Typically when you book a trip, you’re not thinking of losing baggage, losing your vision, or losing your life (yikes!).
But sadly, this stuff happens.
So why do we seem to ignore travel insurance when we book that dream vacation? The same kinds of accidents can happen when you’re traveling that can when you’re home—and it’s best to be covered.
More and more credit card issuers are removing (or lessening) their unique travel insurance benefits and replacing them with travel rewards perks, such as miles and points.
While you will be able to find some basic coverage on other credit cards, we felt that these cards were the best of the bunch when it comes to added, unique travel insurance benefits.
Best credit cards for travel insurance overview:
|Credit Card||Travel Benefits Offered|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption|
|Travel Accident Insurance|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption|
|Travel Accident Insurance|
In-depth analysis of credit cards for travel insurance
A monster of an up-front bonus; 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
What We Like:
A monster of an up-front bonus; 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Points are worth 25% more when you redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best credit cards you can get overall. It also features some of the best travel insurance perks.
Let’s take a look at what it offers by way of travel insurance.
Trip cancellation/Trip interruption insurance
The Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance covers you in severe situations where your trip may be cut short or canceled.
For instance, if you get violently ill while traveling abroad, you may qualify. Also, when extreme weather situations occur, and you need to either cancel or come home early, you may be eligible for reimbursement.
Chase covers you up to $10,000 per trip (or $20,000 per occurrence) on any pre-paid and non-refundable travel expenses. This includes things such as hotels and tours.
Baggage delay insurance
If your baggage is delayed by more than six hours, Chase will provide reimbursement (up to $100 per day, maximum of five days) under its Baggage Delay Insurance for the emergency purchase of any essential items to get you by.
This includes things like clothes, contact solution, deodorant, or any other necessities.
Trip delay reimbursement
With the Trip Delay Reimbursement, Chase will cover you if your airline, bus, cruise ship, or train are delayed for more than 12 hours and you’re required to stay somewhere overnight because of it. You as the cardholder get coverage, but so do your spouse and dependent children under the age of 22.
You can get up to $500 reimbursement per ticket purchased, and it’ll cover things like meals, hotel stays, medication, or any other personal use items (some exceptions apply) that you’ll need to purchase due to the trip being delayed.
If you plan on driving, you’ll also get Roadside Dispatch coverage. While you’re only covered in the United States and Canada, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with Roadside Dispatch coverage that’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
You call the 800 number that Chase provides to get things like towing (up to five miles), tire changes, battery jump starts, lockout service (they won’t replace your keys), and fuel delivery (up to five gallons, and they won’t pay for your gas).
That’s almost as good as having a AAA membership—and it comes complimentary with the card. One thing to note is that Chase won’t cover you if you’re going “off-road”—meaning you’re driving on areas that aren’t common roadways.
Lost luggage reimbursement
The Lost Luggage Reimbursement covers you if your checked and/or carry-on luggage is lost by the carrier (including if it’s stolen). You can get reimbursed up to $3,000 per person, per covered trip on the contents.
There are exceptions on what’s covered, but this is mostly used for valuable items like jewelry and electronics.
Travel accident insurance
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you two types of Travel Accident Insurance, and it’s important to understand both.
- Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance covers you when you’re riding on, entering, or exiting a “common carrier”—most likely a plane, train, bus, or cruise ship.
- 24 hour travel accident insurance, on the other hand, covers you from the departure date on your ticket to the return date on your ticket. If it’s longer than 30 days, there are additional rules.
This insurance provides coverage for things like accidental death or dismemberment, and the loss of speech, sight, or hearing. It’s morbid to think about, but a nice benefit to have in case one of these extreme events does occur to you or a loved one.
The main difference between the two is the amount of coverage—Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance covers you up to $500,000, while 24-hour Travel Accident Insurance covers you up to $100,000.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is hands-down, one of the best credit cards you can own overall. In addition to a large bonus for signing up and an excellent rewards program, it gives you some of the best travel insurance benefits around.
Awesome $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter, plus earn 1% on all other purchases. 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 16.49% – 25.24%.
What We Like:
Awesome $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter, plus earn 1% on all other purchases.
0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 16.49% – 25.24%.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a very flexible card.
Not surprisingly, it also features some terrific travel insurance benefits, not to mention it offers a whopping 5% cash back on all travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus new cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers coverage if your trip gets cut short or canceled due to any number of extreme circumstances.
The coverage on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is $6,000 per trip on any pre-paid and non-refundable travel expenses. Also, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, this includes expenses like lodging and pre-paid tours.
Emergency assistance services
One of the nicest travel features with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is the emergency assistance they offer. If you run into any issues when you’re traveling, all you have to do is call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals, or any other travel and emergency assistance.
One thing to note here, however, is that you will be responsible for the cost of any goods or services obtained after you call.
Cell phone protection
If something ever happens to your cell phone while you’re traveling, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has you covered. You can get up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection. This will include protection against covered theft or damage for any phones you pay for with your card.
Note that you can only make a maximum of two claims in a 12 month period with a $50 deductible per claim. But, hopefully you don’t break or lose your phone more than once per year!
I personally look at the Chase Freedom Flex℠ as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s little brother. Don’t read that in a negative way – it’s one of the best cards you can get for travel insurance, and overall. But the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card® offers more (albeit, with an annual fee).
I think it comes down to how much you are planning to spend on the card and if you want to pay an annual fee or not. If you’re planning to spend more than about $10,000 per year on a credit card, go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If not, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is your best bet.
There are plenty of credit cards out there that offer excellent travel insurance benefits, so you may be wondering how we came up with this list of the top credit cards for travel insurance. First, know that many credit cards didn’t make the cut for this list.
We consider the cards on the list above our absolute favorites because they offer the most travel insurance perks above and beyond what a standard credit card would give you.
Things like baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and roadside dispatch don’t come with any old credit card. So we researched to find you the absolute best options for insurance when you’re traveling.
What is credit card travel insurance?
In a nutshell, credit card travel insurance is an added benefit to credit cards that can do a variety of things. Most importantly, it provides you coverage should you be injured or become sick while traveling.
Credit card travel insurance can also give you reimbursements if you miss a flight, your flight is delayed, you lose or have your luggage delayed, or even if your trip gets canceled or cut short due to severe weather.
Restrictions and amounts covered are different depending on which credit card issuer you go with, as well as a number of other factors like what type of credit card it is (i.e. Visa versus Mastercard). That’s why we’ve done the work for you.
Should you get a credit card with travel insurance?
Anyone who travels out of the country on a semi-regular basis should absolutely get a credit card with travel insurance. There are plenty of benefits to getting a travel rewards credit card anyway, but you’d be silly not to get a card that offers additional protections for traveling.
Imagine being stranded in a remote town because your flight was delayed and you’ve lost all of your luggage. That’s not only a huge inconvenience, but you’ll have to fork over money for a hotel and basics, such as a toothbrush and clothing. A card with excellent travel insurance will cover you for these things.
Be sure to check the specifics with the card you end up choosing, because this information may vary slightly. That being said, these are some of the most commonly asked questions (and their answers).
Will I be covered if I change my mind about a trip?
In nearly every case, no. Trip cancellation insurance/trip interruption insurance is reserved for severe circumstances.
For example, severe weather that prevents you from going on or continuing your trip or a sickness experienced by you as the cardholder or a family member that’s going with you.
Who is covered?
Usually you as the cardholder are covered with travel insurance, and in many cases your immediate (spouse and children) family members are covered, too.
How do I prove what was in my lost luggage?
You have to file a claim with your airline carrier first, and prove that you’ve done that. Then you file a claim with your card issuer, and they’ll reimburse you for what was in your luggage. There’s rarely a way for you to “prove” what was in your bag, so you file the claim and they can approve or deny it.
For example, Chase says this about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:
“Included within the maximum benefit amount of $3,000 is coverage for jewelry, watches and electronics, up to $500 per insured person per covered trip”
Is pregnancy or childbirth considered an applicable event for travel accident insurance?
No. If you give birth while on your trip and you run into medical expenses, delays in your trip, or any other type of expense—it won’t count as travel accident insurance.
If you have additional questions about the specifics of your plan, contact your card issuer before booking your travel so you know what is and what isn’t covered.
If you’re looking primarily for travel rewards, be sure to check out our full list of the best travel rewards cards, but if your primary focus is travel insurance—we recommend you sign up for either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Freedom Flex℠.