared or undeclared war
  • Trips that exceed 60 days in duration are not covered
  • Financial insolvency of the cardholder’s travel agency, tour operator, or travel supplier

 

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If you book a trip with your Sapphire Preferred Card and your common carrier (airline, bus, cruise ship, or train) is delayed for a covered reason for 12 hours or more, or overnight, you can receive reimbursement for expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, and medication up to $500 per ticket per trip.

This coverage is only applicable for a trip away from the cardholder's city of residence – and only on trips under 365 days.

 

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered for up to $3,000 per passenger.

 

Baggage Delay Coverage

If your baggage is delayed six or more hours at your final destination, you can receive reimbursement of up to $100 per day for five days for incidental purchases like clothes, toiletries, electronic charges, and more.

 

Travel Accident Insurance

When you pay for your airfare, bus, train, or cruise transportation with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000, and up to $100,000 for 24-hour travel accident insurance.

 

Roadside Dispatch

If you have a roadside emergency, you can call Chase at 1-800-847-2869 anytime for a tow or jumpstart to a tire change, lockout service, winching, or gas delivery. Roadside service fees are pre-negotiated by Chase and will be provided to you when you call.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The coverage offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is even harder to beat.

That said, the card has an annual fee of $550 each year … though you can greatly offset that with benefits like a $300 annual travel credit, lounge access, and more. But if it's travel insurance protection you're after, you may be better served by the cheaper Sapphire Preferred.

Here's a look at everything the Sapphire Reserve offers.

 

Sapphire Reserve

 

Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

 

Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver

By booking your rental car with your Sapphire Reserve, you can decline the rental car agency's collision damage waiver (CDW) and receive primary car rental insurance coverage for damage or theft. By declining the coverage offered by the rental agency, you can save yourself quite a bit of money.

Generally speaking, you'll be covered for any physical damage or theft, up to the cash value of the vehicle. Chase caps this amount at $75,000.

Because of this cap, Chase does not exclude “high-value motor vehicles” and exotic cars from coverage on the Sapphire Reserve as it does on the Sapphire Preferred.

Read More: All About the Chase Sapphire Preferred Rental Car Insurance Benefit

 

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

The coverage in this category matches what the Sapphire Preferred Card offers – to a T.

If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather, or other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.

This includes passenger airfare, tours, and hotels booked with your Sapphire Reserve Card. There is a maximum benefit amount of $40,000 for a twelve-month period.

Chase lists the following examples as situations that would be covered, but notes that it isn't an exhaustive list:

  • Accidental bodily injury, loss of life, or sickness experienced by the cardholder, a traveling companion, an immediate family member of the cardholder, or a traveling companion.
  • Severe weather that prevents the start or continuation of a covered trip.
  • Terrorist action or hijacking.
  • Jury duty or a court subpoena that cannot be postponed or waived.

You would not be covered for the following situations:

  • Travel arrangements canceled or changed by a common carrier, tour operator, or any travel agency unless the cancellation is the result of severe weather or an organized strike affecting public transportation
  • Change in plans or financial circumstances
  • A pre-existing condition
  • Traveling against the advice of a physician
  • A declared or undeclared war
  • Trips that exceed 60 days in duration are not covered
  • Financial insolvency of the cardholder’s travel agency, tour operator, or travel supplier

 

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If you book a trip with your Sapphire Reserve Card and your common carrier (airline, bus, cruise ship, or train) is delayed for a covered reason for six hours or more, or overnight, you can receive reimbursement for expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, and medication up to $500 per ticket per trip.

That's half the amount of time as the Sapphire Preferred's 12-hour requirement.

Still, this coverage is only applicable for a trip away from the cardholder's city of residence and it has to be less than 365 days long.

 

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

 

Baggage Delay Coverage

If your baggage is delayed six or more hours at your final destination, you can receive reimbursement of up to $100 per day for five days for incidental purchases like clothes, toiletries, electronic charges, and more. That's identical to the Sapphire Preferred Card.

 

Travel Accident Insurance

When you pay for your airfare, bus, train, or cruise transportation with your Sapphire Preferred card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $1 million.

 

Emergency Medical & Dental Benefit

Cardholders and eligible family members can receive up to $2,500 for emergency dental or medical treatment should anything happen when traveling 100 miles or more from home.

 

Roadside Dispatch

If you have a roadside emergency, you can receive up to four free $50 service calls each year for vehicle breakdowns, tows, tire changes, lockout service and more. Simply call Chase at 1-800-847-2869 to start a claim.

 

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has quickly built a reputation as one of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market since its launch last November. And for good reason.

With an annual fee of just $395, it is drastically cheaper than its primary competitors, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® which has an annual fee of $550, and the Platinum Card® from American Express which has an annual fee of $695 (see rates & fees). And while it might get buried underneath the allure of big points bonuses and travel perks like lounge access, the Venture X travel insurance coverage you get with your card is sneaky-good and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Here's a look at everything the Venture X Card offers.

Read more: Travel Insurance Protections Provided by the Capital One Venture X Card

 

capital one venture x

 

Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

 

Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Like other cards on this list, by booking your rental car with your Capital One Venture X Card – or the miles you earn with the card, you can decline the rental car agency's collision damage waiver (CDW) and receive primary car rental insurance coverage for damage or theft. By declining the coverage offered by the rental agency, you can save yourself quite a bit of money.

Generally, you'll be covered for any physical damage or theft, up to the cash value of the vehicle. Capital One does not reference a cap on this coverage similar to the $75,000 cap Chase puts in place on rentals for Sapphire Reserve cardholders.

Because of that, there shouldn't be any exclusions for high value vehicles or for certain brands.

Read More: All About the Capital One Venture X Rental Car Insurance Benefits

 

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

If something goes seriously wrong on your trip like an accident, illness, or death that forces you to cancel or cut it short, you’re covered for up to $2,000 per person in expenses incurred from the common carrier (airline, bus, cruise ship, or train) – and a spouse and any dependent children are eligible.

One thing to note is that Capital One doesn't mention tours or hotels booked with your card as Chase does on its Sapphire Cards. That said, it is likely that only common carrier transportation would be reimbursed.

The following situations qualify:

  • The death, accidental bodily injury, disease, or physical illness of you or an immediate family member of the cardholder
  • Default of the common carrier resulting from financial insolvency. The death, accidental injury, disease, or physical illness must be verified by a physician and must prevent you from traveling on the trip.

Again, the kicker here is that the trip must have been paid for with the Capital One Venture X Card or with miles earned from the card.

 

Trip Delay Reimbursement

When your trip is delayed, it can often mean more than just lost time.

A trip delay can be caused by weather, aircraft maintenance issues, or even emergency situations, and it can create additional expenses for lodging, food, toiletries, and more that you weren't expecting to pay.

While you'll be on the hook to cover the expenses upfront, you may be eligible for reimbursement.

  • As long as your airfare was booked at least in part with your Venture X Card, you are eligible for up to $500 if your travel is delayed by six or more hours – or forces an overnight stay.
  • You, your spouse, and your dependent children under 22 years of age are automatically covered if they are traveling with you.
  • You must also be traveling outside of your home city to be eligible.

 

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Lost luggage reimbursement is something you typically don't think about until it happens. Did an airline lose or damage your luggage – or did it get stolen?

  • As long as you paid for your airfare with your Venture X Card, you can get up to $3,000 to replace or repair the bag and its contents (or $2,000 per bag for New York residents).
  • The cardholders and all immediate family members are covered.

 

Baggage Delay Coverage

The Capital One Venture X Card does not offer any baggage delay coverage.

 

Travel Accident Insurance

Venture X cardholders will be automatically insured for up to $1 million against accidental loss of life, limbs, sight, or speech as long as the entire cost of your fare was charged to the card.

 

Emergency Medical & Dental Benefit

The Capital One Venture X Card does not offer any emergency medical or dental coverage.

 

Cell Phone Insurance Protection

As long as you pay your cell phone bill with your Capital One Venture X card, you can get reimbursed up to $800 for repair or replacement if your cell phone is stolen or damaged.

Here is what you need to know about how this cell phone coverage works:

  • This insurance benefit applies if you're a Venture X cardholder and pay your monthly cell phone bill with the card.
  • You must have paid with your card in the billing cycle before the month the incident occurs.
  • The cell phone coverage applies to all lines listed on the account. So if you have a family of four, all lines are covered.
  • You will need to pay a $50 deductible for each claim
  • The benefit can be used twice in any 12-month period, and you are eligible for reimbursement of up to $800 per claim.
  • It's supplemental coverage, so if you have an insurance policy through your carrier or through the device manufacturer itself, this coverage would not be valid.
  • If your device has been stolen, a police report must be filed within 48 hours of the event to be eligible for coverage.

 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Last but not least on our list of the best credit cards offering travel insurance is The Platinum Card® from American Express. With an annual fee of $695 (see rates & fees), it's easily the most expensive card on this list. And in many categories, more expensive doesn't translate to better insurance coverage.

Here's the coverage you'll get with the Amex Platinum Card.

 

amex platinum card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express

 

Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver

If you are booking a car rental on your Amex Platinum Card, it's important to understand the differences between primary and secondary rental coverage.

Most travel credit cards out there offer only secondary rental car coverage. If you get into an accident or your car is damaged with secondary coverage, you'd have to file a claim with your personal insurance policy before turning to your credit card company for help. That means you'll have to pay your deductible – and your auto insurance premiums will likely go up, too.

With primary rental car coverage, you can skip your own policy and file a claim directly with the policy issuer. That's what you get on both Chase Sapphire Cards as well as the Capital One Venture X Card.

Unfortunately, the Amex Platinum card comes with complimentary secondary car rental coverage – assuming you use your card to cover the cost of the rental. Amex will give you the option to purchase primary rental coverage, and if you don't have another card (like a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, or a Capital One Venture X), it may be worth comparing the rates through Amex with the rates you can receive directly through the rental agency.

 

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

Amex does offer trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage for Platinum cardholders as long as you purchase your entire round-trip common carrier ticket with your Amex Platinum card.

But note that caveat: It must be a round-trip ticket. That stands in stark contrast to other cards on this list, which offer coverage even for one-way bookings. There are some data points that Amex covers multi-city bookings, but that's not set in stone.

Amex covers the cardholder, any traveling companion, family member of the eligible traveler, or family member of the traveling companion, and will receive up to $10,000 of coverage per trip, and a maximum of $20,000 per card in a 12-month period.

Examples of covered events include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Bodily Injury or Illness: If you, a traveling companion, or a family member of either, experience an accidental injury or become sick, causing you to cancel your trip.
  • Bad Weather: If extreme weather causes your trip to be canceled or disrupted, there could be coverage.
  • Change in Military Orders: For the cardmember and/or spouses or domestic partners.
  • Terrorist Action: Or hijacking
  • Jury Duty: Or other qualifying legal obligation
  • Uninhabitable Dwelling: of either the cardmember or traveling companion
  • Quarantine: Imposed by a physician

 

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If you book a round-trip and pay the full amount with your Platinum Card and your common carrier (airline, bus, cruise ship, or train) is delayed for a covered reason for six hours or more, or overnight, you can receive reimbursement for expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, and medication up to $500 per ticket per trip. You can have up to two covered trips in a rolling 12-month period.

However, this coverage is only applicable for a trip away from the cardholder's city of residence and it has to be less than 365 days long.

 

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger. To be eligible for this coverage, you need to have booked your common-carrier fare with your Platinum card or with Membership Rewards points from your card.

Here’s the coverage you can expect for lost luggage:

  • Checked Bags: Up to $2,000 per covered person, per trip
  • Carry-On Bags: Up to $3,000 per covered person, per trip
  • Specialty High-Value Items: Up to $1,000 per person, per covered trip ( Only $2,000 for New York residents), for a maximum of $10,000 per trip.
  • Combined Limit: The limit for all baggage is $3,000 per covered person, per trip.

 

Baggage Delay Coverage

The Platinum Card from American Express does not offer any baggage delay coverage.

 

Medical Evacuation & Travel Accident Coverage

You always hope you never need Medical Evacuation & Travel Accident coverage. But when and if you need it, it's invaluable. And while many cards offer this coverage, the clear winner is the Amex Platinum Card.

The Platinum Card provides medical evacuation coverage with no expense cap on trips of less than 90 days and at least 100 miles from your residence. This will exclude evacuations due to any pre-existing conditions, but there is no requirement to put any of your trip expenses on the card to take advantage of the coverage. Just for being a Platinum cardholder, you can use it if you ever need it.

Additionally, the benefits are extended to immediate family and children under the age of 23 (and under 26 if enrolled full-time in school).

One thing to note is that a Premium Global Assist (PGA) administrator from American Express must coordinate everything in order for the medical or evacuation costs to be covered. Any costs for medical transport not authorized and arranged through the Premium Global Assist Hotline Program will not be reimbursed. For more information on this from American Express, visit the Global Assist Hotline information page.

The Platinum Card from American Express will also cover up to $500,000 per person for loss of life on a trip. However, to take advantage of this coverage, you must pay for your entire fare with your Platinum card and/or Membership Rewards points.

For more information on American Express' travel accident coverage for Platinum cardholders, visit the terms and conditions page.

 

Bottom Line

So which is the best credit card for travel insurance? That depends on a number of factors and what coverage you value most.

But having one of these credit cards in your wallet is a great place to start to make sure you have at least some coverage when things go wrong.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

5 Responses

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit of $300 per year. I want to know how hard it is to book a flight, and how to get the reimbursement. Does the booking need to be done through Chase? I have found many of these cards you have to book through their website, and usually can’t find the cheapest fares listed there (i.e. cheaper on other search engines, thus cheaper to book elsewhere). So how does one book to get the $300 and how does one get reimbursed?

    • It applies automatically to any purchase that codes as travel, whether it be a plane ticket, hotel reservation, Uber ride, parking ramp fee, etc. So there’s no need to worry about jumping through hoops for reimbursement – it happens automatically.

      • I can second this, it is truly seamless. There is nothing you need to do! It is automatic. Book your flight as you normally would and it will automatically give you up to a $300 credit.

        On your benefits page, it gives you a handy

  • Does the travel benefits of Amex platinum extend to the Delta Amex platinum card? And do CSP and venture X also have medical coverage if you get sick out of the country?

    • They will not extend to Delta Amex Platinum. These are two separate card products. Those products do not provide medical coverage.

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