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What You Need to Know About Your Credit Card's Travel Insurance

Know Stewart

Travel Insurance

Pound per pound, you credit card might be the most valuable travel tool ever created. Not only will a credit card offer travelers a secure and convenient method of payment, but the right one can include several valuable types of travel insurance.

Credit Card Travel Insurance Basics

Nearly every credit card offers some kind of travel insurance, and a premium travel rewards card can offer many additional policies. To find out which insurance policies are offered by your card, you need to read its guide to benefits. This document is sent to cardholders when their account is opened and may be available online. Or, you can contact your card issuer to request a new copy.

It's important to have a copy of this document so that you can learn which benefits are included with the terms of each policy. For example, most policies will require you to notify the benefits administrator within a certain number of days after incurring a loss. In addition, you should be aware of all of the exclusions and limitations of each policy before relying on it for coverage.

Here's what you need to known about the types of travel insurance your credit card can offer:

Auto Rental Insurance

Nearly all credit cards come with this insurance, called a collision damage waiver policy. To use this coverage, you have to pay with your card and decline all optional coverage offered by the car rental company. You also have to comply with all of the terms of the policy, which may restrict the types of cars covered, the countries where coverage is valid, and the length of the rental. Also, note that most policies are secondary, which requires you to file a claim with any personal auto insurance that you might have. Finally, these policies only cover losses due to theft or damage to the vehicle you rented, not injuries or damage to third parties when you are at fault. Click here to learn What Credit Card Auto Insurance Really Covers

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection

When you purchase an expensive vacation, you are taking quite a risk that you won't need to cancel or interrupt it for an unforeseen reason. And while there are separate travel insurance policies that you can buy, you may have trip cancellation coverage included with your credit card. These policies can reimburse you if you have to cancel a trip for many reasons including illness, accidents, jury duty, military orders, or severe weather.

Trip Delay Reimbursement

A delayed or cancelled flight can be an expensive problem, as no airline will reimburse you for problems caused by weather, air traffic, and other factors outside of its control. And when an airline refuses to offer you meals and lodging, your credit card may reimburse you for these expenses as part of its trip delay policy. In most cases, you have to be delayed for at least six hours, or overnight in order to make a successful claim. Click here to view Travel Credit Cards

Lost Luggage Coverage

If you travel long enough, then it's only a matter of time until your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged. And when that happens, the airlines and other travel providers may not reimburse you for the full value of your losses. But if your credit card offers a lost luggage policy, then you may be able to be reimbursed for losses that aren't covered. For example, these policies can cover your carry-on bags and other personal property on any common carrier such as an airline, train, bus, or ship.

Baggage Delay Insurance

Like trip delay insurance, these policies can reimburse you for expenses not covered by the carrier responsible for the delay. So, if you have to go out and buy expensive new clothing or toiletries, and the airline refuses to reimburse you for the entire amount, you can submit a claim to your credit card issuer.

Travel Accident Insurance

This policy can offer you a benefit in the event of death or serious injury to you or a traveling companion during parts of your trip that you paid for with your card. This coverage is included with most credit cards.

Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Benefit

It's rare, but some premium rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer a benefit that can pay up to $100,000 for emergency evacuation costs when you need to return home to receive care.

First published , last updated



Know Stewart

Know Stewart is one of the leading journalists covering the credit card industry and travel rewards. His work appears at many of the top personal finance websites and is regularly syndicated by mainstream sites such as MSN Money and Yahoo! Finance.

Learn more about Know Stewart

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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