Travel Insurance Benefits on American Express Credit Cards

Elina GellerSeptember 21, 2020
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Thinking about getting travel insurance? Good, but before you purchase a standalone policy, 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.

Typically, standalone policies offer more robust coverage, but depending on your needs, the included travel insurance perks provided by your AmEx credit card may be sufficient if you’re looking for cancellation, delay or rental car and baggage coverage. If you’re mainly concerned with emergency health coverage while traveling, you’re better off with a standalone medical insurance policy because the benefits provided by credit cards are limited in those areas.

Here's what you need to know about six travel insurance benefits offered on many American Express cards:

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 missing a 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.

Eligible cards

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 1-844-933-0648.

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 here 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.

Eligible cards and reimbursement amount

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 either $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.

American Express lists over 50 different cards on their 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.

Eligible cards and reimbursement amounts

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.

Eligible cards

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 1-800-345-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).

Eligible cards

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.

FAQ

Do I have travel insurance with my American Express card?

Yes, if you have one of the cards listed above. If you have a credit card that isn’t listed in this guide or the card is no longer available by American Express, call the number on the back of your card for more information. Generally, AmEx offers a number of travel insurance benefits on its credit cards that shouldn't be overlooked.

Does an American Express card cover trip cancellation?

Yes, but it depends on which card you have. To qualify for reimbursement, the trip cancellation must be for a covered reason. Refer to the section "Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance" for a list of cards and explanations of covered reasons.

How good is the travel insurance provided by AmEx cards?

American Express offers a solid range of travel insurance protection across its credit cards, with the premium cards providing the most coverage. However, if you need insurance benefits with higher limits, we recommend purchasing a separate travel insurance policy. If you only need emergency medical coverage, there are policies that provide that as well.

What would I do if something happens on my trip?

Call the number on the back of your card to ask for guidance. Some benefits may require authorization from American Express before coverage kicks in, so make sure you follow all the correct steps for reimbursement.

I need to submit a claim to American Express, how can I do that?

Refer to the AmEx credit card policy for the specific benefit because it will include instructions for submitting a claim. If you cannot find the policy, you should call the customer service number on the back of your American Express card for more assistance.

The bottom line

AmEx offers a wide array of travel insurance benefits, especially on its premium cards. Knowing what benefits are available to you is important in the event of unforeseen circumstances. It makes sense to familiarize yourself with these policies in case something goes wrong.

All information about The Platinum Card® from American ExpressBusiness Green Rewards Card from American ExpressDelta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, American Express® Green CardDelta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardAmex EveryDay® Credit Card and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Platinum Card® from American ExpressBusiness Green Rewards Card from American Express, Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, American Express® Green CardDelta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Blue American Express CardAmex EveryDay® Credit Card and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express are no longer available through NerdWallet.

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