When travelers are considering insurance for a trip, we often hear questions about travel insurance coverage provided with a credit card, and how our plan differs. It’s a fair question. Why pay for something when you may already have access to a product or service? There are many differences, and there’s a reason so many people choose to buy a standalone travel insurance plan to protect their trip investment. While we can’t provide a specific comparison since all plans are different, we can point out some of the key differences to consider. For the purposes of this post, we’ll refer to a standalone travel insurance plan as a “comprehensive” travel insurance plan.
- Number of benefits on the plan
Typically, a comprehensive travel insurance plan offers a longer list of benefits than a plan provided through a credit card. Review the full list of benefits offered by your credit card coverage to ensure it covers everything you think it will.
- Coverage maximums
Many credit cards cap their Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits at lower limits than might be found on comprehensive travel plans. Some credit cards may offer coverage up to $2,000 per trip, while others might offer up to $20,000 per trip. This may be sufficient, but many of our customers take trips in excess of this value. Our plans offer Trip Cancellation coverage for trip costs up to $100,000 and more. And keep in mind that the Trip Interruption benefit on many of USI's plans may reimburse up to 150% of the trip cost.
When it comes to Trip Delay, our team found that most credit cards will only reimburse up to $500 per trip for lodging and other necessary travel. On the other hand, comprehensive travel insurance plans like those from USI may reimburse up to $2,000 in coverage for Trip Delay, depending on the plan and level purchased.
- Covered reasons
Travel insurance offered through a credit card tends to include fewer covered reasons for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. This means that should something unexpected happen that causes you to cancel or interrupt your trip, it’s less likely that you’ll be covered in the event of a claim. Comprehensive travel insurance includes a long list of covered reasons. Read the policy for the full list.
- Medical Expense and Emergency Medical Evacuation
Credit cards offering travel insurance benefits may not provide full medical protection required for your needs. Often, the benefits for medical expense coverage and evacuation on credit card plans are lower than those found on a comprehensive travel insurance plan. For example, USI's comprehensive trip cancellation plans include medical protection coverage up to $150,000 and Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage up to $1,000,000.
- Optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade
Credit card travel insurance generally does not offer the option to include the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade. This is an important benefit that many travelers seek, especially now when travel can feel more unpredictable. Our comprehensive travel insurance plans offer this upgrade option, which gives many of our customers the added flexibility they need for more peace of mind. Just be sure to buy your plan early – CFAR is only available if you buy your plan within 14-21 days of your initial trip deposit. Don’t miss your opportunity!
- Coverage for all trip costs
An important point to note is that credit card travel insurance only covers eligible travel expenses when the full amount of each expense was purchased with the credit card. On the other hand, with a comprehensive travel insurance plan, travelers can cover all of their expenses, no matter how they were paid.
- Customer Service and Claims Assistance
Have you ever tried to call those huge credit card companies? Chances are, it may be difficult to get through to a person, let alone someone who is familiar with the travel insurance plan and can advise you on the coverage that best suits your needs. With USI Travel Insurance Services, you have access to knowledgeable support when you need it. Our Customer Service staff are all non-commissioned, licensed insurance agents who focus entirely on travel insurance and helping travelers protect their trips.
If you need to file a claim, our Customer Service team can assist you with that, too. As a broker, we act as advocates for our travelers during the claims process, and can help you navigate the process and any challenges with the claims administrator.
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With this information in mind, hopefully next time you plan a trip it will be easier to know what to look for when researching travel insurance options. You can always visit our website for plan options, or contact our Customer Service team for help selecting the best plan for your travel needs. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time and can be reached at (800) 937-1387 or [email protected].