Credit Cards with Travel Insurance

Updated on Apr 08, 2016

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Carrying plastic comes with lots of extra perks, as long as you choose the right credit card. Card benefits often include additional insurance coverage for travelers. Card issuers will help protect you from losses due to trip cancellations, lost baggage, and accidents, for example, as long as you pay for the trip with their credit card.

Below is a review of some of the basic types of travel insurance and protection offered, along with an overview of what kind of coverage is normally included. There can be a few variations of language used, depending on what the card issue chooses. For example, "lost luggage protection" and "baggage insurance" obviously mean the same thing, although their precise terms and conditions can differ.

As always, be sure to read the terms and conditions of your card carefully so you’re aware of what you will receive.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

 It can be very costly when customers are forced to cancel their flight. Trip cancellation insurance offered by credit card companies typically limits reimbursement to around $1,500 though, and only pays if you cancel for specific reasons. Standard coverage doesn’t usually cover travel delays, so if your flight is delayed by weather or mechanical problems, don’t expect to be reimbursed.

If the airline goes into bankruptcy or someone traveling dies or gets extremely sick, that will likely be covered. If you have to cancel because you have jury duty or the airline employees go on strike, though, you probably won’t be covered.

Both of the Barclay Arrival World MasterCards and the GM Card from Capital One offers trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage, but for the biggest selection you may want to go with CitiBank since Citi offers quite a few cards with this coverage. Some partner cards include:

  • Citi Diamond Preferred Card
  • Citi Dividend Platinum Select
  • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
  • Citi ThankYou Preferred Card-20,000 bonus offer
  • Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard

Discover offers Travel Delay Insurance, which covers you for up to 3 days with a max of $250 in coverage per day. The delay must be longer than 6 hours and you must report the delay within 60 days in order to be reimbursed for any accrued expenses.

Travel Accident Insurance

Under a credit card travel accident insurance program, you and your eligible dependents are generally covered for accidental death and (sorry, I know it sounds ghastly) dismemberment. The coverage limits are usually at least $200,000 but in some cases may be more or less.

Policies typically stipulate that you’re covered while riding as a passenger “on a common carrier” directly to and from the terminal (including taxi, bus, train, airport limousine or courtesy transportation but excluding aircraft like helicopters). The coverage starts at the departure destination and ends at the arrival destination printed on your ticket. Partner credit cards we found that come with travel accident insurance include:

  • Capital One Quicksilver and QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Cards
  • Capital One Platinum Prestige
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
  • Credit One Bank Cash Rewards Card
  • Both the Barclay Arrival World MasterCards
  • The Enhanced Biz Gold Rewards card
  • Both the Blue Cash Everyday and the Blue Cash Preferred Card from Amex
  • Amex Gold Card
  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card
  • Plum Card from Amex (business)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Card (SPG Card)
  • TrueEarnings Card from Costco and Amex
  • Simply Cash Business Card from Amex
  • Citi Diamond Preferred
  • Citi Dividend Platinum Select
  • Citi Dividend Card for College Students
  • Citi Forward Card for College Students
  • Both the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve and the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
  • Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard
  • CitiBusiness ThankYou Card
  • Citi ThankYou Preferred Card -20,000 bonus points

*Terms and limitations apply

Flight Accident Insurance

When it comes to credit cards that specifically offer flight accident insurance, Discover was the only bank providing that feature. As a note, this is the same as Travel Accident Insurance, but Discover calls it something different, most likely because it only pertains to flights, and not accidents from car rentals or trains, etc.

When you purchase an airline ticket with your Discover Card, you're eligible for up to $500,000 of Flight Accident Insurance. Flight Accident Insurance is usually a form of life insurance that covers loss of life if the plane crashes. If you experience a bumpy flight and wind up with a concussion from hitting your head, chances are that won’t be covered.

Discover provides this insurance automatically, at no additional cost, when you pay for a flight with your Discover Card. Loss of life benefits will be paid to the beneficiary you designate  by putting that request in writing to the insurance company Discover partners with– or it goes to your closest next-of-kin survivor.

Baggage Insurance

The kind of baggage insurance offered by credit card issuers will generally cover loss or damage to your luggage and may also cover baggage delays. Airlines themselves may already cover you for loss or damage to checked luggage, so in many cases this kind of coverage is redundant.

Again, it’s important to read the terms and conditions to understand exactly what this type of insurance covers. Also worth noting, you must purchase your ticket with that specific card offering the service, or you won’t be covered. In other words, just because you’re a card member, doesn’t mean you get coverage if you purchased the ticket with another card.

American Express clearly states that they will cover baggage that’s damaged, stolen, or lost on a plane, train, ship, helicopter, or bus (*Terms and limitations apply.). Citi provides Lost Luggage Coverage that will cover up to $3,000 for you and your dependents for permanently lost, stolen, or damaged baggage or personal articles checked with a common carrier. The Barclay Arrival World Mastercards provide their card holders with baggage coverage through World Mastercard benefits. Cardholders get $100 per day limit for a maximum of 3 days. Your baggage must be delayed or lost for more than 4 hours.

The following partner credit cards come with baggage insurance:

  • Amex Gold Card*
  • Plum Card from Amex (business)*
  • Simply Cash Business Card from Amex*
  • Citi Diamond Preferred
  • Citi Dividend Platinum Select
  • Citi Dividend Card for College Students
  • Both the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve and the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
  • Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard
  • Citi ThankYou Preferred Card -20,000 bonus points

*Terms and limitations apply.

A Note About Insurance Policies in General

When you carry a credit card that offers complimentary coverage, the exact definitions of what is covered and any legal caveats will be explained in the insurance company’s policy. Many credit card policies, for example, are limited by how much they pay and also by the types of claims they will pay. Without reading the details of that policy you cannot know exactly what the details of each policy are. If you want to dig deep, you can usually find a copy of the terms online.

If you are really concerned about having a specific type of coverage or coverage limits, then you may want to consult a travel insurance company. You’ll pay more for your own individual policy, though, so if you just want an additional layer of protection to help compensate you in the event one of these situations arises, choose one of the cards mentioned above. It’s suggested to contact the card company in order to receive details of the policy’s coverage. They will most likely refer you to the insurance company with which they partner because most customer service representatives are not qualified or authorized to provide this kind of detailed legal information.

* Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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