Financial Travel Tip #130: Travel Insurance you Already Have With Your Credit Card

by Nora on April 10, 2017

When you make certain travel reservations with your credit card, you may automatically get travel insurance, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars. Below are two forms of automatic credit card insurance – along with factors to consider and questions to ask.

Flight, Baggage, Trip Cancellation Insurance

When you pay for your flight with your credit card, you may be entitled to any or all of the following forms of insurance:

  • Trip Cancellation Insurance: Entitles you to a full or partial refund of costs to cancel or change your trip due to a personal or family emergency.
  • Flight Delay Insurance: Provides an allowance if your flight is unduly delayed.
  • Baggage Loss/Delay/Theft Insurance: Recoups the costs of replacing your baggage. Coverage amounts are often limited, with stipulations (like no camera coverage).

Many airlines have relationships with insurers and will offer you this insurance directly when you buy your flight; if you have it through your credit card, you can confidently decline.

Generally, the above insurances are rife with conditions and difficult to claim on. I would only purchase them outright if the trip involved expensive flights and severe financial consequences to cancel.

But if I’m covered automatically through my credit card, all the better.

Coverage levels vary by credit card. Call your credit card company to ask the following:

  • What forms of travel insurance do you provide?
  • What do I need to do to qualify? (eg: pay for the trip in full with the card)
  • Does it cover people traveling with me?
  • What are the limitations and exceptions?
  • What is the maximum amount of coverage?
  • What is the maximum length of trip covered?
  • For a medical emergency, are pre-existing medical conditions covered? Does age affect coverage?
  • What insurance company you are working with, and what is their contact information?
  • What do I do in the event of a claim, and what will I need to provide?

Please note that Accidental Illness/Injury Insurance is not provided through your credit card; this is a separate – and important – form of travel insurance. (See also: Travel Insurance vs Expat Insurance)


Car Rental Insurance

Car rental agencies always offer Third Party Liability and Collision/Loss/Damage Insurance. These sneaky last-minute expenses can double your rental costs.

Good news! When you use your credit card to pay for the rental, you might receive automatic collision/loss damage insurance. Third party liability and personal injury coverage is rarely covered (although you might have it on your personal auto insurance policy).

Again, consult your credit card terms and conditions, and ask the following questions:

  • What countries am I covered in?
  • What is the maximum rental period covered?
  • What kind of vehicles are covered, and what is the maximum value?
  • What types of coverage are offered? (collision/loss/damage, personal accident, third party liability)
  • What is the deductible?
  • Who is insured to drive? (Often only the cardholder is covered)
  • Are there age restrictions?
  • Are there any types of roads that I can’t drive on?
  • Who is the insurance company, and what is their contact information?
  • What do I do in the event of a claim?


Other Travel Insurance you Might Already Have

Some of your other insurance policies might provide travel coverage. Check for the following:

Health/Medical Insurance

  • Personal accidents/injuries/illness while traveling
  • Repatriation to your home country for treatment


Rental/Homeowner’s Insurance

  • Baggage loss/theft
  • Personal items stolen from a rental car


Auto Insurance

  • Personal items stolen from a rental car
  • Personal injuries from a rental car accident
  • Third party liability for rental cars


In all cases, ask your existing insurers about the level and availability of coverage.

Between your credit card and insurance policies, you could save yourself some serious money on travel insurance.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andreas Moser April 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm

I have neither a credit card, nor travel insurance. 🙁


2 Beth April 30, 2017 at 11:16 am

Always worth it to check whether you are covered … thanks for the reminder!


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