Why You Shouldn't Rely on Credit Card Travel Insurance

Person holding a credit card at a computer

Travelers might think their credit card will cover them on a trip to the same extent as travel insurance you can buy online or through a travel agent, but, in many cases, this isn’t true. Many credit cards that include some travel protection features often provide coverage for fewer events and tend to offer lower benefit limits than traditional travel insurance.

Here's the rundown why credit card travel insurance is not enough protection for most trips, especially when it comes to coverage for trip cancellation, medical and evacuation coverages, pre-existing medical conditions, benefit limits and covering other travelers on the same trip.

Where credit card travel protection coverage falls short

Just because a card has travel insurance coverages, doesn't mean it matches up against a plan from a company that is solely focused on providing travel protection. And, if you decide to find your own travel insurance, you aren't boxed into a plan, you can choose the right plan from the myriad available online to make sure it's right for your trip and travelers. Here are some reasons why most cards aren't good enough:

Trip Cancellation Coverage

  • According to Cardrates.com, "only about 15% of credit cards offer travel cancellation insurance."

  • Most trip cancellation or interruption protection offered by credit cards is limited to a handful of reasons such as illness, injury or death. Our travel insurance plans cover around 20 different events that could cause travelers to cancel their travel plans, including job loss, school year extension, terrorism or jury duty.

Also read: Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance—Is it Really that Simple?

Medical and Evacuation Coverages

Credit cards often don’t have the same level of coverage as travel insurance for medical expenses or emergency medical transportation while traveling—which can be costly if travelers don't have the right coverage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical evacuations by air ambulance can cost $50,000-$100,000.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

  • If travelers are concerned about coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, they shouldn’t count on their credit card. Our Premium plan includes coverage for pre-existing conditions as long as certain requirements are met.

  • In order to qualify for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions with Generali's Premium Plan, the plan must be bought prior to or within 24 hours of the final trip payment, travelers must be medically able to travel at the time the plan is purchased and all prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions must be insured.

Also read: Pre-Existing Medical Conditions and Travel Insurance—5 Things Most People Get Wrong

Card limits and covering other travelers

  • Many cards cap their benefit limits, especially for trip cancellation coverage, at lower amounts than Generali travel insurance plans.

  • It's likely that only purchases made with the credit card will be eligible for coverage. If travelers pay for their trip another way, check or cash for example, then they would probably not be covered by the credit card. With our travel insurance, you can insure your full trip cost and seek reimbursement if a covered event messes with your travel plans.

  • Credit cards are likely to only cover the cardholder, while our plans allow for up to 10 people to be listed on a plan.

Also read: 7 Questions to Ask to Find the Best Family Travel Insurance

Do all credit cards have travel insurance?

No, not all credit cards offer travel insurance. The easiest way to tell if your card does is to call the customer service phone number on the back of your the card and ask. As long as you have them on the phone, be sure to ask what coverages and services are included and the benefit limits. Then you can compare those to what you can get from a travel insurance provider like Generali Global Assistance.

Also read: How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

Is credit card travel insurance good enough?

if your card is one of few that offer trip protection, here are some questions to help you decide if the coverage is good enough for your trip:
  • Did you pay for your trip with a credit card that offers travel insurance?
  • Will your card reimburse you for the full cost of your trip if you need to cancel?
  • Does your card include trip cancellation insurance with covered reasons that fit your needs?
  • Does it include medical or emergency evacuation coverages, and are you traveling somewhere where you might need that?
  • Do you or your travel companions have pre-existing medical conditions that should be considered?

Also read: 
• Why You Might Need to Buy Medical Coverage Before You Travel
• Travel Insurance Comparison: How to Choose the Right Plan
• Is Travel Insurance Worth It? 3 Examples Where it Pays Off

While planning your next vacation, you should consider these tips before crossing off trip insurance from your to-do list. If you have credit cards with travel protection, then you should contact your card provider to find out the exact terms and conditions. Remember, it's likely that only purchases made with the credit card will be eligible for coverage.

Travelers who determine that credit cards aren’t enough to help protect their trip should consider purchasing travel insurance from Generali Global Assistance.

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