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9 Credit Cards That Provide Travel Insurance

Jan. 29, 2020
Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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Travel insurance helps you get your money back when things go wrong with your trip. And it remains a debate: Do you really need it, and is it worth it?

Personally, I’ve often skipped travel insurance, preferring to put the extra money toward my trip. Yet as I pulled into the airport after a winter ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in my SUV rental, a snowplow kicked up a rock and a crack extended across the windshield.

Thankfully, I had rented my car with my Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and it covered rental car windshield reimbursement. Terms apply. I had also skipped the car rental insurance coverage, which is a requirement to have credit card coverage kick in.

A number of credit cards provide various types of travel insurance (including car rental loss and damage insurance) when you use your card to pay for flights, rental cars and other travel expenses. So do you need additional travel insurance? Maybe not.

» Learn more: Does trip insurance cover award flights?

What does your travel insurance cover?

First, let’s look at the different types of coverage that your credit card may offer to help protect your trip, from your bags to your rental car to your health.

  • Baggage delay. If your luggage doesn’t arrive when you do, you may receive a reimbursement to offset the costs of having to purchase new attire and other items you may need. The length of delay required and the coverage offered varies by card.
  • Lost/damaged baggage. If your bags are lost or damaged by a carrier, or items have been stolen from your baggage, your provider may provide monetary compensation.
  • Trip delay. If your trip on a common carrier is delayed, you may receive monetary compensation to help cover meals, hotels, transportation and necessary purchases up to a certain amount per ticket.
  • Trip cancellation. If you need to cancel a prepaid, nonrefundable trip, you may receive compensation to offset the lost funds. This benefit generally applies to cancellations for covered reasons, which vary by card.
  • Medical treatment. If you are hurt while traveling and require medical treatment, medical expenses may be covered up to a certain dollar amount.
  • Medical evacuation. If your illness or injury requires you to return home immediately for care, the insurance coverage through your card may cover the costs.
  • Travel accident insurance. In the case of accidental death or dismemberment, your credit card may provide coverage to you or to your beneficiary
  • Rental car insurance. This coverage provides protection to your rental car against theft and damage. Coverage may be primary or secondary to your personal auto insurance, depending on the card.
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» Learn more: Should you insure your cruise?

Which rewards credit cards provide travel insurance?

Some of the best travel rewards credit cards include various forms of travel insurance. These are a few of our favorite cards that offer certain types of coverage. If you have a different travel rewards card, it’s a good idea to check the benefits of your card before assuming that it either does or doesn’t have any of the coverage listed here.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.
  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.
  • Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
  • Travel accident: Up to $500,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Up to the actual cash value of the car.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.
  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

  • Lost luggage: Up to $2,000 for checked bag and up to $3,000 for checked and carry-on bag.
  • Travel accident insurance. Up to $500,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Up to $75,000.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for three days.
  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $250,000 to $500,000 (Visa Platinum and Visa Signature, respectively).
  • Rental car insurance: Up to actual cash value of vehicle.

United℠ Explorer Card

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for three days.
  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.
  • Trip cancellation: Up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.
  • Travel accident insurance. Up to $500,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Covers damage or theft with restrictions.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

  • Lost luggage: Up to $1,250 per person.
  • Medical treatment/evacuation: Up to $3,500,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Up to $50,000.

Terms apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Travel accident insurance. Up to $500,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Up to $75,000.

Terms apply.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per carrier for three days.
  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Travel accident insurance. Up to $500,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Up to $75,000.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 

  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $250,000.
  • Rental car insurance: Covers damage or theft with restrictions.

Do I need additional travel insurance?

Even with the coverage listed above, some credit cards offering travel insurance benefits may not provide enough insurance for your needs. For example, if you have paid $10,000 for a vacation using your card and trip cancellation is not offered, you may want to purchase additional coverage. Likewise, if you book a very expensive trip but your card only covers $10,000 in trip cancellation coverage, you may want to consider additional coverage.

American Express offers full travel insurance options through AmEx Assurance. This specific benefit is available to all travelers and does not require an American Express card. You can pick and choose the coverage you want, and a quote will be processed based on your age, trip expense and days traveling.

For example, here’s what we found when requesting insurance for a two-day trip that costs $1,000. You can decide what coverage you’d like and see the full cost of your options:

  • The quote we received covered 100% reimbursement for cancellation, then offered different levels for other types of coverage.
  • Medical protection was available for $25,000 to $100,000.
  • Travel accident protection was available for $250,000 to $1,500,000.
  • Baggage protection was available for up to $500 to $2,500.
  • Trip delay coverage was offered for $150 to $1,000 per day, depending on selecting basic, silver, gold or premium options.

When renting a car, be sure to check the specific requirements of your credit card, which may vary by location and type of vehicle.

So do you need travel insurance? A good rule of thumb is if the amount you could lose is more than you want to lose (or can afford to lose) if something goes wrong, get the insurance. For a list of travel insurance companies that provide online quotes, read more about how to find the best travel insurance.

The bottom line

If you are concerned about an upcoming trip and want to be fully protected, combine your travel credit card insurance with a build-your-own plan to cover what your credit card does not.

All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has been collected independently by NerdWallet . The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card are no longer available through NerdWallet.

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:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Airline travel insurance vs. independent travel insurance: Which is right for you?
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

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