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How to activate free travel insurance cover on your credit card

Friday, 11 December 2015

Posted by Kelly Emmerton

One of the biggest perks of having a premium or travel friendly credit card in your pocket is the complimentary travel insurance that comes with it. While it’s a great freebie, the fine print can be a killer and there would be nothing worse than being mid-trip and find yourself wondering just whether or not you are covered.

You can stop scratching your head! To ensure your travel insurance is activated before you jetset overseas, we’ve rounded up the major Australian credit card providers who offer complimentary credit card travel insurance for personal credit cards along with their activation requirements.

CommBank

Underwritten by: Allianz

Eligible Commonwealth Bank Credit Cards:

  • Commonwealth Bank Gold Awards Credit Card
  • Commonwealth Bank Platinum Awards Credit Card
  • Commonwealth Bank Diamond Awards Credit Card
How to activate: To be eligible for complimentary travel insurance on your CommBank credit card, you need to:
  • Have a return ticket from Australia
  • Pay for $1,000 of your prepaid travel expenses either by charging it to your CommBank credit card, or by redeeming your Commonwealth Rewards points.

Once you meet this criteria, there are two options.
Do nothing: CommBank’s base travel insurance cover is automatically applied, so you don’t have to lift a finger. But base cover only covers you for medical and hospital expenses, emergency medical assistance and personal liability.
Activate comprehensive cover via NetBank: to access many more benefits like cover for your luggage or cancellation fees, before you travel log into your Netbank account and follow the prompts to activate your free cover. You have to do this each time you travel to be covered under an activated travel insurance policy; if you forget, you’ll go back to base cover.

What prepaid travel costs count? The $1,000 spend requirement can go towards your return ticket, accommodation, or organised tours on your trip. If you’re redeeming rewards points, you can do this at Flight Centre.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? Yep, as long as they are travelling with you (the cardholder) for the duration of the trip.

NAB

Underwritten by: QBE

    Eligible NAB Credit Cards
  • NAB Premium Card
  • NAB flybuys Rewards Card
  • NAB Qantas Rewards Premium Card
How to activate: NAB offers a range of insurance plans and cool perks on its credit cards and each one is activated in a slightly different way. For your overseas travel insurance plan, you need to:
  • Have an eligible card
  • Have a return flight from Australia
  • Before leaving for your trip, spend $500 on your prepaid travel costs

What prepaid travel costs count? Your return flights, transport, accommodation or tours DO count, but travellers cheques or foreign currency DON’T. To qualify, you need to use your card or card details to purchase these items - just using the account linked to your debit card (e.g. Bpay or PayPal) won’t activate your travel insurance plan.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? Yes, but remember that they will also need a return ticket for the trip and a $500 spend each on prepaid travel costs, paid on your eligible card.

ANZ

Underwritten by: QBE

Eligible ANZ Credit Cards:

  • ANZ Frequent Flyer Platinum
  • ANZ Rewards Platinum
  • ANZ Low Rate Platinum
  • ANZ Platinum
  • ANZ Frequent Flyers Black
  • ANZ Rewards Black
How to activate: At $250, ANZ has one of the lowest thresholds for activation. To activate your ANZ travel insurance, all you need to do is:
  • Have one of the above eligible cards
  • Use it to purchase just $250 of your prepaid travel costs
  • Have a return flight from Australia

What prepaid travel costs count? This can include flights, other transport, accommodation or tours for you and your spouse or dependent children. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use your reward points towards your $250 payment.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? As long as they are travelling with you, have a return ticket and $250 of their prepaid travel costs have been paid on your ANZ card.

Westpac

Underwritten by: QBE

Eligible Westpac Credit Cards:

  • Westpac Altitude Black (including Qantas)
  • Westpac 55 Day Platinum Card (Platinum A)
  • Westpac Altitude Platinum (including Qantas) (Platinum B)
How to activate: It’s easy! To activate you must have:
  • A return ticket
  • An eligible card
  • Paid for $500 of your prepaid travel costs with that card before leaving Australia

What prepaid travel costs count? Your return flight, accommodation, other travel while you’re away and any tours that might be on your itinerary can be included in the $500 figure.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? You bet! Just as long as they also have a return ticket and $500 of their travel costs have been paid on the card as well.

Keep in mind that with Westpac’s complimentary travel insurance, there will be slightly different benefit limits if you’re using a Black or Platinum A card than there is using a Platinum B or Gold card. For example, on the former, you’ll get up to $5,000 on each item of lost or damaged luggage, while on the latter you’ll only get up to $3,500.

American Express

Underwritten by: ACE

Eligible AMEX Credit Cards:

  • Qantas AMEX Ultimate
  • Qantas AMEX Premium
  • AMEX Platinum Edge Credit Card
  • AMEX Velocity Platinum Credit Card
  • David Jones AMEX Platinum

How to activate: Your travel insurance cover starts when you:

  • Buy a return ticket from Australia
  • Pay for the full fare of that ticket with your AMEX card or by redeeming Membership Rewards points with one of AMEX’s 10 airline transfer partners.

What prepaid travel costs count? This one is very specific - only the full fare of your return trip counts towards activating your AMEX travel insurance cover, but it is the only cost you have to pay to activate the cover.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? They are, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements, which means their return ticket was also paid for using your eligible AMEX card.

Bankwest

Underwritten by: Allianz

Eligible Bankwest Credit Cards:

  • Bankwest World MasterCard 
  • Bankwest Platinum MasterCard
  • Bankwest Gold MasterCard
  • Bankwest More Platinum MasterCard
  • Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
  • Bankwest More Gold MasterCard
  • Bankwest Zero Gold MasterCard
  • Bankwest Breeze MasterCard (opened before March 2012)
How to activate: It’s pretty simple - you’ll be automatically covered once you:
  • Buy a return ticket before leaving on your holiday
  • Pay at least $500 of your prepaid travel costs on your eligible card, or by redeeming Bankwest More Rewards points.

What prepaid travel costs count? Your return flight as well as other travel during your trip, accommodation, and other items on your trip itinerary can all contribute to the $500 spend requirement. If you’re redeeming points to put toward it, you can do so with Webjet, but remember that you can only use your rewards points to purchase accommodation if you’ve also booked flights through Webjet.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? Once you are eligible, they are too, as long as they’re travelling with you for the duration of the trip. The fine print is that they also need to individually meet the above criteria, with a return ticket and at least $500 in prepaid travel expenses on your eligible card.

HSBC

Underwritten by: Allianz (formerly Zurich)

Eligible HSBC credit cards:

  • HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
  • HSBC Platinum Credit Card
  • HSBC Premier World MasterCard
How to activate: There are just two simple steps:
  • Buy a return ticket for your trip
  • Pay for 90% of it with your eligible HSBC card

What prepaid travel costs count? Only the cost of your return ticket counts toward activating your travel insurance policy.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? Yes, but they need to activate their travel insurance in the same way you do - by paying for 90% of their return ticket on your eligible card. They’ll also have to be travelling with you for the duration of the trip.

St. George

Underwritten by: QBE

Eligible St. George Credit Cards:

  • St. George Amplify Signature
  • St. George Vertigo Platinum (formerly Platinum visa credit card)
  • St. George Amplify Platinum
How to activate: To activate your St. George travel insurance cover, you’ll need to have:
  • Purchased a return ticket for your trip
  • Paid $500 of your prepaid travel expenses with your eligible St. George card

What prepaid travel costs count? Accommodation, flights, other travel, and tours can all contribute to the $500 sum.

Are my spouse and dependants covered? They’ll be covered as long as they are travelling with you and meet the criteria by having a return ticket and $500 of their prepaid travel expenses paid on your card.


General rules to remember:
  • Pre-existing medical conditions aren’t covered under most of these policies. If you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, you might have to think about purchasing a stand alone policy which suits your needs.
  • Unless it's specified (like with AMEX or HSBC) you don’t NEED to pay for your return ticket with your credit card to be eligible, but it’s a good way to spend a chunk of the required amount.
  • The period of cover generally ranges from 3-6 months, but it’s important to check your particular policy, as you often won’t be able to extend complimentary credit card travel insurance the same way you would a stand alone travel insurance policy.
  • Most of the time, there’s no need to tell your bank that you’re travelling - your cover is automatically applied once you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • For spouses or dependent children to be covered, they usually need to be travelling with the card holder for the duration of the trip. Check your policy for an exact definition of who qualifies as a dependent, because the age limit sometimes changes from policy to policy.
  • A lot of these travel insurance policies have age limits - for many you must be under 80. If you or someone you’re travelling with needs seniors coverage, take a look at our handy guide, here.
  • The same rules as any other travel insurance policy will generally apply here. This means you should make sure you know the benefits, excess, limits on age, or special exclusions that apply to your particular policy.


We hope this guide has helped answer the common question posed by many a credit card holder - “How do I activate my cover!?”. If you’re not convinced complimentary credit card insurance is for you, check out our credit card travel insurance vs stand alone policy travel insurance guide for some extra information.

And while you’re here, why not checkout our guide on travelling with credit cards to find out how to make the most of your credit card while jetsetting overseas.

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