Author: Melissa A.
Published: October 24th, 2023 | Updated: October 24th, 2023
Read time: 6 mins
Credit cards offer many perks and benefits, including travel protection for unforeseen events that could disrupt your travel plans. Understanding credit card travel insurance and how it differs from traditional travel insurance will help you choose the right travel insurance coverage for your unique trip.
Does my credit card have travel insurance?
Many credit card companies offer travel rewards credit cards with some form of financial travel protection for travel-related losses as a perk of being a customer. However, travel benefits vary and are dependent on the card. Examples of a card’s travel insurance benefits include trip cancellation, interruption and delay, emergency medical, travel accident, baggage loss and delay, rental car, and hotel burglary. Also, each card has different coverage limitations and differs on what types of expenses are eligible for protection. To find out if you have credit card travel insurance, look at your cardholder benefits guide, visit the card provider’s website or call the customer service telephone number on the back of your card to ask.
How does credit card travel insurance work?
You must pay for your trip with your credit card to be eligible for the travel insurance coverage your card provider offers as soon as you book. For example, if you buy your flight(s) using your credit card, you may be eligible for refunds or credits through your credit card provider if trip cancellation insurance applies to your card. Not all credit cards offering travel insurance follow the same rules, meaning that one card provider may require an entire trip booking while another may only require a partial trip booking.
Does credit card travel insurance cover family?
Yes, credit cards with travel insurance can cover your family. You must pay for your family trip with your credit card to be eligible for the travel insurance coverage the card offers as soon as you book. Credit card travel insurance coverage extends to you – the primary cardholder and usually your spouse/partner and children/dependents. Read your credit card travel insurance policy documentation closely because each card provider and plan defines “family” differently. In many cases, coverage through credit cards has lower limits than a robust third-party family travel insurance plan available through us, which offers value for the money. It’s essential to understand who’s covered, coverage limits and any special conditions and restrictions.
Do credit cards with trip protection cover travel cancellation?
If your flight(s) was purchased on your travel insurance credit card, you may be eligible for refunds or credits through your credit card provider if trip cancellation insurance applies to your card. Review your credit card policy documentation closely for details regarding potential refunds or credits if you need to cancel your trip.
Does credit card travel insurance cover cruises?
Many credit cards offer travel protection for travel-related losses in case of an unforeseen event on your cruise vacation. For example, if the cruise line unexpectedly must keep the ship in port for repairs and your cruise is cancelled, you may be covered under the trip cancellation and interruption benefit. If you miss your cruise due to inclement weather causing the port to be inaccessible or because you had a flight delay, you may be covered under the trip delay benefit. If you arrive at the first port of call, but your luggage doesn’t come with you, you may be covered under the baggage delay benefit. Ensure you read the details of your card’s policy documentation completely before your cruise to know what benefits your card covers you for. Most credit cards offer little coverage and no specialty coverage; therefore, you will most likely need more protection and to purchase additional specialty travel insurance coverage—for example, emergency evacuation, pre-existing conditions, missed port, cabin confinement, and unused excursions.
Which credit card offers the best travel insurance benefits?
The credit card that offers you the best travel insurance benefits depends on your travel needs and factors such as the kind of trips you plan to take, trip durations and if you require any specialty travel insurance coverage—for example, visitors to Canada, snowbirds, adventure travel, or medical tourism which you will need to additionally purchase separately. Remember that not all credit card companies offer travel rewards credit cards with travel protection benefits. Although we aren’t endorsing any credit card providers, some popular credit cards with travel insurance for Canadians that are worth looking into include:
- Scotiabank Gold AMEX
- National Bank World Elite Mastercard
- Scotiabank AMEX Platinum
- BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard
- BRIM World Elite Mastercard
- HSBC World Elite Mastercard
- RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege
- CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card
Is credit card travel insurance enough?
A credit card for travel insurance can be sufficient if you only plan to take short, casual trips without specialty coverage. The main difference between credit card travel insurance and traditional travel insurance is the types of insurance coverage and the level of coverage. Traditional travel insurance usually provides more coverage and has higher coverage limits than a credit card with travel insurance. It will be wise to determine which coverage types are most important to you and whether they will fully cover your travel needs. Also, consider a travel insurance credit card’s annual fee and additional perks offered. If you don’t take advantage of other perks, it might be more cost-effective to quote, compare plans and ultimately purchase a travel insurance policy through us.
Credit Card Travel Protection vs. Traditional Travel Insurance
Traditional travel insurance will reimburse you for your pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs if your trip is cancelled due to a covered reason indicated in your policy, no matter how you paid. For example, if you paid for your trip using multiple credit cards. Traditional travel insurance offers trip delay coverage with lower delay time requirements, emergency medical coverage, and emergency evacuation coverage with repatriation. It allows for add-ons like Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. It also offers baggage loss, damage, and delay coverages, including personal effects coverage and 24/7 travel assistance, including concierge services. All these benefits aren’t necessarily offered through a travel protection credit card.
On the other hand, a credit card with travel protection could require an entire or partial trip booking, depending on the card, to be eligible for the trip cancellation benefit. The trip delay benefit has higher delay time requirements. Emergency medical coverage is not typically offered, and emergency evacuation coverage typically doesn’t include repatriation. The baggage loss, damage, and delay benefit will not cover all high-value items, for example, jewelry, sports equipment, electronics, eyewear, and cash. Although credit cards with travel protection offer travel assistance, most services aren’t travel insurance services; therefore, you will be referred to a third party.
DISCLAIMER: This guidance in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to offer guidance regarding travel insurance and the benefits which may be available. It does not guarantee coverage for any traveller. The information in this article reflects the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication. If you have questions regarding specific coverage details or available travel insurance plans, please contact our licensed customer care team.