While many credit card travel insurances have some great features, it's still important to read the fine print to make sure that your credit card has the right coverage for the adventure you're planning.
Luckily Mozo has done most of the hard work for you and has the low down on credit card travel insurance, which will set any venturesome traveller in good stead!
Types of credit cards offering free travel insurance
Not all credit cards offer travel insurance. Usually complimentary travel insurance is only available on high end cards like gold cards, platinum cards and some rewards credit cards. These credit cards generally have high annual fees because of the extras you get. But if you're a savvy traveller and take more than two trips a year when you compare the annual fee cost to the cost of stand-alone travel insurance, it can be a good deal.
What's covered - the basics of credit card travel insurance
If you decide credit card travel insurance is the best option for you it's important to know what you're covered for (and not covered for), so you don't end up stranded in a foreign country, bitterly wishing you had read the fine print!
Here are some of the standard credit card travel insurance features:
- General cover: The standard amount for credit card travel insurance is $20,000 for items like baggage and property and flight cancellation.
- Who's covered: Usually only the cardholder is covered, though some policies will include your spouse or children under the age of 19 travelling with you. To get coverage for each family member you will have to pay amounts over $900 per person on your credit card for pre-paid travel, such as flights and accommodation.
- Medical insurance: The majority of credit [cards cover international medical insurance which is a big plus. But often they don't cover pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma. If you're pregnant it's important to note that routine pregnancy checks (e.g ultra-sounds) are not insured, however unforeseen pregnancy medical conditions are covered.
- Cash: Show me the money! Many credit card travel insurance policies include cash coverage, which can come in handy for any holiday shopper. Stand-alone travel insurance policies usually cover amounts from $100 to $200 for cash. In comparison, credit card travel insurance can cover up to $500 for an individual and $1000 for a family.
- Baggage and property: Most travel credit cards cover luggage and personal items if stolen but exclude luggage lost at the airport. And if you're unlucky enough to have something stolen insurers often require the original receipt of the item and you may have to contact the police within 24 hours and file a report. There are also some quirks to watch out for. Some insurance will not cover you for items stolen from a public place or unmanned vehicles.
- Injury & accidental death: A morbid topic, we know but it's something that has to be considered when travelling. Most credit cards include accidental death benefits and you're also usually covered if you suffer from illness or become disabled while travelling overseas.
- Rental cars: In the event of a car accident, there is excess cover for rental vehicle insurance.
- Loss of income: Some credit card travel insurance covers up to 3 months for loss of income, up to $750 per week and no more than $75,000 in total.
Tips & tricks to ensure you don't leave home under insured
- Eligibility: If you want to use the travel insurance on your credit card be sure you meet the eligibility requirements. You don't want to be travelling around South America thinking you're insured when you're not! You can't just jump on a plane using your Frequent Flyer Points or grab a cheap flight deal on your debit card and then rely on your credit card for travel insurance. Across the board, credit card travel insurance has to be activated by spending between $500-$1000 on pre-paid transportation costs on the credit card.
- Excesses: When travelling it's upsetting if your stuff gets nicked but you'll be even more upset when you find out that the excess attached to your credit card insurance makes claiming not worthwhile. While standalone travel insurance policies have variable excesses (generally $100 - $300), the excess for credit card travel insurance can be as much as $500.
- Expiry dates: Watch travel expiry dates! Most credit cards are great for short trips of up to 3 months with some providing cover for up to 12 months. But it's important to know that most credit card insurances can't be extended so check how long you'll be covered for once you take off. So if you're planning a long trip or want some flexibility to extend, it might be better to check out stand-alone travel insurance options.
- Domestic travel: Visiting the Great Barrier Reef or Uluru? Most credit card travel insurance doesn't cover domestic travel. You may want to consider some alternative travel insurance for trips around Australia. Some platinum cards offer domestic travel "inconvenience" insurance, which covers extras like flight delays, missed connections or car rental reimbursement.
- Internationally accepted: Another great thing about using a credit card is that they're accepted globally, making them pretty easy to use if you get yourself into a sticky situation.
- Read the fine print: Before leaving on your big adventure, it's important to read your policy carefully and check the fine print. Insurers can be tricky often placing the large claim amount at the beginning of the policy and hiding the exclusions on later pages, which are often the most frequent insurance claims.
And you're away... safe travelling!