Complimentary travel insurance is a popular credit card feature that can cover you when you vacation or travel overseas and make purchases with your credit card. If you’re already using your credit card, it’s an easy way to save time and money, allowing you to skip organizing separate insurance. However, while complimentary credit card insurance can save you buying separate insurance coverage, there are eligibility requirements to meet before you’re protected.
Discover available credit cards that offer complimentary insurance, the different types of complimentary insurance offered, what you need to do to get coverage and how to make a claim.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
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Scotiabank Gold American Express Card
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Compare credit cards with complimentary insurance
Credit cards with complimentary insurance
Many standard credit cards offer some kind of complimentary insurance. However, you can usually find the best complimentary insurance on gold and platinum credit cards. Also known as premium credit cards, these cards often include a range of extra perks that standard credit cards don’t. As a result, these premium cards often attract higher annual fees to reflect these perks. However, the savings you’ll receive from your complimentary insurance could potentially outweigh the cost of the card, especially if you travel frequently, which is good to consider when comparing your options.
Types of credit card complimentary insurance
Depending on the credit card and the provider, you could get complimentary insurance coverage for any or all of the following:
- Overseas travel insurance. This type of insurance offers comprehensive coverage for trips overseas, usually including emergency medical and dental coverage, loss or theft of personal belongings and travel accident insurance. The potential savings and convenience of complimentary overseas travel insurance makes it one of the most popular options for cardholders, but policies can vary significantly between providers.
- Car rental insurance. Another form of travel insurance, this complimentary credit card insurance covers car rentals. Again, the type of coverage will vary between providers but generally includes collision damage and theft of car or personal belongings.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance. This type of travel insurance offers coverage for flight changes or delays when you’re travelling overseas or in the country.
- Lost or stolen baggage. If your luggage is lost, stolen or delayed during transportation, you will be able to claim some money in order to buy necessities and clothing if you have this type of coverage.
- Hotel/motel burglary. This type of coverage will cover your personal items if they are stolen from your hotel or motel room.
- Purchase protection insurance. Offered on both premium and mid-level credit cards, purchase protection insurance can cover the cost of theft, accidental damage or loss of items paid for with an eligible card. This protection typically lasts up to 90 days after you purchase the product or service, with some credit cards stretching the protection to 180 days.
- Extended warranty insurance. This coverage offers an extension on the manufacturer’s warranty for eligible items purchased in Canada. Usually, this insurance will double the warranty, up to a maximum period of 12 months. For example, if you bought an item with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, this coverage would allow you to get insurance for a total of 24 months. Warranty can be extended up to a maximum of 1 to 2 extra years, depending on the credit card.
- Best price guarantee coverage. This insurance will refund the difference in price if you buy an item and then find it at a lower cost at the same store or somewhere else. You are usually limited to an annual limit or a lifetime limit on the amount you can claim with this type of coverage. You should also note that food and other perishable items are typically excluded from this coverage.
- Mobile device coverage. Although quite rare, this type of insurance covers any loss or damage to your cellular device or tablet. Much like other types of coverage, mobile device coverage comes with terms and conditions, where your device will depreciate in value each year, meaning you won’t be covered for its original value.
Are you eligible for complimentary credit card insurance?
The eligibility requirements for complimentary credit card insurance vary depending on the specific policy, the provider and the insurance company that’s involved in underwriting it. You can find specific details in your credit cards travel insurance contract. In general, the most common conditions include:
- Spending requirements. Whether it’s travel insurance or purchase coverage, you usually have to pay with your credit card to be eligible. For example, if you want overseas travel insurance, you will likely have to pay for some or all of your return ticket with your credit card before you leave. Similarly, if it’s purchase coverage, you’ll have to buy the relevant item with your card.
- Policy activation. In some cases, you may also have to “activate” the included insurance to be eligible for coverage.
- Age requirements. This typically relates to travel insurance, where people over a certain age (typically 76 and older) may not be eligible for coverage.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. Similar to most standalone travel insurance policies, pre-existing medical conditions usually aren’t covered by complimentary overseas credit card insurance. However, depending on the insurer, you may be able to get approval for coverage with a pre-existing medical condition by lodging an extra application. Fees usually apply for these requests, and not all credit card insurance allows it, so check the insurance policy booklet to see if this is possible for any card you’re considering.
- Partners and/or dependant children. Usually complimentary travel insurance will cover your spouse and/or dependant children that are travelling with you and meet the eligibility requirements.
How to make an insurance claim
The claim process for complimentary credit card insurance products varies depending on the provider and the insurance company that has underwritten the policy. In general, you’ll need to submit your claim directly to the insurance provider over the phone, online or by completing and posting a claim form.
As with standalone insurance policies, claims must be made as soon as possible after the incident and within the specified timeframe to be eligible for coverage. You may also be asked to submit supporting documentation for your claim, including:
- Your credit card statement showing the relevant purchase/s required to activate the policy.
- A copy of a police report, if you’re claiming for lost or stolen items.
- Proof of ownership for lost, stolen or damaged items.
- Flight itineraries and letters from carriers detailing delayed flights or unexpected events.
Policy details to check before applying for complimentary credit card insurance
If you’re interested in taking advantage of complimentary credit card insurance, make sure you consider the following policy details:
- Eligibility requirements. Review the details of what you need to do to get coverage and consider whether or not you will be eligible based on your circumstances. For example, if you’ve already paid for a trip overseas and then get a credit card that offers complimentary insurance, you may not be eligible for that particular trip since you didn’t use that specific card to pay for the trip.
- Coverage limits. All complimentary insurance policies limit the amount of money available for specific claims. For example, lost baggage may limit coverage to $500 per claim. Consider the type of coverage you want and your travel plans to decide if these limits will suit your needs.
- Excess costs. If you make a claim against a complimentary credit card insurance policy, you may have to pay a specified amount before you get any money back. For example, if you submit a claim for emergency overseas medical costs, you may have to pay $500 (once approved) for the claim to be processed. This is known as the excess and is most common with travel insurance (both overseas and domestic).
- Coverage period. Complimentary credit card insurance policies offer coverage for a limited amount of time. For travel insurance, this could be anywhere from one week to 12 months, and for purchase coverage, it could be 2 weeks to 3 months or more. It’s important to consider this coverage period before you choose a credit card (or use the insurance) so that you know the coverage will work for you.
- Exclusions. As well as looking at what coverage is provided, make sure you’re aware of what won’t be covered by a complimentary credit card insurance policy. For example, food and perishable items are generally not covered in best price guarantee coverage.
- Claim period. There is a limited timeframe for you to submit a claim for complimentary insurance coverage. For example, with a “best price guarantee”, you may only be able to make a claim within 21 days of the original purchase, and with overseas travel insurance you may only have 30 days from the time of the incident to submit a claim. Ideally, you should always aim to submit a claim as soon as possible, or at least contact the insurer to advise them of your situation.
How to compare credit cards with complimentary insurance
If you want a credit card that offers complimentary insurance, make sure you compare the following features:
- Interest rates. With most complimentary insurance policies requiring you to spend money on your card, it’s important to consider the interest rates that could apply to ensure that it’s affordable for you to use the card for insurance.
- Annual fee. Credit cards that offer complimentary insurance often have higher annual fees than more basic products. While the insurance can help offset this cost, it’s only really worth it if you can actually make use of the complimentary coverage available. In other words, paying a high annual fee for a credit card with overseas insurance usually won’t be worth it if you rarely travel.
- Foreign currency fee. Most credit cards apply a fee of 2.5% for transactions made in a foreign currency. This fee is particularly important to consider for credit cards that offer overseas travel insurance.
Complimentary credit card insurance is a popular feature that many credit card users look for, but it’s important to understand the conditions and requirements surrounding the coverage these types of credit cards offer so that you can use them to your advantage. Remember to read the complimentary insurance policy booklet for a specific card before you apply, and compare a range of options so that you can choose a credit card that offers value based on your financial circumstances and lifestyle needs.Back to top