If you’ve heard that your credit card has travel protection, you may be right (depending on your card). You may even have been warned not to waste this important credit card benefit.
Unfortunately, what the experts fail to make clear is that your credit card travel protection is extremely limited and they’re causing a great deal of consumer confusion. In fact, we’ve heard travelers make these assumptions about their credit card protection:
Only in very limited circumstances would these travelers be correct. Credit card companies advertise their travel protection and tell consumers they have protection for trip cancellations, travel delays, lost baggage, flight accidents and emergency travel assistance. And they’re right, but only to a point.
Trip cancellations with your credit card are limited to illness, injury or death of you, a close family member, or your traveling companion. Credit cards typically limit ‘close family member’ to your spouse, parent, or child and pre-existing medical conditions are never covered. By contrast, see the typically covered reasons for cancellation with travel insurance and take a look at ‘cancel for any reason’ protection, which can provide coverage for all those one-off reasons like important job interviews or tax audits or your pet getting ill.
Travel delays with your credit card are limited to delays due to inclement weather, mechanical failure, and lost or stolen passports. Trip delay coverage with your credit card only applies to outbound travel and there is no coverage for cancellations by a common carrier such as an airline or train. By contrast, see the typically covered reasons for travel delays with travel insurance.
Credit card coverage does not have travel protection for the following mishaps (and many more):
Of course, the coverage you get with your travel insurance plan varies from plan to plan, and it’s crucial that you read the plan to know what your covered for, but no credit card will offer coverage like this.
Here’s where your credit card coverage and your travel insurance coverage is the same – and where you can start to make some choices. The following coverage with your credit card is very similar to travel insurance coverage:
The exclusions and limitations of these coverages are very similar to that of travel insurance:
See the full explanation of credit card travel protection vs. travel insurance for more information.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.