Purchase Protection: Which Credit Cards Cover Your Belongings

This benefit acts as a kind of insurance against theft or damage for a period of time after you buy something.

Ben LuthiFebruary 19, 2021
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Several credit cards offer purchase protection, which acts as insurance against an item being stolen or damaged for a certain period of time after you buy it.

Here's a look at how purchase protection programs work.

What is purchase protection?

Sometimes called damage protection, purchase protection ensures goods against theft or accidental damage for a limited time. Depending on the credit card, the coverage amount and the duration of the protection may differ. It's important to understand that if you simply lose an item, as opposed to it being stolen, it might not be covered. And you'll usually be required to file a police report if you are claiming it as stolen.

Note that purchase protection is different from price protection and extended warranty coverage, other credit card benefits you might be eligible for. While extended warranty coverage offers more comprehensive damage protection, purchase protection gives you more protection in case of theft.

How to use purchase protection

To take advantage of this benefit, first review your card's benefit statement to see whether you are eligible for reimbursement if a purchase is damaged, stolen or lost.

Keep in mind that if you have a primary insurance policy covering the item, you must file a claim there before approaching your credit card issuer to use purchase protection.

For most claims, you'll typically need to submit:

  • A copy of your credit card statement with the purchase.

  • An itemized receipt from the retailer showing the purchase.

  • A police report (for theft).

  • A copy of the claim settlement from your primary insurance company, if applicable.

  • A copy of your primary insurance declaration page, if applicable.

  • Any other documentation needed to substantiate your claim.

Networks' purchase protection, compared

Visa*

MasterCard*

American Express

Duration

90 days

120 days (90 days for NY residents)

Up to 120 days, varies by card

Coverage

$500 per claim, $50,000 per cardholder

$1,000 per claim, $50,000 per cardholder

$1,000 per claim, $50,000 per year†

What's covered

Theft, damage

Theft, damage

Theft, damage‡

Excluded items

Gift coverage

Gifts are covered as long as they were purchased using an eligible card

Gifts are covered as long as they were purchased using an eligible card

Gifts are covered as long as they were purchased using an eligible card

Cards covered

Eligible Visa Signature cards

Eligible World and World Elite MasterCard cards

Eligible American Express cards

Registration

Purchases are automatically eligible

Purchases are automatically eligible

Purchases are automatically eligible

Additional restrictions

Coverage is secondary

Coverage is secondary

Coverage is secondary

Source

*Benefits may vary by issuer. Check your benefits guide for complete details. †$10,000 per claim, $50,000 per year for the American Express® Gold CardThe Platinum Card® from American Express and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card cardholders ‡For The Platinum Card® from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, American Express® Gold Card, Gold Card, and Ameriprise Gold Card Members Purchase Protection can also help protect your purchases for up to 120 days* from the date of purchase if the item is stolen, accidentally damaged or lost. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. 

The bottom line

Purchase protection offers short-term insurance for your everyday purchases, in case the items are stolen or damaged. However, the damage coverage comes with several exclusions, so you may want to see if your card also offers extended warranty coverage.


To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page.

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