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How Do the Credit Cards Stack Up in Terms of Travel Insurance?

It’s a popular option these days, against buying travel insurance as a standalone option.

Typically, though travel insurance standalone products have better coverage than their credit card counterparts, the credit card is a great, free option for most holders. It would almost be silly not to look at them, or at least figure out how you are protected.

There’s a lot afoot these days. In general, though protections have been considerable in the past, most of the banks have made massive cuts to their travel protection benefits. Even if certain banks are increasing the range of benefits, the overall limits are being reduced while the time period required to qualify are being increased.

Though American Express recently revealed some significant (read: mostly positive) changes to their travel & purchase protection, Citi recently made massive cuts to the travel and purchase protection offered by their cards.

Here’s a quick look at the four most popular cards:

 

Credit Card Trip Cancellation & Interruption1 Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver2 Baggage Delay3 Trip Delay4 Roadside Assistance5 Lost Luggage6 Travel Accident7 Evacuation & Transportation8 Emergency Medical & Dental9
American Express Platinum Card* $10,000 per trip / $20,000 per account (in 12-month period) Secondary coverage. Reimbursement for theft and collision damage for up to $75,000.    Time: Over 6 hours

Per trip: Up to $500

being eliminated Checked Baggage: Up to $2,000
Max Checked & Carry-On: Up to $3,000
Max Limit Per Trip: Up to $3,000
being eliminated    
Chase Sapphire Preferred $10,000 per person / $20,000 per trip Primary coverage. Reimbursement for theft and collision damage for up to the vehicle’s actual cash value. Time: Over 6 hours.

Per passenger: Up to $100 per day for 5 days.

Time: Over 12 hours, or requiring an overnight stay.

Per passenger (must be family): Up to $500

         
Chase Sapphire Reserve $10,000 per person / $20,000 per trip Primary coverage. Reimbursement for theft and collision damage for up to $75,000. Time: Over 6 hours.

Per passenger: Up to $100 per day for 5 days.

Time: Over 6 hours, or requiring an overnight stay.

Per passenger (must be family): Up to $500

$50 per incident, 4 times a year Per passenger: Up to $3,000 Up to $100,000   Distance qualification: 100 miles or more from home

Per passenger (must be family): Up to $2,500

*Please note American Express is revamping its travel coverage policies: These will go into effect January 1, 2020. In addition to these, the Platinum Card offers a $200 fee credit, and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓. These are generally not standard travel benefits.

9 footnotes

  1. If the trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, the passenger can often be refunded for their prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  2. Some cards may offer primary rental insurance if the rental agency’s insurance is declined. Often limited to theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  3. Reimbursements for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for covered baggage delays. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  4. If a common carrier travel is delayed for a significant amount of time or requires an overnight stay, this entitles the passenger for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  5. A roadside emergency includes calling for a tow, jumpstart, tire change, locksmith or some other road side assistance for the traveler. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  6. This includes luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  7. This includes things like accidental death or dismemberment coverage, things that are generally the unfunnest to think about during a trip. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  8. In the case of an emergency evacuation, what travelers are entitled to for medical services and transportation. Specifics are subject to card terms.
  9. Medical expenses if the traveler or the traveler’s immediate family member becomes sick. Specifics are subject to card terms.
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