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Note: The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted existing and future travel plans, and turned greater attention to trip insurance. Read our take on specific information concerning travel insurance and COVID-19, or see our comprehensive guide to managing your finances during COVID-19.
When travelers go abroad, many don’t think about travel insurance until something bad happens.
Lucky for those who purchase their trip with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card, they are already covered for the most common travel woes.
Who qualifies for coverage under the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card? More importantly, how can you use your coverage in the worst-case scenario? It’s always best to be empowered with the right information before you leave the country. Here’s what you need to know.
When are cardholders covered?
To qualify for coverage, a portion of the trip must be purchased with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or with Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned from the card. Flight purchases made with Chase Ultimate Rewards transferred to another program will not qualify for travel insurance benefits.
In many situations, travel insurance coverage from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card extends to beyond the primary cardholder. Trip cancellation, trip interruption and baggage coverage extend to family members as well. Additionally, the baggage loss or delay benefits are extended to family members even if the primary cardholder isn’t traveling with them.
» Learn more: Which Chase credit card is right for you?
Rental car benefits are only given to the primary cardholder, who Chase defines as the “person to whom a United States credit card has been issued and your name is embossed on the card.” But if you meet the qualification requirements, any authorized drivers are also included in the rental car coverage.
If an event out of your control prevents you from getting to the airport, trip cancellation benefits may be able to help you recover some of your non-refundable costs. When you pay for your trip using your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or using Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the primary cardholder and their family automatically get trip cancellation benefits up to $10,000.
The trip cancellation benefit applies if a situation arises which prevents you from traveling on or before the departure date. Covered reasons include the accidental illness or injury to the traveler or a companion, severe weather that prevents a trip, or a change in military orders for the cardholder or their spouse or domestic partner.
» Learn more: Oh no, #travelfail? Your credit card’s insurance could bail you out
Despite the name, trip cancellation does not mean cardholders can cancel their trip for any reason, or that all cancellations are covered. Travel arrangements canceled by a common carrier (like an airline or cruise line), tour operator or tour agency may not be covered, unless the cancellation is due to an organized strike or weather. Trip cancellation also does not apply if you are in jail, have a reoccurrence of a pre-existing condition, or are “traveling or flying on any aircraft engaged in flight on a rocket-propelled or rocket launched aircraft.”
Cancellations and delays on a trip can also create interruptions to planned excursions or tours. If everything doesn’t move on schedule, travelers could be out hundreds of dollars in pre-paid plans. But when you pay for your trip with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you could receive up to $10,000 of trip interruption coverage.
The benefit applies to any pre-paid tour, trip or vacation charged to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card at a destination greater than one mile from your primary residence and for a trip that doesn’t exceed 60 days. Covered situations include accidental injury or illness experienced by the traveler, their companion or an immediate family member, severe weather preventing a trip, finding a primary dwelling to be uninhabitable or a quarantine imposed by a physician for health reasons.
» Learn more: Will travel insurance cover weather woes?
Like the trip cancellation benefit, travelers can’t file a claim for common carrier-caused delays. In addition, traveling against a physician’s advice, to receive medical treatment, while on a wait list for specific medical treatment or traveling with a pre-existing condition do not count as a trip interruption.
A delay can happen for any reason, from irregular operations to missing flight crews for aircraft. Depending on how long your flight is delayed, you could get reimbursed for your incidental costs, ranging from meals to a hotel room.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a trip delay benefit of up to $500 for each purchased ticket if you are delayed by 12 hours or more. The reimbursement can cover reasonable expenses, such as food, hotel rooms, toiletries and any medications you may need.
» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained
But if the delay was made public before departing, your delay may not be covered by trip delay insurance. Prepaid expenses are not covered under the trip delay benefit, but could be covered under the trip interruption benefit.
The last thing any traveler wants is the baggage carousel to stop without their bags on it. Those who pay for their trip with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card automatically qualify for baggage delay benefits in the event they arrive at their final destination, but their bags do not.
If luggage is delayed by more than six hours while traveling on a common carrier (such as an airline or train line), the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card baggage delay benefit can reimburse you for up to $100 in essential items per day the luggage is lost. The benefit maximum is five days of delayed luggage, for a total maximum benefit of $500.
Not all emergency items are covered under the benefit. Excluded essential items include contact lenses or glasses, hearing aids, business samples, jewelry, watches, electronic equipment and cell phones. In addition, travelers are only allowed to purchase one cell phone charger under the duration of the benefit.
The term “lost luggage” doesn’t just apply to bags that are never recovered. A luggage loss can also apply to bags damaged by an airline or certain items that are damaged inside the bag.
If your bags are damaged in transit, you could receive the actual cash value (replacement cost less depreciation) for the items lost, damaged or destroyed during handling. The benefit may also extend to repair costs for checked or carry-on luggage.
» Learn more: 4 easy ways to make sure your lost luggage is found
To qualify for this benefit, all losses must be immediately reported to the carrier. A carrier damage report must be submitted with the claim – otherwise, it could be denied.
Auto rental collision damage waiver
The most unsung benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the primary auto rental collision damage waiver. If you rent a car and pay for it with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you could receive reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.
Because the insurance is primary coverage, you would not be forced to file a claim with other insurance sources before filing with the Chase. In order to use this benefit, however, renters must decline the rental company collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver. If the company forces you to purchase their collision damage waiver, you can call Chase for assistance.
How do I file a claim?
To file a claim for any of these benefits, your claim time frame begins the day the loss happens. It’s important to file a claim as soon as possible, as claims can take time to process and provide reimbursement.
Claim information can be found in the benefits guide provided with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card. In addition to filing a claim form, you must provide supporting documentation to prove your loss. This includes reports from your airline or other transportation carrier, receipts for purchases related to the loss, or other proof of items lost, damaged or stolen which may be covered.
Once a claim is approved, it can be reimbursed in as few as five days.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card