Does credit card travel insurance offer enough protection? (2024)

Everyone hopes their travels will go smoothly, but this isn’t always the case. While you can’t anticipate travel issues like flight delays, illnesses, and cancellations, you can plan for the unexpected. Travel insurance is one way to protect yourself, as this type of coverage safeguards you against financial losses incurred on a covered trip.

You can purchase a travel insurance policy through a travel agent, insurance company, or sometimes directly through an airline or cruise line. But this coverage also comes as a perk with many travel rewards credit cards.

Here’s what to know about credit card travel insurance, what it covers, and its limitations.

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Does credit card travel insurance offer enough protection? (1)

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What is credit card travel insurance?

Credit card travel insurance is a benefit included with certain travel credit cards. You’ll often see this perk with travel rewards credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or The Platinum Card® from American Express. If you pay for travel using your card and a covered incident impacts your trip, you may be reimbursed for all or a portion of related expenses.

What does credit card travel insurance cover?

Credit card travel insurance protection varies by card, and coverage may protect the cardholder and their family members. It could provide the following protections depending on your card.

  • Trip interruption or cancellation: These coverages protect you if your travels are interrupted or canceled for a covered reason, such as an illness or severe weather.
  • Trip delays: Trip delay insurance protects you if your flight is delayed for a covered reason and you must pay for meals or lodging.
  • Baggage delays: If your luggage is delayed for several hours, this coverage can reimburse you for essential items.
  • Damaged or lost luggage: If your luggage is lost or damaged, this coverage can reimburse you for associated costs.
  • Illness or injury: This coverage may be primary or secondary to your existing health insurance. It can reimburse you for healthcare costs if you get sick or injured on your trip.
  • Rental car accident or loss: If your rental car is stolen or you’re in an accident and the other driver is responsible, this coverage can reimburse you for loss or damages. It may be primary or secondary, depending on your card.
  • Emergency support: This coverage can protect you if you need to be transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital. Select premium travel cards may also offer emergency medical evacuation protection, though this protection is relatively uncommon.

What does credit card travel insurance not cover?

While credit card travel insurance may protect you if an airline loses your luggage or your flight is delayed due to severe weather, it doesn’t cover everything. Coverage also differs by credit card issuer and your card type, so it’s essential to understand potential exclusions.

“Emergency medical evacuation is one area rarely covered by credit card plans,” says Lauren Gumport, Vice President of Communications & Brand at Faye Travel Insurance. “Depending on your card and where you’re traveling, you may need to get a separate policy for this type of protection.”

Other limitations may also apply. For instance, travel issues related to a pre-existing condition, trips to a war zone, adventure travel complete with risky activities, or changes in financial circ*mstances aren’t typically covered. Your card’s insurance protections probably won’t cover traveling companions besides your immediate family members, either.

Do all credit cards include travel insurance?

While it would be ideal if all credit cards provided travel insurance benefits, this simply isn’t the case. Travel rewards credit cards often offer insurance, though coverage limits and types of protections vary by card.

You’ll generally see the highest levels of coverage with high-annual-fee travel credit cards. For instance, the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers emergency evacuation and transportation, but its sister card, the Sapphire Preferred, does not.

How do I choose a credit card with travel insurance?

If you’re interested in a credit card with travel insurance, comparing these factors can help you choose the best card for your situation.

  • Annual fees: Many premium travel cards come with high annual fees, so it’s essential to understand these costs to find a card that works for you.
  • Available coverages: Certain cards offer more protection than others. For instance, you may get emergency evacuation support with some high-end cards, but this coverage is uncommon.
  • Coverage limits: Some credit cards may only provide coverage up to a certain limit. Comparing coverage limits on different cards before applying.
  • Deductibles: Deductibles may also apply, depending on the card and coverage.
  • Exclusions: Just as it’s important to understand available coverages, you’ll also want to research potential exclusions. Understanding exclusions can help ensure you choose the best card for your situation.
  • Other benefits: Also consider other benefits that are important to you, such as welcome offers, travel credits, and earning rates.

Do I need additional travel insurance?

Credit card travel insurance may offer some financial protection, but it could be limited compared to a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Whether you need additional travel insurance depends on your situation, where you’re traveling, and whom you’re traveling with.

For instance, if you have a pre-existing condition, you may need to purchase separate travel insurance that covers your specific condition, as credit cards typically won’t cover you for trip cancellation due to a pre-existing issue.

Other coverage exclusions may also apply with your credit card travel insurance. For example, your insurance protections likely won’t extend to friends traveling with you. Likewise, your coverage may not protect you in every country. Card issuers often have specific geographic exclusions outlined in their terms and conditions.

The takeaway

Credit card travel insurance can protect you financially if your trip is delayed, canceled, or interrupted for a covered reason. But protections vary by card, so understanding what’s covered and what isn’t can help you avoid unfortunate—and potentially expensive—surprises.
“​​It’s essential to read the details of any travel insurance plan carefully,” says Angela Borden, Product Strategist at Seven Corners, Inc. “This is true of any plan, but it’s particularly important if you plan to rely solely on insurance from a credit card, as it could come with unexpected exclusions.”

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date but are subject to change at any time at the issuer’s discretion. Before applying, please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Does credit card travel insurance offer enough protection? (2024)
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