The Best Credit Cards for Travel Insurance: A Beginner's Guide

Many of the best travel credit cards not only earn you rewards points, but they also offer travel insurance that could bring you peace of mind.
Last updated Dec. 5, 2022 | By Christy Rakoczy , Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
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Traveling can be a ton of fun, but on every trip there’s potential for things to go wrong. The chances of mishap are increased for frequent travelers.

Fortunately, many of the best travel credit cards not only earn you rewards points that could be redeemed for things like nearly free airfare, but they also offer travel insurance that provides protection when issues arise. 

Check out our list of some of the best credit cards for travel insurance below to learn more about the various offers available from a number of credit card issuers. We chose these cards based on their insurance covered, but also to show the variety of credit card offers available that earn different rewards and provide a variety of perks.

In this article

Best credit cards with travel insurance

There are many different travel credit cards that come with various types of insurance. These cards could be powerful in earning you Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or other travel rewards, but they can also give you some peace of mind. The table below shows some of the protections offered by popular credit cards:

Card What does it cover?
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Trip cancellation insurance: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip if your trip is cancelled or cut short due to severe weather or other eligible situations.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Up to $3,000 for you and immediate family members you’re traveling with for lost bags.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket if you’re traveling with a common carrier and are delayed more than six hours or overnight.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Up to $75,000 of primary coverage for theft and collision damage if you pay the entire rental with your card and decline the rental car agency’s collision or loss damage waiver.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation: Up to $100,000 for medical services and transportation if you or a family member are injured or become sick and require emergency evacuation.
  • Baggage delay insurance: Up to $100 per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed or misdirected for more than six hours.
  • Emergency medical and dental benefit: Up to $2,500 for emergency treatment if you become sick or accidentally injured while traveling on a covered trip, minus a $50 deductible. Potential benefit of up to $75 per day up to five days toward the cost of a hotel room.
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $1,000,000 for covered loss of life or other covered loss.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Receive 24/7 assistance coordinating medical, legal, transportation or other services at your own cost.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Trip cancellation insurance: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip in reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses when your trip is cut short by severe weather or other covered situations.
  • Delayed baggage: Up to $100 per person for five days for essential purchases if your bags are delayed for more than six hours.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: If you’re delayed overnight or for more than 12 hours, get reimbursed up to $500 per ticket.
  • Emergency Assistance Services: The Benefit Administrator can provide legal and medical referrals or other emergency services, but you’re responsible for service fees.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Primary coverage for eligible rental vehicles against damage or theft. The rental car agency’s collision or loss damage waiver must be declined and you have to pay the full rental amount with your card.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per covered person per trip for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage. Up to $500 for jewelry, watches, cameras, and other electronic equipment per person per trip.
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 travel accident insurance when traveling with a common carrier.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance: Up to $2,500 for nonrefundable passenger fares if your trip is canceled or interrupted by sickness or another covered situation.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket for you and eligible family members for reasonable expenses if a covered trip is delayed due to a covered hazard for over 12 hours.
  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day (for up to five days) for essential items such as clothing if your bags are delayed for over six hours by a common carrier. Coverage is secondary to the common carrier.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Coverage for luggage and its contents due to being lost or stolen because of a common carrier such as an airline bus, train, or cruise ship.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage: Coverage for eligible medical services and transportation if you or an immediate family member are injured or become sick on a covered trip and need an emergency evacuation.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Get help finding medical, legal, and travel services. The cost of these services is your responsibility.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Secondary coverage for damage due to collision or theft. You must decline the collision or loss damage waiver from the rental car agency.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
  • Trip cancellation and interruption: Up to $2,000 per insured person for eligible tickets if a covered trip is canceled or interrupted for an eligible reason.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per eligible ticket if your covered trip is delayed more than six hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per covered trip for baggage lost due to theft or misdirection by the common carrier.
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $1,000,000 coverage for accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing while traveling with a common carrier on a covered trip.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Receive 24/7 assistance finding medical, legal, transportation, or other types of services at your own cost.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Up to $75,000 of primary coverage against damage or theft of eligible rental vehicles when you decline the collision or loss damage waiver from the rental car agency and pay the entire rental car purchase with your card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 in coverage for death or accidental dismemberment when traveling.
  • Baggage insurance: Up to $3,000 in coverage if your bags are lost.
  • Premium global assist hotline: 24/7 access to medical, financial, or legal advice or coordination of emergency assistance during travels.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: Secondary coverage against theft or damage of a covered rental vehicle (not in Australia, Italy, or New Zealand).
  • Trip delay insurance: Up to $500 per trip to cover certain expenses if your trip is delayed more than six hours.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per account every 12 months to help reimburse nonrefundable expenses if your covered trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason.
United℠ Explorer Card United℠ Explorer Card
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance: Up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip to compensate you for non-refundable fares if your trip is cancelled due to sickness, injury, or other covered situations.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 in unreimbursed expenses if you’re delayed more than 12 hours or overnight.
  • Baggage delay insurance: Up to $100 for three days for essential purchases if your luggage is delayed more than six hours.
  • Lost luggage insurance: Up to $3,000 of losses per covered passenger when checked or carry-on luggage is damaged.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Primary coverage for eligible rental cars against damage or theft. You must decline the rental car agency’s collision or loss damage waiver and pay the rental in full with your card.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Receive 24/7 assistance with finding legal, medical, transportation or other types of services at your own cost.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per account per 12-month period for covered reasons that cancel or interrupt your covered trip.
  • Trip delay insurance: Up to $500 per trip for covered delays of more than six hours.
  • Baggage insurance: Up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage for lost, damaged, or stolen baggage in excess of coverage provided by a common carrier. 
  • Premium global assist hotline and emergency assistance: Receive 24/7 assistance with medical, legal, financial, or other services at your own cost. Emergency medical transportation assistance could be provided at no cost if approved and coordinated by the premium global assist hotline.
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance: Secondary coverage for damage to or theft of an eligible rental vehicle in a covered territory (not Australia, Italy, and New Zealand).
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Trip cancellation or interruption insurance: Up to $5,000 for you and each eligible person for each covered trip if it’s canceled or interrupted for an eligible reason.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to a maximum of $500 for each purchased ticket for reasonable expenses if your covered trip is delayed by a covered hazard for more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for up to five days for essential items for baggage delayed more than six hours for you or other eligible people.
  • Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 for each insured person per covered trip for loss or damage of baggage. Up to $500 for each insured person per covered trip for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders, and other electronic equipment.

  • Travel accident insurance: Up to $500,000 per insured person for covered loss of life or covered loss due to an accident.

  • Travel and emergency assistance services: Connect with assistance services for help finding medical, legal, transportation, or other types of services while traveling. Costs of services are your responsibility.

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: Primary coverage for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of eligible vehicles. You must decline the rental company’s collision or loss damage waiver.

What does travel insurance cover?

The specific protections you’ll get vary by card, but some of the most common types of insurance credit cards provide include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance  or trip delay insurance to reimburse you for losses when your vacation can’t go forward as planned.
  • Coverage for lost or delayed baggage so you can be reimbursed if you have to replace items when your luggage is lost permanently. You could also get reimbursed to buy clothing and toiletries while you wait for your delayed luggage to arrive.
  • Accident or death insurance to provide compensation if an accidental death occurs on your trip.
  • Medical evacuation coverage to transport you to a hospital if you experience a medical emergency and require care you can’t get at your travel destination.
  • Collision damage waivers or loss damage waivers (CDW or LDW): This type of insurance protects you if a rental car is stolen or damaged while under your care. A CDW or LDW can pay for the costs of repairs and sometimes for other expenses, such as the rental company’s loss of use of the vehicle while it’s out of commission.

The travel insurance coverage your card provides can be quite valuable. If you were to buy your own travel insurance plan, you could pay an average of $105 for basic coverage up to $164 for a more comprehensive policy, according to a recent study by ValuePenguin.

Similarly, lost luggage benefits on your credit card could reimburse you for several thousand dollars in possessions that can’t be recovered if your baggage never makes it back to you after you put it on a bus, train, or plane. While you’ll need to check your card’s terms and conditions to find out the maximum compensation for lost luggage, it’s common for cards to set a $3,000 limit on the amount of reimbursement available.

Be aware of the fine print

While credit cards with trip cancellation benefits or similar protections are common, there’s usually some fine print to be aware of when it comes to your travel purchases. For example, some common caveats include:

  • Your trip may not be considered to be a covered trip if it was cancelled because of a preexisting medical condition or a change in travel plans or financial circumstances. Your credit card details should inform you of the covered reasons for making an eligible claim.
  • You must report any covered losses within a specific timeframe. For example, to make a claim for lost luggage insurance, you may have to alert the common carrier upon exiting that your luggage has been lost.
  • Your credit card’s travel insurance often serves as secondary insurance, which means you must take advantage of other coverages available — such as airline reimbursement for lost luggage — before your credit card will reimburse you.
  • Receipts or other documented proof of loss are usually required to file any type of claims with your credit card travel insurance.

How to pick the best travel card for you

Be sure you can afford the annual fee, and look for other travel perks that may benefit you as well, like an application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. An ideal travel rewards credit card will also not charge you any foreign transaction fees. 

Make sure the card you're applying for earns the rewards you're trying to collect. For example, American Express cards earn Membership Rewards, whereas Chase cards earn Ultimate Rewards points.

Be sure that the card's bonus categories line up with your spending. For example, if you spend a lot on fuel, you'll want to make sure that among the eligible purchases for bonus points are purchases at gas stations. This could make the Amex Platinum a good fit for you since it earns 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. Cardmembers also get access to booking trip through Amex Travel. The benefits of this card can easily outweigh it's annual fee of $695.

Many cards can also give you a big boost of rewards toward your next trip by offering either a welcome bonus or sign-up bonus. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently offering a chance to earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

If you are planning to make large purchases in the near future, you may also want to compare interest rates among the cards available to you as well. 

If your current credit score isn't high enough to qualify you for the kind of premium travel card you want, then take some time to improve your score and plan to apply in the future.

FAQs

Which credit card has the best travel insurance?

One of the best credit cards for travel insurance is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and The Platinum Card from American Express, offer similar travel coverages, but the travel insurance on the Sapphire Reserve tops their offerings. 

Reserve cardholders get primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, roadside assistance, and emergency evacuation and transportation.

Which credit cards offer trip cancellation?

There are a number of travel credit card offers that include trip cancellation insurance, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and The Platinum Card from American Express. 

Both the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve offer up to $10,000 in trip cancellation or interruption insurance per person and up to $20,000 per trip. The Amex Platinum offers up to $10,000 in trip cancellation or interruption insurance per trip and up to $20,000 every 12 consecutive months.

Can you rely on credit card travel insurance?

As long as you follow the terms and conditions of your credit card travel insurance, it could prove to be useful. The terms and conditions vary by credit card product, but they typically require you to pay for travel expenses with your eligible card to get the applicable insurance. This may include paying for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, tours, and more. Be sure to carefully review the terms of your credit card insurance so you understand how it works and can take advantage of your coverage should the need arise.

What is typically not covered by travel insurance?

Travel insurance typically won’t cover:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions (including pregnancy)
  • High-risk activities like skydiving or rock climbing
  • Mental illness
  • Declared wars or undeclared wars
  • Anything involving illegal activity
  • Accidents while you’re intoxicated or under the influence of a drug
  • Deciding you don’t want to travel
  • Fear of travel (including fear of coronavirus)
  • Epidemics and pandemics
  • Anything not mentioned in the travel insurance policy

Bottom line

There are a number credit cards with trip cancellation benefits and with other kinds of travel insurance benefits as well. To make sure this coverage is worth it for you, the key is to find a card that provides the protections you’re looking for when things go wrong on your trip — but which is also affordable and provides other features or perks that benefit you.

Remember, once you have a card with travel insurance, always read the cardmember terms so you’ll know how much protection you have and what you need to do in order to make an insurance claim. When you do, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your financial loss is limited, even if a disaster occurs on your trip.

Methodology

To select the best credit cards for travel insurance, we assessed cards that offer various travel protection benefits, including trip cancellation insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and emergency assistance services. We compared the cards’ rewards rates and annual fees to identify the best options for travelers. We did not include all cards available.

Our #1 Travel Card

Current Offer

Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Typically need to spend thousands to reap rewards
Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Author Details

Christy Rakoczy Christy Rakoczy has a Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School with a focus in Business Law, and a Certificate in Business Marketing with an English Degree from The University of Rochester. As a full-time personal finance writer, she writes about all things money-related but her special areas of focus are credit cards, personal loans, student loans, mortgages, smart debt payoff strategies, and retirement and Social Security. Her work has been featured by USA Today, MSN Money, CNN Money and more, and you can learn more at her LinkedIn profile.
Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.