The Guide to American Express Travel Insurance

Travel insurance by AmEx can be bought outright or included as a perk for eligible cards.
Elina Geller
By Elina Geller 
Edited by Meg Lee

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American Express has two different types of travel insurance offerings: standalone travel insurance plans that customers can purchase and travel insurance that is included as a complimentary benefit on certain cards. 

So if you’re thinking about getting travel insurance before a trip, get familiar with American Express travel insurance benefits that are included on your credit cards. Knowing what protections you already have will prevent you from spending money on a separate policy with benefits that overlap.

American Express travel insurance vs. coverage provided by AmEx cards

A standalone travel insurance policy from American Express may offer more robust coverage, but depending on your needs, the travel insurance perks provided by your AmEx card may be sufficient. 

If you primarily want specific coverage for cancellations, delays or rental cars and baggage, it’s likely your card will be enough.

If, however, you’re mainly concerned with emergency health coverage while traveling, you’re better off with a separate medical insurance policy because the benefits provided by credit cards are limited in those areas. You can purchase this from American Express directly or shop around other travel insurance companies.

Complimentary travel insurance provided by AmEx cards

There are six travel insurance benefits offered on many American Express cards:

Here's a closer look at each.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

Trip cancellation will protect you if you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason (more below), and you will be reimbursed for any nonrefundable amounts paid to a travel supplier with your AmEx card. Bookings made with Membership Reward Points are also eligible for reimbursement. Travel suppliers are generally defined as airlines, tour operators, cruise companies or other common carriers.

Trip interruption coverage applies if you experience a covered loss on your way to the point of departure or after departure. AmEx will reimburse you if you miss your flight or incur additional transportation expenses due to the interruption. American Express considers the following to be covered reasons:

  • Accidental injuries.

  • Illness (must have proof from doctor).

  • Inclement weather.

  • Change in military orders.

  • Terrorist acts.

  • Non-postponable jury duty or subpoena by a court.

  • An event occurring that makes the traveler’s home uninhabitable.

  • Quarantine imposed by a doctor for medical reasons.

There are many reasons that are specifically called out as not covered (e.g., preexisting conditions, war, self-harm, fraud and more), so we recommend checking the terms of your coverage carefully.

If you want a higher level of coverage for trip cancellation, consider purchasing cancel for any reason (CFAR) travel insurance. CFAR is an optional upgrade available on some standalone travel insurance plans. This supplementary benefit allows you to cancel a trip for any reason and get a partial refund of your nonrefundable deposit.

Alternately, if you want what essentially amounts to CFAR insurance on your flights specifically, purchase your fares through the AmEx Travel portal and tack on Trip Cancel Guard for an extra fee. Trip Cancel Guard guarantees you an up to 75% refund on nonrefundable airfare costs when you cancel at least two days before departure, regardless of why. This isn't as comprehensive as other CFAR policies, but it can add some peace of mind for people who want the cash back (as opposed to a travel credit) for flights they may not take.

AmEx cards with trip cancellation, interruption coverage

The following American Express credit cards offer trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage:

Terms apply.

Covered amount

The maximum reimbursed amount for the trip cancellation benefit is $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per year. The trip interruption benefit is also $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per year. Coverage is secondary and applies after your primary policy provides reimbursement. Claims must be filed within 60 days. To start a claim, call 844-933-0648.

Trip delay insurance

This benefit will reimburse you for reasonable, additional expenses incurred if a trip is delayed by a certain number of hours. Examples of eligible expenses include meals, lodging, toiletries, medication and other charges that are deemed appropriate by American Express. It makes sense to use your judgment in terms of what will get approved based on your policy's fine print.

Acceptable delays include those that are caused by weather, terrorist actions, carrier equipment failure, or lost/stolen passports or travel documents. There are also plenty of exclusions, such as intentional acts by the traveler.

AmEx cards with trip delay insurance

The reimbursable amount depends on which card you hold, and you are allowed two claims per 12-month period. As expected, the more premium travel credit cards offer higher compensation for shorter delays. Trip delay insurance is offered on the following American Express credit cards:

Card

Length of delay

Reimbursement amount

The Platinum Card® from American Express

6 hours.

$500.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

6 hours.

$500.

American Express® Gold Card

12 hours.

$300.

American Express® Business Gold Card

12 hours.

$300.

American Express® Green Card

12 hours.

$300.

Centurion® Card from American Express

6 hours.

$500.

Business Centurion® Card from American Express

6 hours.

$500.

The Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express

6 hours.

$500.

The Platinum Card® from American Express for Ameriprise Financial

6 hours.

$500.

The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab

6 hours.

$500.

The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs

6 hours.

$500.

The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley

6 hours.

$500.

Corporate Platinum Card®

6 hours.

$500.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

6 hours.

$500.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card

6 hours.

$500.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

6 hours.

$500.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

6 hours.

$500.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

12 hours.

$300.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

12 hours.

$300.

Terms apply.

Car rental loss and damage insurance

When you decline the collision damage waiver offered by the car rental agency, you will be covered if the car is damaged or stolen through your AmEx Travel Insurance. Depending on the card you have, the coverage is $50,000 or $75,000.

In addition, the cards offering car rental damage and theft insurance up to of $75,000 also provide secondary benefits:

  • Accidental death or dismemberment coverage.

  • Accidental injury coverage.

  • Car rental personal property coverage.

To qualify, you must decline the personal accident coverage and personal effects insurance provided by your car rental company.

The entire rental must be charged on the American Express credit card to receive coverage for car rental loss and damage. And keep in mind that you do still need liability insurance when making your rental car reservation (you may have this through your personal auto insurance policy), as these credit card-provided coverage options don't include personal liability.

AmEx cards with car rental coverage

American Express lists over 50 different cards on its site that come with one of the two forms of car rental insurance. Cards that link to the Tier 1 policies are the $50,000-coverage cards, and Tier 2 policies are the $75,000 cards.

The amount reimbursed is calculated as whichever is lowest:

  • The cost to repair the rental car.

  • The wholesale book value (minus salvage and depreciation).

  • The invoice purchase price (minus salvage and depreciation).

Here are some key exclusions to be aware of with this coverage:

  • These policies don't cover theft or damage that was caused by a driver’s illegal operation of the car, operation under the influence of drugs/alcohol or damage caused by any acts of war.

  • Policies don't cover drivers not named as "authorized drivers" on your rental agreement.

  • The benefit only covers car rentals up to 30 consecutive days.

  • Not all cars are included in the policy. Certain trucks, vans, limousines, motorcycles and campers are excluded from coverage.

  • Insurance protection doesn't apply in Australia, Italy, New Zealand and any country subject to U.S. sanctions.

You can file a claim online or call toll-free in the U.S. at 800-338-1670. From overseas, call collect 216-617-2500. Your claim must be filed within 30 days of the loss. Additionally, some benefits vary by state, so check the policy for your specific card.

Baggage insurance

As an American Express cardholder, you are eligible to receive compensation if your luggage is lost or stolen. This benefit is in addition to what you may receive from the carrier. However, the AmEx policy is secondary, which means that it kicks in after the carrier provides any compensation for losses.

AmEx provides this insurance to "covered persons," who are defined as:

  • The cardmember.

  • Their spouse or domestic partner.

  • Their dependent children who are under 23 years old (there are age exceptions for handicap children).

  • Some business travelers (Tier 2 coverage only).

To qualify, all covered individuals need to be traveling on the same reservation and must be residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AmEx cards with baggage insurance

Naturally, the higher-end cards offer more protection — but even the basic cards have decent coverage. The compensation limits per person are as follows (note that the maximum payout per covered person for lost luggage is $3,000 on all of these cards).

Below are the limits for cardholders of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab, The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs, The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Centurion® Card from American Express and Business Centurion® Card from American Express:

  • Baggage in-transit to/from common carrier: $3,000.

  • Carry-on baggage: $3,000.

  • Checked luggage: $2,000.

  • Combined maximum: $3,000.

  • High-end items: $1,000.

And here are the coverage limits for cardholders of the American Express® Gold Card, American Express® Business Gold Card, American Express® Green Card, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card:

  • Baggage in-transit to/from common carrier: $1,250.

  • Carry-on baggage: $1,250.

  • Checked luggage: $500.

  • Combined maximum: $3,000.

  • High-end items: $250.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, the Hilton Honors American Express Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express no longer offer baggage insurance protections.

AmEx also offers limited reimbursement for high-end items (coverage varies by card), such as:

  • Jewelry.

  • Sports equipment.

  • Photography or electronic equipment.

  • Computers and audiovisual equipment.

  • Wearable technology.

  • Furs (including items made mostly of fur and those trimmed/lined with fur).

  • Items made fully or partially of gold, silver or platinum.

Terms apply.

Claims must be filed within 30 days of your baggage loss. To file a claim, call 800-645-9700 from the U.S. or collect to 303-273-6498 if overseas. You can also file a claim online.

Premium Global Assist

This benefit helps with events like replacing a lost passport, missing luggage assistance, emergency legal and medical referrals, and in some instances, emergency medical transportation assistance.

The service can also help you figure out important travel-related details like customs information, currency information, travel warnings, tourist office locations, foreign exchange rates, vaccine recommendations for the country you’re visiting, passport/visa requirements and weather forecasts.

AmEx cards with Premium Global Assist

Premium Global Assistance is offered on the following American Express credit cards:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

  • Centurion® Card from American Express.

  • Business Centurion® Card from American Express.

  • The Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express.

  • The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs.

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley.

  • Corporate Platinum Card®.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card.

  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

Terms apply.

Services provided by Premium Global Assist Hotline

The hotline isn’t so much a concierge as a service that provides logistical assistance, which can include the following:

General travel advice

  • Emergency translation if you need an interpreter to help with legal or medical documents (cost isn't covered).

  • Lost item search if your belongings are lost while traveling.

  • Missing luggage assistance if an airline loses your luggage. The hotline will contact your airline on a daily basis on your behalf to help locate your bags.

  • Passport/credit card assistance if your credit card or passport is lost or stolen.

  • Urgent message relay if you need to contact a family member and/or friend in the event of an emergency.

Medical assistance

  • Emergency medical transportation assistance if the cardmember or another covered family member traveling on the same itinerary gets sick or injured and needs medical treatment (there are many conditions for this coverage; review your policy’s fine print).

  • Physician referral if you need a doctor or dentist (cardmember is responsible for costs).

  • Repatriation of remains in the event of death.

Financial assistance

  • Emergency wire service to get help obtaining cash (fees will be reimbursed).

  • Emergency hotel check in/out if your card has been lost or stolen.

Legal assistance

  • Bail bond assistance if you need access to an agency that accepts AmEx (cardmember is responsible for paying bail bond fees).

  • Embassy and consulate referral if you need help finding or accessing local embassies.

  • English-speaking lawyer referral if you’re traveling and need a list of available attorneys (cardmember is responsible for any legal fees).

To use this benefit, call the Premium Global Assist Hotline toll-free at 800-345-AMEX (2639). You can also call collect at 715-343-7979.

Global Assist Hotline

The main difference between the Global Assist Hotline and the Premium version is that some of the services that are fully covered by Premium Global Assist aren't covered in the more basic version (cited examples include emergency medical transportation assistance and repatriation of mortal remains).

AmEx cards with Global Assist Hotline access

The Global Assist Hotline is available to holders of the following cards:

  • American Express® Gold Card.

  • American Express® Business Gold Card.

  • American Express® Green Card.

  • Business Green Rewards Card from American Express.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

  • Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.

  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

  • Hilton Honors American Express Card.

  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card.

  • Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card.

  • The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express.

  • Amex EveryDay® Credit Card.

  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

  • American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card.

  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.

Terms apply.

You can call the Global Assist Hotline toll-free at 800-333-AMEX (2639), or collect at 715-343-7977.

Standalone American Express travel insurance plans

If you don’t have any of the credit cards above and are thinking about purchasing a policy from American Express or just simply want to price compare to see if you get better perks by purchasing a policy, you can go to the AmEx travel insurance website and input your trip plans to build a quote. You’ll need to provide your departure and return date, state of residence, age of traveler, number of travelers covered by the policy and the trip cost per traveler. Then, you can select the option of choosing a package or building your own.

To see which plans are available, we input a sample $3,000, one-week trip by a 35-year-old from South Dakota. Our search result yielded four different plans ranging from $59 for a Basic plan to $208 for a Platinum plan.

Global medical protection (not included on AmEx cards)

Medical protection includes coverage for emergency healthcare and dental costs as well as medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. The limits increase as the plans become more expensive. Although AmEx cards offer an array of travel insurance benefits, medical coverage isn't included. So if medical protection benefits are important to you, a standalone travel insurance policy is what you’ll want to look for.

Travel accident protection (not included on AmEx cards)

Another benefit not included with AmEx cards is travel accident protection. This benefit provides coverage in case of death or dismemberment while traveling. Although this is a topic no one wants to think about, it's good to be familiar with this coverage. While travel accident protection isn’t offered on the Basic plan, all of the higher plans offer it.

Standalone policy benefits that are also included on AmEx cards

These elements of coverage are offered on the AmEx cards mentioned, although in some, the limits may be higher or lower.

Trip cancellation

The Basic plan only covers a trip up to $1,000, however, all the other plans cover 100% of the trip cost. To compare this with the perks included as a benefit on the cards, all AmEx cards that include trip cancellation coverage provide up to $10,000 per covered trip. Keep in mind that, all the cards included have annual fees and the card with the lowest fee is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, with a $450 annual fee. 

Trip interruption

Trip interruption coverage ranges from $1,000 on a Basic plan to 150% of trip cost on the Gold and Platinum plans. The trip interruption benefit offered by the AmEx cards is included on all the same cards that offer trip cancellation insurance, with the trip interruption limit capped at $10,000 per covered trip. 

Global baggage protection

If your luggage is lost or stolen this benefit will provide monetary compensation to reimburse you for your lost items. AmEx cards offer baggage coverage as a complimentary benefit, with the higher-end cards naturally providing higher limits. Interestingly, the cards with the lower annual fees (i.e. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, annual fee $95 ) have a high limit as well, offering a total combined limit for lost luggage of $3,000, which is higher than the coverage offered by the standalone Platinum plan.

Global trip delay

If your trip is delayed, you’re eligible for reimbursement of any necessary expenses incurred up to a specific limit. The Basic plan doesn’t offer this benefit, but all the other plans do, with the Platinum plan providing up to $300 per day (maximum of $1,000 per trip). This coverage is also included on the higher-end AmEx cards.

Should you use the complimentary benefits or purchase a policy?

AmEx cards offer key travel insurance benefits: trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, baggage insurance, Premium Global Assist Hotline (or Global Assist Hotline). However, they don't offer any sort of emergency medical coverage. This is pretty typical of travel credit cards, as the travel insurance perks they offer don't provide coverage for emergency health care costs.

If you’re looking for emergency medical coverage, you’ll need to purchase a separate policy, such as the standalone one offered by American Express. The other limits provided in the American Express travel insurance policy are comparable to what you get on the AmEx cards, so it makes sense to shop around to make sure that the benefits you’re paying for are sufficient for your needs.

AmEx travel insurance recapped

American Express travel insurance offers a wide array of benefits, especially on its premium cards. Knowing what benefits are available to you is important in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Determine whether an individual policy is a better fit for your risk tolerance than coverage that is included on an eligible card, then go from there.

All information about The Platinum Card® from American Express, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, American Express® Green Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Centurion® Card from American Express, Business Centurion® Card from American Express, The Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express, The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab, The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs, The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley, The Corporate Platinum Card® and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Platinum Card® from American Express, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, American Express® Green Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, Centurion® Card from American Express, Business Centurion® Card from American Express, The Corporate Centurion® Card from American Express, The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab, The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs, The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley, The Corporate Platinum Card® and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card are no longer available through NerdWallet.


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