June 21, 2024
Credit Card Travel Insurance vs Travel Insurance

What is credit card travel insurance?

In addition or instead of purchasing traditional travel insurance, you can also use the insurance included with your credit card. Certain premium cards build travel insurance coverage into their services at no additional fee. However, these coverages often have lower limits and more exclusions, so it’s important to read the fine print before relying on them.


How credit card travel insurance works

Travel insurance credit cards often require that you pay for the full trip with your card in order to activate coverage. For example, you would need to pay for your flight, hotel and rental car with the same credit card to benefit from the insurance. Some cards that are good for travel may also have higher annual membership fees than you’re used to.


That being said, you don’t usually need to pay anything extra to use your credit card’s travel insurance if you need it. It’s why, all things being equal, credit cards with travel insurance can de more affordable than standalone plans.


Still, note that many credit cards with travel insurance have annual limits. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card pays up to $20,000 per trip cancellation, but it has a maximum benefit of $40,000 per year.

Tips for finding the best credit card for travel insurance

If you’ve been researching Money’s best places to travel list and are interested in credit card travel insurance, here are some tips to get you started.


Check if your existing credit cards have trip coverage

First, take a look at your existing credit cards. It’s possible that one of them already offers travel protections, and you just haven’t had the occasion to use them. You can typically find this information in your credit card contract, which will likely be accessible via your online account.


Determine which types of coverage you need

If you decide you need to take out a new credit card to get the insurance you want, start by considering what coverage you need. Are you just looking for financial protection for lost luggage and unexpected flight delays? Do you also want medical insurance from your travel credit card?


One thing to keep in mind is that you can always supplement credit cards that offer travel insurance with smaller standalone plans. For example, if you find a card you love that doesn’t offer travel medical coverage, you could purchase that coverage a la carte at a lower price than what you’d pay for comprehensive travel insurance.


Analyze coverage limits

Once you find the best credit card travel insurance for your needs, take a closer look at its coverage limitations before applying. These are often lower than the limitations for standalone insurance plans and may not be enough for everyone.

Is it better to get travel insurance through a credit card or a separate travel insurance policy?

If you want travel insurance at the lowest price possible, then choosing one of the best travel credit cards will likely be right for you. These cards usually provide coverage at no additional cost (apart from any annual card fee), while standalone travel insurance policies typically cost between 4% and 8% of your total trip costs, according to the U.S. Traveler’s Association.


However, if you’re looking for the best cancel for any reason travel insurance, your only option may be purchasing a standalone plan. Similarly, traditional travel insurance may be a better fit for travelers with expensive holidays, as these plans usually have higher coverage limitations.


The bottom line is that a credit card with travel insurance will typically be more affordable, while a standalone plan will usually offer more robust coverage. The better option for you will depend on how strongly you prefer one of those benefits over the other.

What credit cards have travel insurance?

There are many different travel credit cards available in 2023. Aside from our list of the best travel credit cards we mentioned above, our best airline credit cards can also be a good place to find other choices.


Is credit card travel protection alone enough?

There are some situations in which getting travel insurance through a credit card can be enough. These cards often provide coverage for lost baggage, flight delays and problems with accommodations. If that’s all the coverage you need for an upcoming trip, then the protection offered via a credit card will likely be enough.


However, there are also scenarios when it might not be enough. For example, the cost of your trip may exceed your credit card travel protection limits, or your card may not offer the robust emergency medical coverage that you want.

Deciding where and how to get your travel insurance will ultimately depend on the type of coverage you want and the limitations and exceptions you find acceptable.

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