The Best Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

Computer credit card phone

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Unless you’ve had a recently purchased item lost, damaged or stolen, chances are you’ve rarely (if ever) thought about purchase protection coverage on your credit card.

Even if you accidentally dropped that new flat screen TV while trying to mount it on the wall, you’d probably think about making a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy before using coverage from your credit card.

You’re not alone. According to industry studies, most consumers don’t understand the protection/coverage that comes with their credit cards, let alone utilize these benefits.

But there’s no need to go searching for your credit card benefit guide just yet — we’re going to dig in to purchase protection benefits and cover the following in this article:

  • What purchase protection coverage is
  • Some of the best credit cards for purchase protection
  • How long your item is covered and how much you can expect to receive
  • Which items are covered/excluded
  • Tips for filing a purchase protection claim

Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of purchase protection on your credit card.

How Does Purchase Protection Work?

Purchase protection is a coverage that protects qualifying items you’ve purchased with your credit card from theft, damage or accidental loss. Other terms for this coverage include “purchase security” and “purchase assurance.”

To be eligible for coverage, the item must be purchased in part, in full, or with points earned on your credit card, depending on the card’s specific terms/conditions.

Coverage is usually in effect for a few months from the date of purchase, and this coverage is normally in excess of any other insurance you might have (including homeowners, rental, or automobile insurance).

Protection can include repairing, replacing, or reimbursing you for your loss, depending on how the credit card insurance company decides to settle your claim.

Best Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

If you’re purchasing an expensive item, you’ll certainly want to earn points or miles for the purchase — but purchase protection might be a high-priority consideration as well.

We’ve selected these 3 premium credit cards as the best in this category, because they have high coverage limits and come with other shopping protections (such as extended warranty coverage) that partner well with purchase protection.

These cards also allow you to purchase the item in full with your card, pay for just a portion of your purchase, or even purchase with points earned on your eligible credit card.

Bottom Line: Regardless of the specific payment method you choose, you’ll still have premium purchase protection coverage when using one of these top cards.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

One of our top choices for the best credit card for purchase protection is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with coverage of up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

This makes the card an excellent choice for large purchases you want to make sure are covered for purchase protection.

You’ll also be earning valuable Membership Rewards Points on your purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card joins our top choices for purchase protection coverage since it also offers high limits of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are one of the most valuable travel rewards currencies around, so earning plenty of them on an expensive purchase could be a good choice!

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

Another stellar credit card that offers purchase protection with a limit of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Credit CardCard Overview
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants.
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Annual Fee: $450

This card earns Ultimate Rewards at the rate of 3 points/$1 spent on travel and dining. All other purchases earn 1 pt/$1, and you can easily earn more points using the Ultimate Rewards Shopping portal — as many as 20 pts/$1!

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with Priority Pass lounge access to more than 70 lounge and restaurant locations domestically, a $300 travel credit each card anniversary year, and a redemption bonus of 50% more value when redeeming points via the Chase travel portal.

Bottom Line: Premium credit cards tend to have higher limits for purchase protection, making these cards a wise choice when purchasing an expensive item.

luggage
Secure short-term protection for your business purchases by using a business credit card with purchase protection. Image courtesy of Tumi.com.

Best Business Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

When running a business, selecting a credit card that has adequate purchase protection is important for securing those large business purchases.

Hot Tip: The best business credit cards for purchase protection carry limits of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account. They also allow a purchase to be made partially with your eligible credit card or with associated points. 

Best $0 Annual Fee Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

You don’t have to carry a premium credit card and pay a high annual fee to have purchase protection coverage.

Here are a few cards that offer coverage and have a $0 annual fee.

Bottom Line: Securing a specific credit card just to get purchase protection may not be wise — but if you have one of these $0 annual fee cards, know that you have protection for your items whether you pay in full, partially with your eligible credit card, or with rewards points earned on the card. 

Best Credit Cards for Cell Phone Purchase Protection Coverage

If you have to purchase a new cell phone, it’s prudent to use a credit card that offers purchase protection, since you’ll receive 90-120 days of protection when using an eligible card.

But did you know you can receive additional ongoing coverage by charging your monthly wireless bill to an eligible credit card?!

Chase price and purchase protection
Purchase protection will cover your cell phone for a limited period after purchase, but some credit cards offer ongoing coverage. Image courtesy of Chase.com.

Charging your monthly wireless bill to these credit cards provides ongoing monthly protection against theft/damage.

Some credit cards (such as the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card) earn 5% cash-back or 5 points/$1 spent on phone service purchases. You’ll need to determine which brings you more value over the long term: having purchase protection or earning rewards.
Bottom Line: While purchase protection can provide initial coverage for cell phones (90-120 days), charging your monthly wireless bill to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, select Wells Fargo credit cards, or the U.S. Bank Platinum Card can provide ongoing coverage. Rented phones are generally excluded from coverage.
flat screen TV
Expensive items like a flat-screen TV can be covered for purchase protection when using an eligible credit card or reward points to make your purchase. Image courtesy of Best Buy.

Which Purchases Are Covered?

To receive purchase protection coverage, you must meet the terms and conditions of the purchase requirement for your specific credit card. Requirements differ, however.

Some cards require that you pay for the entire purchase with your eligible card, while others cover purchases made partially with an eligible card or made with rewards points that were earned on the card.

Here is a sampling of the different requirements.

Credit Cards
Purchase Requirements
American ExpressUse credit card for full or partial purchase, including Membership Rewards Points earned on your account for purchase
All Chase Credit CardsUse credit card for full or partial purchase, including Ultimate Rewards Points earned on your account for purchase
CitiUse credit card for full or partial purchase, including Thank You Points earned on your account for purchase
Visa Infinite – Purchase SecurityPurchase eligible items in full with your Visa Infinite card

Check your specific credit card benefits guide before purchasing an item to determine the eligible purchase requirements.

Hot Tip: Even items you buy as gifts can be covered under purchase protection insurance if they are purchased with an eligible card. 

How Long Are My Purchases Covered?

The length of purchase protection coverage varies, but you can expect to receive at least 90-120 days of coverage from the date of purchase, depending on the credit card issuer, type of credit card, and where you live.

How Much Coverage Can I Expect to Receive?

Purchase protection coverage limits vary by credit card, from as little as $500 per claim to as much as $10,000. You’ll also have a lifetime or yearly limit on claims, commonly $50,000 per account.

Limits also differ by card issuer (American Express/Chase) and by network (Visa/MasterCard).

Keep in mind that purchase protection is secondary to any other insurance that covers the same loss.

Which Items Are Excluded?

Not every item you purchase is covered under purchase protection coverage.

Here are examples of items that may be excluded from coverage:

  • Motorized vehicles, trailers
  • Computer software
  • Antiques/collectibles
  • Items under the control of a common carrier (such as the post office, an airplane, or delivery service)
  • Commercial items being resold
  • Animals, plants, perishables
  • Jewelry/watches in checked baggage
  • Cash alternatives (traveler’s checks, gift cards, debit cards)
  • Firearms/ammunition
  • Rented items

Hot Tip: Access the benefits guide of your specific credit card for the terms of its purchase protection coverage and which items are excluded.

Tips for Filing a Purchase Protection Claim

Here are some important items to be aware of if you need to submit a purchase protection claim.

  • Original receipts – When purchasing an item with your eligible credit card, be sure to keep the receipts; you will need them if you have to file a purchase protection claim.
  • Insurance documents – You will need to submit a claim to your insurance company if the eligible item is of a value higher than your deductible. Proof of the claim denial or payment from your insurance company is required when submitting a purchase protection claim. If the item damaged, lost, or stolen is under the value of your insurance deductible, a copy of your declaration page showing the deductible may be acceptable for filing the purchase protection claim.
  • Police report – In the case of theft, you will need to submit a copy of a police report.
  • Time limit for filing a claim – Credit card purchase protection claims must be reported within a specific time period, usually no more than 30-90 days after the incident. You will then typically have additional time to file the required paperwork.
  • Keep damaged property – If the item is damaged, hold on to it until your claim is settled as the credit card insurance company may ask for the item.

Bottom Line: Keep your receipts for purchased items, check other insurance policies for coverage first, get a police report if theft is involved, report any incident in a timely fashion, and hold onto any damaged item until your claim is settled.

How to Find the Terms/Conditions of Your Purchase Protection Coverage

To find out if you have purchase protection, you’ll want to check the benefits guide that comes with your credit card. The terms and conditions for using the coverage will also be listed.

You can find the benefits guide for a current credit card by:

  • Accessing the benefit guide online once you’re signed in to your credit card account
  • If not available online, you may be able to request a benefit guide via your credit card account website
  • Call the number on the back of your credit card and ask for one to be sent to you

Some credit card companies post benefit guides online. Here are a few examples:

Related Shopping Coverages

In addition to purchase protection, credit cards can offer other shopping coverages you might find beneficial and that pair nicely with purchase protection.

Here is a sampling of other protections you’ll find on many credit cards:

  • Extended Warranty – Coverage extends the manufacturer’s warranty by a year or 2, depending on the credit card
  • Return Protection – If the merchant does not take back an item, return protection may reimburse you
  • Price Protection – If the price of an item goes down after you purchase it, coverage reimburses you the difference

Check your benefits guide for these shopping protections and their terms/conditions.

Everything Else You Need to Know

Purchase protection is a secondary coverage that comes into play once you’ve exhausted other insurance you might have to cover the loss.

Since homeowners, auto, rental, and other insurances usually have a deductible that applies when such a loss occurs, purchase protection coverage can be a real benefit you can use to fill in that coverage gap.

You can expect purchase protection to replace, repair, or reimburse you for your loss. The decision about which method will be used will be made by the insurance benefit administrator for the credit card company.

Purchase protection losses caused by natural disasters have lower coverage limits, typically $500 per claim.

Final Thoughts

For short-term coverage on a qualifying item, you can’t beat the extra no-cost credit card benefit of purchase protection.

Earning points/miles for a purchase made on your credit card is great. But if you plan to buy a big-ticket item, check the purchase protection coverage on your card for potential coverage if the item is lost, damaged, or stolen within the first few months of ownership.


*Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

FAQ

How does purchase protection work?

Purchase protection is a type of insurance benefit offered on your credit card at no additional cost.

When you purchase a new item with your credit card, you receive protection for theft, loss, and damage for a specific period of time from the date of purchase (usually 90-120 days).

The purchase must be a qualifying item and made with a card that has purchase protection coverage. Purchase protection will cover repair, replacement, or reimbursement of the covered item.

Which credit card has the best purchase protection?

The best credit card for purchase protection benefits will depend on your purchasing habits.

If you normally make purchases less than $500, any credit card that has purchase protection will be adequate for these items.

If you have a business or purchase expensive items, you’ll want a credit card with purchase protection that has higher limits. Credit cards that offer a $10,000 limit per claim would be especially appropriate for these large purchases.

Does purchase protection cover my cell phone?

Credit cards that include purchase protection will only grant coverage for a specific period after your purchase date, usually 90-120 days.

To receive ongoing coverage, a few credit cards (such as the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card) offer protection when you pay your monthly wireless bill with your eligible card.

Do I need to register my purchased items to be covered?

Since coverage is included on your credit card automatically, you do not need to register for purchase protection, nor do you need to register any items you purchase.

You should, however, keep any receipts for items you purchase – you’ll need to submit these if you need to make a purchase protection claim.

Do Discover cards have purchase protection?

No, none of the Discover credit cards have purchase protection; it was discontinued in early 2018.

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