The 8 Best Credit Cards for Travel Accident Insurance in 2019

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You don’t embark on a journey thinking something bad will happen because chances are that the worst won’t happen.  It’s good to know, however, that if something did happen and you were severely injured or even worse, there is coverage available — and it comes complimentary on your credit card.

Travel Accident Insurance is widely available but seldom used. In fact, news and media provider Reuters reports that there were zero accidental deaths on scheduled commercial U.S. air carriers in 2017, which is the most recent data available.

And while you don’t normally base your credit cards on this coverage, it’s helpful to know which cards come with this coverage. Travel protections and benefits can save you money when you travel and provide peace of mind knowing you have coverage should something drastic happen during your trip.

Travel Accident Insurance, specifically, is one of those peace-of-mind coverages that can be a welcome resource should you need it.

Here’s a look into travel accident insurance with the objective of defining the coverage and letting you know which popular cards carry the protection as part of a broader package of travel protections and benefits.

What is Travel Accident Insurance?

Travel Accident Insurance is a complimentary travel protection that is offered on certain travel rewards credit cards. The coverage pays out a specified benefit should you or your immediate family become severely injured, including dismemberment, loss of sight, hearing, or speech, or death due to a covered accident on a common carrier during your travels.

The coverage works similar to life insurance in the case of accidental death. Dismemberment and severe injury is handled differently in that a percentage of the total death benefit is paid out depending on the severity of the injury. The limits of the benefit payouts are depicted in a table published within the Guide to Benefits for each specific credit card.

Travel Accident Insurance is different than trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay insurance in that it only pays a benefit in the case of accidental death or specified severe injuries when traveling on a common carrier.

Also, unlike most travel insurance policies that come with your credit card, travel accident insurance is not secondary coverage. This means it will pay benefits in addition to other life, disability, or medical coverage you hold.

Primary and additional cardholders can generally designate a beneficiary for the accident life insurance portion of the coverage.

Bottom Line: Travel Accident Insurance comes complimentary on many travel rewards credit cards. It works similar to an accidental life insurance policy in the case of death and pays out a percentage of that benefit in the case of severe injury. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred
You’ll find some of the best complimentary travel insurance, including travel accident insurance, on Chase travel rewards credit cards. Image Credit: Chase

The Best Credit Cards for Travel Accident Insurance

The best credit cards for travel accident insurance coverage have travel protections and benefits beyond that of just travel accident insurance. The following travel rewards credit cards offer some of the best travel insurance packages available and all of the coverages come complimentary with the card.

Chase Travel Accident Insurance

Chase actually has 2 types of travel accident insurance:

  • Common Carrier Travel Accident Benefit — this protection covers you while you are a passenger on any common carrier or at the airport/terminal/station immediately before or after your trip.
  • 24-Hour Travel Accident Benefit — you will be covered as soon as you begin your trip, during your qualifying trip, and until you return for accidental death, dismemberment, and loss of speech, sight, or hearing.
Chase Travel Accident Insurance
The loss benefit chart for Chase Travel Accident Insurance on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Image Credit: Chase

Chase Cards that Provide Travel Accident Insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Recommended)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides up to $500,000 for the Common Carrier Benefit, or $100,000 for the 24 Hour Benefit. In addition to Travel Accident insurance, the Sapphire Preferred offers travel insurance.

Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred provides up to $500,000 for the Common Carrier Benefit, or $100,000 for the 24 Hour Benefit.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

In addition to Travel Accident Insurance of up to $1,000,000, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers complimentary emergency evacuation insurance up to $100,000 and $2,500 in emergency medical/dental expenses.

Marriott Bonvoy™ Bold Credit Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Bold card offers up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance benefits when you purchase your common carrier ticket with your card.

World of Hyatt Credit Card

Pay for your transportation ticket with your World of Hyatt card and receive up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance due to a covered loss.

United Branded Credit Cards

These United-branded credit cards come with complimentary travel accident insurance of up to $500,000.

Chase Coverage Details and Conditions

Who is covered on Chase issued credit cards?

The primary cardholder, additional card holder, and immediate family members are covered for Chase Travel Accident Insurance.

Immediate family is defined as you (the cardholder), your spouse or domestic partner, you or your domestic partner’s children, including adopted children or step-children. Additionally, legal guardians or wards, siblings or siblings-in-law, parents or parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts/uncles, and nieces/nephews are covered.

Conditions for Coverage on Chase Cards

  • Pay for the common carrier fare in full or in part with your eligible Chase card
  • One of the following:
    • The accident occurs while riding as a passenger, boarding, exiting, or being struck by a common carrier on a covered trip
    • The accident occurs at the airport, terminal or station at the beginning or end of the common carrier covered trip

Bottom Line: Many Chase credit cards come with travel accident insurance and since the definition of covered persons is so broad, benefits are provided for even extended family members.

American Express Cards that Provide Travel Accident Insurance

American Express Refer A Friend Program
Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While American Express offers travel accident insurance on all 68 of its cards, the travel insurance that comes with the premium Amex Platinum Card stands out.

In addition to death and dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000, you’ll also receive medical evacuation insurance and emergency medical/dental coverage.

Amex Travel Accident Insurance
A typical table of loss benefits for travel accident insurance coverage on American Express cards. Image Credit: American Express

The American Express® Gold Card

In the case of accidental death or severe injury, coverage on the Amex Gold Card pays up to $250,000.

Who is covered on American Express Cards?

The basic cardmember, additional authorized cardmembers, their spouses or domestic partners, and dependent children under age 23.  

American Express Coverage Conditions

Conditions for Coverage on American Express Cards:

  • The entire common carrier fare must be paid for with an eligible American Express card
  • The accident occurs while riding as a passenger, boarding, exiting, or being struck by a common carrier on a covered trip
  • All covered persons must reside in the U.S., Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands 

Bottom Line: American Express offers Travel Accident Insurance on 68 of its cards

Additional Credit Cards with Travel Accident Insurance

There are several other travel rewards cards that offer Travel Accident Insurance to varying degrees.

Capital One Issued Rewards Cards — All of Capital One’s Visa Signature and Mastercard Rewards cards come with Travel Accident Insurance coverage. Charge your entire travel fare to your card and receive up to $250,000 in benefits. You can read about our recommended Capital One Cards here.

Visa Infinite Credit Cards — Cardholders and dependents are covered when the common carrier ticket is purchased with the eligible card. Coverage is provided up to $500,000 for accidental death or dismemberment.

Wells Fargo Visa Cards — Pays up to $150,000 when your common carrier ticket is paid for in full with your card.

Note that since so many credit cards offer Travel Accident Insurance, this list is highlighting just some of the most popular cards and not supplying an exhaustive list. You’ll want to access your specific card’s Guide to Benefits or call the number on the back of your card to determine if you have coverage and the limits of that coverage.

How to File a Claim

Filing a claim for accidental death or severe injury is straightforward regardless of the issuing credit card institution. The first step is to contact the benefits administrator as soon as possible after the accident, generally no later than 30 days, by calling the number on the back of your card.

You could be asked to submit any of the following for documentation:

  • Completed and signed claim form
  • Proof of payment method for common carrier ticket
  • Explanation of loss
  • Death certificate, if applicable
  • Medical records, if applicable

Bottom Line: Regardless of the credit card issuer, you’ll want to submit your claim on a timely basis and confirm that all the required documentation has been received by the benefits administrator to avoid any chance your claim being delayed or denied due to lack of information. 

Silvercar
Car rental insurance and roadside assistance can be useful coverages to have and you won’t have to pay extra when they’re included on your travel rewards card. Image Credit: Silvercar

Other Useful Travel Protections and Benefits

Travel Accident Insurance is just one travel protection offered complimentary on travel rewards credit cards. Look for these additional travel benefits when selecting a travel rewards card.

  • Car rental collision damage waiver insurance — one of the most valuable travel benefits you can have is primary rental car insurance. Learn which cards are best for car rental insurance.
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage — When your trip is cancelled or delayed, it’s bound to result in unplanned expenses. Trip cancellation and interruption coverage will reimburse you for covered events that cause you to cancel your trip or cause disruption while your trip is in progress.
  • Trip delay reimbursement — If your flight is delayed a specified number of hours, usually 12 hours or more, a benefit is paid to reimburse you for expenses such as lodging, transportation, meals, and necessary personal items
  • Lost, damaged, or delayed luggage insurance — Chances are you’ll get paid by the airline if your baggage is lost, damaged, or delayed. This coverage will pay for eligible incidents where your out-of-pocket costs are more than the common carrier will cover.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services — Help is just a phone call away, day or night, if something goes wrong during your travels. Get help finding an English speaking medical provider, legal services, or assistance replacing a lost passport.
  • Emergency evacuation insurance — A few premium travel rewards cards such as the Amex Platinum Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve provide emergency evacuation transportation services.
  • Emergency medical coverage — The Amex Platinum Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve all offer limited reimbursement coverage for medical emergency expenses.
  • Roadside dispatch – Premium travel rewards cards such as the Amex Platinum Card come with free roadside assistance. Other cards charge a flat discounted fee per service call. Roadside dispatch is a handy coverage to have on your card, in either case, if you should break down on the side of the road.

Bottom Line: Finding a card that has a package of complimentary travel protections and benefits you can use brings extra value that can save you money or provide peace of mind during your travels.

Final Thoughts

No one likes to think about having a severe accident happening during their travels. Chances are, you’ll never have to worry about using the travel accident insurance that comes with your card. However, just knowing it exists is enough.

It is not a key travel insurance coverage that causes you weigh one travel rewards card over another. Selecting a card that offers a broader collection of travel protections and benefits you can use is a more prudent approach.

Always compare the coverage that comes on your card with a comprehensive travel insurance policy to determine if the complimentary coverage is adequate for your trip. If not, you can supplement the complimentary coverage easily and inexpensively.


FAQ

How does travel accident insurance work?

Travel accident insurance is an ancillary coverage that comes complimentary with many credit cards. It functions like a life insurance policy in the case of accidental death and pays a benefit in case of severe accidental injury (dismemberment or the loss of sight or hearing).

Coverage can range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 depending on the credit card for accidental death or severe injury when traveling on a common carrier such as a plane, train, or cruise ship.

The definition of who is covered also differs by credit card. Some cards cover only the cardholder, spouse, and dependent children under a certain age.

Other cards extend coverage to immediate family including in-laws, and step-children.

Travel accident insurance is not a secondary excess coverage. This means that even if you have other insurance coverage it will still pay the full appropriate benefit.

Some cards require that you pay for your entire common carrier ticket with your eligible card, others require that only a portion of your ticket be paid for with your card.

How do I know if my card has travel accident insurance?

The easiest way to find out if you have travel accident insurance is to call the number on the back of your card.

You can also access your printed Guide to Benefits that came with your card or go to your online credit card account and access the information there.

Additionally, you can request a copy of the Guide to Benefits be sent to you.

Does travel accident insurance cover rental cars?

Travel accident insurance does not cover accidents that happen with rental cars. However, chances are you have coverage for damage to the rental car either on your own auto insurance policy, car rental coverage that comes with your credit card, or coverage you purchased from the rental car company.

Travel accident insurance also does not cover accidental death or severe injury from an accident involving a rental car. Coverage is limited to accidents involving common carriers such as planes, trains, and cruises.

Is travel accident insurance important?

Chances are you will never have to use travel accident insurance. However, having it can give you peace of mind that if something drastic should happen during your travels, the coverage is there.

Travel accident insurance is just one benefit among many travel insurance benefits you should look for when selecting a travel rewards card.

It often comes included with other important travel benefits such as car rental insurance, trip interruption, trip cancellation, trip delay reimbursement, emergency travel assistance, and roadside assistance, plus others.

Selecting a card that has a full package of travel benefits you can use will bring the most value.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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