What is purchase protection?

Safeguard your finances with this complimentary insurance.

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Purchase protection provides you with extra value and greater peace of mind when you choose to pay with plastic. It’s a common complimentary credit card perk, especially for black, platinum and gold cards.

What is purchase protection?

Purchase protection is a service provided by a credit card company that safeguards any eligible purchase made with a credit card against theft, loss or accidental damage for up to three months generally. The terms and conditions for purchase protection vary between cards and affect what purchases are eligible, how long the insurance period is and what the claim limits are.

How does purchase protection work?

Taking advantage of purchase protection is relatively simple – if you purchased an eligible item with your credit card, you can file a claim for compensation if it’s damaged or lost under the terms of your issuer’s protection plan. However, if you have primary insurance that covers the item in question, you’ll need to make a claim there first.

Most retail purchases will generally be covered, but you should carefully read the terms and conditions to find out exactly what applies. Perishables or consumables are typically excluded. Motor vehicles and vehicle parts could also be excluded.

Bear in mind that the exact details and requirements of your purchase protection plan can vary between each network. Here’s a quick breakdown of each network’s plan, though you’ll want to read your guide to benefits for more details.

MastercardVisaAmerican Express
Length120 days, or 90 days for New York residents90 days90 days
Coverage$1,000 per claim. $50,000 in total per cardholder$500 per claim. $50,000 in total per cardholder$1,000 per claim. $50,000 each year
Types of damage coveredTheft and damageTheft and damageTheft and damage
Eligible cardsEligible World and World Elite credit cardsEligible Visa Signature credit cardsAll cards

How do I make a claim for credit card purchase protection insurance?

The claims process differs depending on your credit card provider and the insurance company, but generally involves the following steps:

  • Contact the insurance company. Depending on your insurer and policy, you may have to file your claim within a certain time frame — so don’t wait long.
  • Provide details of the claim. You have to show that the item was purchased using your credit card within the eligible period of coverage.
  • Submit any supporting documentation. Apart from original receipts, you may also need to provide other relevant documents such as police or incident reports.
  • Wait for a response. Your claim will usually take up to 14 business days to be assessed, after which you will be notified of the result and reimbursed if successful.

Other types of complimentary credit card purchase insurance

Some credit cards may also provide the following complimentary insurance covers for your purchases:

  • Extended warranty cover. This extends the warranty cover for items purchased using your card, meaning that you can enjoy extended warranty protection beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period.
  • Price guarantee. This offers price protection so you claim the price difference for an item purchased on your card if you find it in another store nearby at a lower price within a certain period of time.
  • Refund protection insurance. Refund protection ensures that you can still get a refund on items purchased using your card even if the merchant refuses to process a refund.

How to compare credit cards with purchase protection insurance

When considering purchase protection insurance, you should keep in mind that purchase protection policies are generally similar across all eligible cards from a network. As such, you’ll want to look at other factors to make your decision, such as:

  • Annual fee. Complimentary extras such as purchase protection are likely to come with a higher annual fee than a no-frills card. This may outweigh the benefits of complimentary extras if you rarely or never use them.
  • Purchase rate. When considering any credit card, interest rates are very important, especially if you are someone who carries a card balance. You may find that cards with complimentary freebies often charge higher rates.
  • Rewards. If earning rewards with your card is important to you, you should consider factors such as the points and rewards program.
  • Cash advance rate and fee. If you withdraw money using your credit card or use your card for cash equivalent transactions, including gift or shopping vouchers, you may be charged extra fees.

Our pick for credit card purchase protection

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
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See Rates & Fees

Compare credit cards with purchase protection

Are you looking for a great card to put in your wallet that will give you peace of mind with every swipe? Check out these cards to find the one that best suits your needs.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable)
$95
6% cash back at US supermarkets. Rates & fees
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
See Rates & Fees
$250
Earn 4x points at restaurants worldwide. Rates & fees
2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
17.49% to 24.49% variable
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Unlike travel-specific perks such as airport lounge access and complimentary travel insurance, you can enjoy your purchase protection insurance on a day-to-day basis. When deciding if it’s something you actually need, it’s important to consider the costs of the card and whether this feature will be worth it in the long term. Compare credit cards to find one that best suits your purchasing needs.

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