Many major credit card providers offer travel insurance as a cardholder perk. However, upon comparing the coverage that comes with a typical credit card and the policies provided by travel insurance firms, travelers can uncover some glaring discrepancies in protection.
The biggest advantage of credit account coverage is simplicity. Knowing that using a credit card to purchase a plane ticket comes with certain protections is often enough for harried holiday planners. Cover for lost or damaged luggage, flight cancellation or emergency assistance while flying seems sufficient. For mishaps that occur before or after the flight, however, people relying on credit card cover may find themselves at sea.
Medical coverage for accidents while traveling is one critical protection not provided by the vast majority of credit card companies. Twisting an ankle on a rustic cobblestone street can mean a costly trip to the local hospital and unravel an entire holiday schedule. People quickly discover that having travel insurance from a company that specialises in such policies is essential. Whereas credit card insurance does not address such accidents, a traveller’s policy pays for medical treatment and many of the expenses that result from a mishap, such as travel delays. When medical problems warrant extreme measures, a good travel policy will pay for transport home.
Even those contingencies covered by both credit card companies and travel insurance carriers reveal a marked disparity in protections. For example, while a credit company may offer travel delay cover, it is more limited than a travel insurance policy. Credit card holders may receive reimbursement for delays in outbound travel, but they can be out of luck when it comes to the return trip. Also, most credit plans allow only a couple of such claims annually.
Additionally, credit card coverage is a package deal while a travel insurance policy is flexible. Travelers can customise cover according to their specific plans. Such add-on protections as cover for extreme sporting activities and trip cancellations are available.
Therefore, while holiday planners can rely on limited protections if they use a credit card with travel cover, an effort to secure more complete protection through a travel insurance policy pays off. Even if the holiday proceeds precisely as scheduled with no mishaps, people who are fully protected worry less and enjoy themselves more. To really conclude the question – is credit card travel insurance enough, you are better off getting additional cover with a fuller policy if you can.
Most credit card companies offer their own travel insurance and the cards which charge the larger annual fees (such as American Express) as a result, often offer the most extensive policies. The AMEX Gold Card offers what is arguably one of the best level of cover.
Author: Andrew Symonds