Credit card travel insurance guide

Photo by Mark OFlynn on Unsplash

Some credit cards (usually those among the premium range) come coupled with extra benefits, like travel insurance. Checking your eligibility can be as simple as getting in touch with your card provider. 

But keep in mind, the type of travel insurance and the included benefits of the policy your card might offer will vary from provider to provider. So, it’s vital you go through the policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) before agreeing to the cover. Simply put, it might not be what you need for your trip. 

We’ve compiled a comparison of your standard, bundled credit card travel insurance alongside standalone policies, as well as some tips if you’re considering using your card’s included policy.

Credit card travel insurance vs stand-alone travel insurance

Some things which are covered under stand-alone travel insurance may have lower cover limits, or not be included at all in a credit card travel insurance policy. Here’s a brief comparison between the two, across the most common features and considerations:

Pre-existing conditions

Travelling with a pre-existing medical condition can be a daunting prospect. Most stand-alone travel insurance providers will offer cover for pre-existing medical conditions, if you pay the premium. However, bundled credit card travel insurance may not include pre-existing medical conditions under the policy’s cover. It’s always best to read the PDS before accepting your card’s travel insurance terms, to make sure your needs are met. 

Duration limits

Some bundled credit card travel insurance policies limit your trip duration from as short as 1 to 6 months, so it’s worth noting how long you’ll be travelling for and double-checking the policy’s time limits. With stand-alone policies, you’ll have the option to purchase cover from as little as 2 days, up to 18 months. 

Age limits

Many travel insurance policies factor in age when you’re getting a quote. With credit card travel insurance policies, cover may be restricted to those under 75 years old. Some standalone policies may also restrict cover for those deemed at higher-risk ages, but that may only apply to activities, like snow sports cover. 

Eligibility

If you’re interested in using your bundled credit card travel insurance, you may have to meet certain criteria in order to activate this feature. For example, you might have to spend $500-$1,000 on prepaid transportation using your associated credit card. 

Cost

Depending on your credit card fees, a standalone travel insurance policy might end up being cheaper in the long-run. While your bundled credit card travel insurance might be considered complementary, the cost is usually covered by the fees which you’ve paid on your card. 

Legitimacy

The travel insurance included with your credit card is, more often than not, underwritten by the same companies that provide stand-alone travel insurance. So, you can trust that you’ll be looked after in the same way as if you had gone directly to a provider when you use your bundled credit card insurance.

Top five credit card travel insurance tips

  1. Make sure your pre-existing medical conditions are covered. Most credit card travel insurance policies won’t cover these. So, if you have a medical condition, check with your card provider to see if the bundled insurance will cover your ailments. You may be liable for an extra premium, but it’s worthwhile in case something goes wrong. 
  2. Check out the medical cover limits. Credit card travel insurance policies usually include medical cover, to an extent. The ideal cover limits for you will depend on certain factors, like where you’re travelling to, for example. Countries like the USA, Japan, and Europe might have daily hospital bills in the tens of thousands, so make sure you have adequate medical cover on your bundled travel insurance that covers more than a few days in an overseas hospital. If your bundled credit card travel insurance has a limit of $500,000 for medical expenses, then it might be safer to go with a standalone policy, some of which offer unlimited medical cover.
  3. Confirm your cover has started before you leave. If you’re planning to use your bundled card insurance for your holiday, make sure you’ve met the eligibility requirements outlined by the provider, and always seek out confirmation that your policy is active before you leave home. If you don’t have a certificate of insurance with your name on it, then you likely aren’t covered. 
  4. If you’re travelling for an extended period of time, consider a multi-trip standalone policy instead. Due to the shorter time limits offered on credit card travel insurance policies, your cover might expire before you’ve even hit your second destination. A lot of standalone travel insurance providers offer multi-trip travel insurance, which can cover multiple journeys over the course of a year – often including 365 straight days of jet-setting. 
  5. Thrill-seekers might prefer a standalone policy, with add-ons for extreme sports and adventure activities. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, or just like the rush provided by plummeting towards the earth after jumping from a plane (skydiving), then credit card travel insurance policies probably aren’t what you’re after. A standalone policy is a better option, with extras like snow travel insurance, activities packs, and even motorcycle and moped riding available.

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Compare credit cards - last updated 18 August 2022

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