Travel insurance is designed to help cover unexpected costs that can come up when you’re on a trip. While it offers peace of mind, it can also be expensive to purchase. But credit cards with complimentary travel insurance give you an opportunity to enjoy your trip while also getting the coverage you need without the cost of buying insurance outright. Depending on the card, there will be different eligibility requirements and complimentary insurances on offer.
Compare credit cards with complimentary travel insurance
Complimentary travel insurance refers to the insurance cover that is included with some credit cards. The travel insurance could be an included feature of the card, but that doesn’t mean it’s exactly free. Technically, it comes at the cost of the card, which could have an annual fee and interest rates. Some travel insurance covers can only be activated once you’ve met specific spend requirements, as well.
Having said that, complimentary or included insurance doesn’t have its own fee, which means it is at “no extra cost”. So this type of credit card extra can save you the time and money that comes with organising standalone travel insurance. It can also reduce the cost of any unforeseen emergencies that may pop up while you’re overseas.
What are the types of complimentary travel insurance?
Different credit cards provide different levels of complimentary travel insurance. It is important to look at the terms and conditions of the card to ensure you know what you are covered for and how much coverage applies. The cover will vary according to which card you use and the policy itself, so make sure you look at the overall cover, coverage limits and any excess applicable to decide if it’s suitable for your trip. Different types of complimentary travel insurance include:
Medical and hospital expenses incurred overseas. This insurance helps cover the cost of medical fees and hospital bills if you require emergency treatment when you are overseas. Generally, exclusions for this type of travel insurance include pre-existing medical conditions, conditions already covered by a private medical fund or government funds, or treatment that is not administered by a medical professional.
Loss or damage to personal property. This cover is designed to offer you compensation for your luggage and other personal items are lost, damaged or stolen. It usually has a maximum limit per person, per trip, and will generally require the submission of a policy report before you are approved for a claim.
Cancellation of travel arrangements. This insurance usually covers travel cancellations that may be due to unforeseen circumstances such as the accidental death of a relative, the sudden illness of a family member, or a natural disaster at the destination or near your normal residence.
Travel inconvenience cover. With this insurance, additional meals and accommodation costs are covered if the delay of flight is more than a few hours. Flight cancellation, delayed flight boarding and loss of luggage may also be covered.
Legal liability cover. Some cards also provide legal liability cover which can settle or defend a claim in case of bodily harm or damage of property caused to someone other than cardholder.
What if I’m over the credit card travel insurance policy’s age limit?
If you’re over the age specified for full coverage with your credit card’s complimentary insurance, it may still be possible to get limited coverage. Contact the insurance provider directly to find out your options. Alternatively, you may want to buy a seniors travel insurance policy, specifically designed for older travellers.
What should I be wary of when comparing complimentary insurance?
Some of the other factors you’ll want to take into account with complimentary credit card travel insurance include:
Eligibility and activation of insurance. Make sure that you’re eligible for the cover and that the terms and conditions of the policy suit your needs. Credit card providers may also require you to activate the policy in some way. For example by purchasing your return travel ticket using your credit card. Others may require you to log in to your account online and fill out a simple form to activate your policy before each trip.
Length of travel. Most credit card complimentary travel insurance policies will cover trips up to several months in length. Make sure you consider the specific coverage length offered by your card when you first start planning your trip. If you plan to travel for longer, you may be able to request an extension or might want to consider an alternative option.
Levels of coverage. Some credit card companies provide travel insurance for several cards, and offer different levels of coverage based on the account you have. For example, ANZ Premium Card Travel Insurance will offer different cover types with a Gold and a Platinum Card. Make sure you check what level of coverage your card offers when referring to the insurance policy booklet.
Terms and conditions. While this may be a tedious practice, reading the terms and conditions is crucial to ensure you understanding the opportunities and boundaries of your insurance. If you have any doubt about your cover after referring to such documents, you may wish to contact the insurance provider directly.
How to compare credit cards that include travel insurance
If you’re interested in getting a credit card with complimentary travel insurance, make sure you also consider the following factors:
Annual fee. Credit cards that offer a lot of perks, including complimentary insurance, tend to have higher annual fees than low rate or no-frills options. While these benefits can offset the cost of the annual fee, remember that they will only add value if you actually use them.
Interest rates. Standard variable interest rates on credit cards with travel insurance may vary widely. Make sure you factor in the potential cost of both the purchase rate and cash advance rate – especially if you have to purchase your travel to activate the policy or if you think you may carry a balance from time to time.
Travel insurance policy details. The type of coverage, eligibility and activation requirements are all important factors to consider when you’re comparing cards that offer travel insurance. Reading through the policy details provided for each credit card you consider can help you choose a credit card that will offer the right level of coverage for you.
Currency conversion fee. If you also plan to use your credit card overseas, make sure you check the currency conversion or international transaction fee. This is usually a charge worth 2-4% of each transaction made in another currency, so the costs can quickly add up.
Rewards. There are many rewards credit cards that also offer complimentary travel insurance. These products earn points for your everyday card spending, which could then be redeemed for flights, fare upgrades or a wide range of other rewards.
Other extras. Credit cards that include travel insurance may also provide complimentary insurance for purchases, interstate flight inconvenience insurance and price-matching services. Some top-end platinum and black cards also provide travel benefits such as airport lounge access that can add even more value to the card you choose. Just remember to consider the card costs when factoring in these perks.
What are the pros and cons of travel insurance credit cards?
Provides essential travel cover. If you’re travelling overseas, you’ll need to organise travel insurance. Complimentary insurance could provide you with the cover you’ll need if you run into an unforeseen emergency while overseas.
Save time and money. If you decide to take advantage of your card’s complimentary insurance, this can save you the time and money required to organise external cover.
Cover for family. Most credit cards with included travel insurance will also cover your spouse and any dependents travelling with you, providing they also meet the activation requirements of the policy.
Higher price tag. Most credit cards that offer complimentary travel insurance are premium products that have high annual fees when compared to other options. Plus, you may be required to use your card to pay for a certain amount of the trip to activate the insurance.
Less value for infrequent travellers. If you only travel every now and then, the cost of the annual fee could outweigh the value you get from the complimentary insurance. Before choosing this type of card, consider how frequently you will use it and whether a standalone policy could be more cost-effective based on your travel habits.
Exclusions and excesses. Just as with any insurance policy, there are exclusions and excesses that may apply for complimentary credit card travel cover. Always read the policy documents beforehand, so you know what you are covered for and how much you will have to pay if you need to make a claim.
Looking for more comprehensive travel cover?
If you’d like to receive more comprehensive cover than your card’s complimentary insurance, you can look for standalone travel insurance for more options.
Frequently asked questions
Most credit card travel insurance will cover you and your partner, but you will need to consider the length of your trip as well. More premium cards will typically offer a greater length of coverage. You may also consider whether you’ll have complimentary insurance for any dependent children.
If you’re not planning to travel in the next few years, it may be worth considering credit cards that offer value in the form of lower rates and fees. If the savings you get from a lower cost card outweigh those of your current card, you could find that it’s better to switch and simply buy travel insurance if and when you need it.
It is always advisable to read all the terms and conditions before choosing a card. However, you can speed up the process by focusing on the key policy details. In general, the most important travel insurance cover to look for is medical and hospital, bag and luggage cover and travel cancellation cover. You can quickly check the policy details for these covers before making a decision, and then take your time reading over the policy for the card you choose.
Another option is to call the enquiry number in the credit card insurance policy booklet and speak to a customer representative. This gives you the chance to ask any specific questions you may have.
Andrew Munro is the global cryptocurrency editor at Finder. After previously writing about insurance and other areas, he now covers the latest developments in digital assets and blockchain and works on Finder's comprehensive range of guides to help people understand cryptocurrency.
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