Travel insurance is ubiquitous. You can purchase a policy directly from your insurance company, and also, travel insurance can actually be built into your – wait for it – credit card! A selection of brands offer some of the benefits that you can find in a travel insurance policy. With some of the best travel credit cards offering a plethora of benefits, it would seem unnecessary to purchase a traditional travel insurance policy. However, travel benefits included on a credit card are not a substitute for a travel insurance policy, and many times, people are unaware of that. So what are some limitations of credit cards with travel insurance and what benefits do they lack? Let’s find out!
No Medical Evacuation Coverage
If you fall extremely ill or suffer an injury while traveling and need to get evacuated to the nearest medical facility immediately, this is a life or death matter, and can be a rather expensive one at that. A lot of these credit cards can be nifty, but they generally don’t cover any medical evacuations. So, if you or your travel companion needs to be airlifted to a hospital in the middle of Paris, you will likely have to pay for that service fully out of your own pocket if you’re relying on your credit card. However, a standard travel insurance plan could help eliminate this concern. Most traditional travel insurance policies provide coverage for medical evacuation, some with benefits as high as $1 million, depending on the plan you choose. It’s likely that some travelers may choose to ignore this benefit, brushing off the chances of needing to immediately get transported to a hospital, mid-voyage. But since life is dynamic, and these kinds of situations are never foreseeable, it may be worth investing in a traditional policy to have medical evacuation coverage if needed.
Limited Trip Interruption/Cancellation Coverage
Trip interruption/cancellation is where you need to cancel your trip once it has started, or before it has begun, respectively. Most travel insurance policies offer this benefit and provide coverage if you cancel for a covered reason. Similar to insurance policies, credit cards also offer a trip interruption and a trip cancellation benefit, covering up to a certain amount for a covered reason. However, the distinction you can draw between traditional policies and their credit card counterpart is in the overall amount to which you’re covered. If you take a look at the best travel credit cards out there, you’ll notice that most of them only cover up to $10,000 of your expenses. However, with travel insurance policies, you could get more coverage. For instance, many traditional travel insurance plans allow you to insure a trip cost up to $100,000 per person, as opposed to the $10,000 that may be included on a credit card. So in essence, yes – travel insurance credit cards do typically offer trip interruption and cancellation coverage, but not nearly as much as traditional policies. And depending on how expensive your trip cost is, relying solely on your credit card may not be a risk you want to take.
Limited Travel Delay Coverage
Travel Delay is essentially when you are having to delay your trip, and as a result, you may need to purchase extra meals, and maybe even lodging at a hotel while you wait. If the reason you’ve had to delay your trip is a covered reason, you’ll be reimbursed for any expenditures you have to make while you’re waiting for your next flight, whether it’s through an insurance policy or a credit card. However, what you’re covered for with a credit card can be severely limiting. For example, many of these credit cards only cover delays for outbound travel to your destination; not your return back home. You may even have limitations on the number of claims you can make in a calendar year, and you don’t generally get coverage for common carrier cancellations. With a traditional insurance policy, most companies don’t have any limitations set in place on the number of claims you can submit, and you also could be covered for trips both to and from your destination. They also cover delays that are certified by the common carrier.
Travel insurance benefits on credit cards can be pretty awesome; we won’t deny it. However, they can also be limiting. And depending on your trip cost, needs, and other factors surrounding your life, they may not provide you with adequate coverage. Whatever it is that you decide to go with, just make sure to do your research so you have a better understanding of the travel insurance benefits offered by these two distinct sources, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!