Credit card travel insurance

Travel insurance with your credit card

Many credit cards come with 'complimentary' travel insurance but will you be covered if something goes wrong on your trip? We explain how you can check what you are covered for and how this type of travel insurance works.

How credit card travel insurance works

Many credit cards offer 'extras' to attract consumers in the competitive credit card market. One common extra is overseas travel insurance, covering you for your trip overseas in case something goes wrong. Find out more about travel insurance.

The cost of the travel insurance that comes with some credit cards may be called 'complimentary' but the cost of it is often included in the credit card's fees (like the application cost, annual fee or interest rate).

Activating travel insurance through your credit card

To be covered you will need to activate the travel insurance. You can usually do this by paying for part of your trip with your credit card, for example:

  • Paying for your overseas return flight with your credit card - Some credit card providers will also cover you if you use reward points to purchase your overseas return flight but others will not.
  • Paying a set amount of your overseas trip with your credit card - For example, if you pay $1,000 of your travel costs with your credit card before you start your trip. This could be for your airfare, prepaid accommodation or airport  taxes.

Each policy is different so make sure you check with your provider how to activate it. 

Whether to get separate travel insurance or credit card travel insurance

When you're shopping around for travel insurance it is a good idea to compare the cover you can get from your credit card, if any, to the cover you can buy from a separate travel insurance provider.

Many banks offer separate travel insurance as well as complimentary travel insurance through their credit cards. Be careful because there may be differences in the cover provided, even when they are from the same bank.

Differences between separate and complimentary travel insurance can be:

  • How the cover is activated - separate travel insurance usually does not need to be activated like credit card travel insurance
  • Who is covered - some policies don't cover a spouse, children or additional cardholders, but others do
  • Cover limits - the amount you'll receive if you successfully make a claim
  • Exclusions - some exclude more events than others (see travel insurance exclusions)

Make sure you know which type of cover you are relying on and check the terms and conditions of your policy. 

Check what you're covered for and exclusions

Most credit card providers have a booklet containing the terms and conditions of their credit card travel insurance. You can usually find this in the welcome pack for your credit card, on the provider's website or you can ask them to send you a copy.

Be aware that most credit card travel insurance usually only covers you for the trip you have paid for on your credit card and only for overseas travel. If you want travel insurance for trips within Australia, you should consider taking out separate travel insurance.

No policy is the same, especially when it comes to what's covered and the exclusions. You should check the terms and conditions to check you'll have enough cover.

If you are aged over 80, check your policy to see if you are covered by your credit card travel insurance. Some policies have age restrictions. 

Make a claim on your credit card travel insurance

Many policies require you to take documentation overseas to be eligible for travel insurance. These documents may include:

  • A booklet explaining the terms and conditions
  • Copies of your travel tickets
  • Copies of your credit card statements

To make a claim you will need to contact the insurer that provides the cover. The details of the insurer will be in the terms and conditions.

Travelling overseas can create some great memories. It pays to spend some time checking you've got the cover you need before you go. You'll need this information to decide if credit card travel insurance is enough for you. 

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Last updated: 12 Apr 2016