The Best Credit Cards for Travel Insurance in 2020

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Securing travel insurance has become a priority for many travelers. It makes sense to protect your investment when you’re spending a lot of money on an expensive trip, the trip includes several travel providers, and/or you have non-refundable deposits at risk. These are all circumstances when a comprehensive travel insurance policy is the right move.

If you wouldn’t lose a great deal of money should your journey become disrupted or canceled, however, the coverage offered on your credit card could be more than sufficient.

With that having been said, not all credit cards offer the same level of travel insurance benefits. With widely differing benefits, a breakdown of travel coverages and benefit levels offered by card could be helpful — and that’s where we’re heading today. We’re setting out on a journey to explore the travel insurance coverages offered on a select group of popular travel rewards cards.

The end goal is an informative comparison that will help you determine which cards offer the best packages of travel insurance benefits that also align with your travel priorities.

Is Credit Card Travel Insurance Worth It?

Many credit cards come with various levels of complimentary travel benefits and protections. And while credit card travel insurance coverages are not meant to replace a comprehensive travel insurance policy, the coverage may still be sufficient for most trips.

We’ll get down to the specifics of which travel insurance coverages are offered on credit cards shortly, but first, let’s talk about some of the limitations of these benefits and protections.

As with all types of insurance, there are exclusions, terms, and conditions. Here are some of the most common ones normally associated with credit card travel insurance.

  • If you decide to cancel your flight because you do not want to fly, flight cancellation insurance on your credit card will not provide coverage. In fact, only the reasons published in the card’s guide to benefits are covered for trip cancellations.
  • Credit card travel insurance such as trip cancellation/interruption/delay coverage or lost baggage insurance/delay is normally secondary to any other reimbursement you may receive. You must usually make a claim with the airline or other applicable coverage you might have before coverage applies.
  • Credit cards require that the trip must be paid for either entirely or partially using the eligible credit card.
  • There are conditions for coverage to be valid such as declining coverage with the car rental agency for the car rental insurance on your credit card to apply.
  • The claim process can be difficult as credit card issuers do not directly handle travel insurance claims. Claims are processed by a third party administrator which could require a lot of information, documentation, and followup.

There can be many other exclusions and conditions for coverage to be valid, which is common with insurance in general, but the travel insurance that comes with your credit card can still offer tremendous value.

Let’s continue to discuss some of those valuable coverages.

Bottom Line: While many credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance coverage, benefit levels can vary greatly. Additionally, there are exclusions to coverages, terms/conditions that must be met, and in many cases, the credit card coverage is secondary to that of the travel provider. The claim process can also be challenging. Despite all this, credit card travel insurance can be worth it. 

Best Personal Credit Cards for Travel Insurance — Chase

SLS LUX Brickell sbe Chase Sapphire Reserve hotel
The travel insurance on your Chase credit card could provide sufficient protection for most trips. Image Credit: sbe

Chase is a major credit card issuer known for offering a strong selection of travel insurance benefits on its cards.

Here are some of the best Chase credit cards for travel insurance.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

One of our top recommended cards also comes with a long list of valuable benefits, including several travel insurance coverages.

Travel Insurance and Protections

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Reserve and pay for your rental car with your card, decline the rental car agency’s collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW), and receive primary car rental insurance coverage for damage or theft.
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — Purchase your trip with your Chase card or rewards earned on your card and receive up to $10,000 per person, $20,000 per occurrence, up to a maximum of $40,000 within a 12-month period, when a covered event disrupts your trip.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — If your trip is delayed for a covered reason for 12 hours or more, or overnight, you could receive reimbursement for up to $100 per day for necessary incidentals for up to 5 days.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — Receive up to $3,000 per covered person, per trip, for checked and carry-on baggage that is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Baggage Delay — If your baggage is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive reimbursement of up to $100 per day for 5 days for incidentals.
  • Travel Accident Insurance — Should accidental death or dismemberment occur involving a common carrier and you purchased the trip with your card, you could receive up to $500,000 for Common Carrier Travel Accident Insurance and $100,000 for 24 Hour Travel Accident Insurance.
  • Roadside Dispatch — Pay 1 set pre-negotiated fee per service call to receive towing, tire changing, fuel, jump-starting, lock-out service, and more.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services — Receive assistance when traveling away from home for message relays, referral services for legal and medical assistance, emergency transportation, and more. Cardholders are responsible for the cost of actual services.

Why We Like the Card Overall

In addition to having a fine selection of travel benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card stays at the top of our list for a lot of reasons.

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Lower annual fee
  • 2x earnings on travel and dining (and up to $1,000 in monthly grocery store purchases from November 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021)
  • 5x earnings on Lyft (through March 2022)
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points earned on the card for 1.25 cents each for travel via the Chase travel portal or transfer to airline/hotel partners for even greater potential value
  • DoorDash DashPass free food delivery and reduced fees
  • Lyft Pink membership that includes free Grubhub+ and Seamless+ membership
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • No foreign transaction fees

For more reasons to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll want to access our list of all the card’s benefits.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

Want a premium travel rewards card delivering a collection of travel benefits that’s difficult to beat? The Chase Sapphire Reserve card might be a fit.

Travel Insurance and Protections

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Pay for your rental car bill entirely with your card, decline the rental car agency’s CDW or LDW coverage, and receive primary car rental coverage for damage or theft.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance — As one of the most valuable travel insurance coverages, trip cancellation/interruption insurance pays up to $10,000 per occurrence. Limits cap out at $20,000 per incident and $40,000 within a 12-month period.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — If your trip is delayed for a covered reason for 6 hours or more, or overnight, you could receive reimbursement for up to $100 per day for necessary incidentals for up to 5 days.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, you could receive up to $3,000 per person, per trip.
  • Baggage Delay — If your baggage is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive up to $100 per day in reimbursements for incidentals, for up to 5 days.
  • Medical Evacuation Insurance — If you, or an eligible family member, become ill or injured when traveling, you could receive emergency transport coverage up to $100,000.
  • Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit — Receive up to $2,500 for emergency treatment should you or an eligible family member become ill or injured when traveling 100 miles or more from home.
  • Travel Accident Insurance — Pay for your trip with your card and receive up to $1,000,000 should accidental death or dismemberment occur.
  • Roadside Assistance — Receive up to 4 free $50 service calls each year at no cost should your vehicle break down when away from home.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services — Make 1 phone call and receive medical or legal referrals, assistance with emergency transportation, and more.

Why We Like the Card Overall

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a higher annual fee, if you spend a lot on travel, find value in worldwide lounge access, and will use the $300 travel statement credit, the card could easily earn its place in your wallet.

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • 3x earnings on travel and dining (and up to $1,000 in monthly grocery store purchases from November 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021)
  • Priority Pass Select membership with access to over 1,200 lounge and lounge-alternative properties worldwide
  • Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each via the Chase travel portal or transfer points at a ratio of 1:1 to airline and hotel partners for potentially greater value
  • $300 statement credit for travel purchases each card anniversary year (including gas and grocery purchases through June 30, 2021)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement up to $100
  • DoorDash DashPass free food delivery, reduced fees, and $60 in statement credits each calendar year (through December 2021)
  • 10x earnings on Lyft purchases and Lyft Pink membership (through March 2022)
  • Luxury hotel benefits
  • Car rental status privileges with National Car Rental, Avis and Silvercar
  • No foreign transaction fees

For a more detailed look at the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it’s all here in this comprehensive article.

Want help deciding which of these Chase cards is a fit for you? We’ve gathered all the information in our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card article.

United Club℠ Infinite Card

United ORD Ticket Counter
The United Club Infinite card offers United flyers premium airline-specific benefits plus a long list of travel insurance benefits. Image Credit: United

The United Club Infinite card is the ultimate premium travel rewards card for United travelers. In addition to a well-rounded collection of travel benefits, it also offers benefits specific to traveling with United Airlines.

United-Specific Benefits

  • 4x miles per dollar spent on United
  • Complimentary upgrades on United award flights
  • United Club membership ($650 value)
  • First and second checked bag free for the cardholder and 1 companion
  • Premier Access Services including priority check-in, security screening, boarding, and baggage handling
  • Expanded access to award space inventory
  • 25% statement credit for on-board food, beverage, and Wi-Fi purchases

Now let’s take a look at what you can expect for general travel insurance benefits on the card.

Travel Insurance and Protections

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Pay for the entire rental with your card, decline the agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive primary car rental coverage for damage and theft.
  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — If your trip is disrupted due to a covered event, you can expect to receive up to $10,000 per covered person, $20,000 per trip for associated prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement — Once your trip has been delayed 12 hours or overnight, you may receive reimbursement for incidentals of up to $100 per day for 5 days, up to $500 per ticket.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement — If you or your eligible family member’s luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen, you could receive a benefit of up to to $3,000 for checked or carry-on luggage.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance — If your baggage is delayed more than 6 hours, you could receive up to $100 per day for up to 3 days in reimbursements for purchasing incidentals.
  • Medical Evacuation Insurance — If you become ill or injured when traveling, you could receive emergency transport coverage up to $100,000. Eligible family members are also covered.
  • Roadside Assistance — Receive up to 4 service calls each year at no cost, up to $50 in value, should break down when away from home.
  • Travel Accident Insurance — Pay for your common carrier trip with your card and receive up to $500,000 for accidental death or dismemberment.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services — Use your dedicated phone line when traveling and receive medical or legal referrals, assistance with emergency transportation, and more.

Why We Like the Card Overall

While there’s plenty of value for the United Airlines traveler and a good foundation of travel benefits on the card, there are still more reasons to consider the United Club Infinite card.

  • A nice collection of United-specific benefits
  • 2x miles for travel and dining purchases
  • Up to $100 fee reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status
  • Luxury Resort & Hotel Collection benefits such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, and free Wi-Fi
  • Visa Infinite concierge services
  • Purchase protection and return protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

Bottom Line: Chase-issued premium cards come with the best travel insurance benefits, including primary car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption/delay coverage, lost and delayed luggage insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, and more.

Best Personal Credit Card for Travel Insurance — American Express

Couple Eating Breakfast Poolside
Amex Platinum cards are some of the best rewards cards for travel insurance benefits. Image Credit: fokke baarssen via Shutterstock

While Chase does an excellent job of providing travel benefits on its cards, American Express has expanded offerings on its premium rewards cards to provide an also impressive collection.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum card is arguably the most popular travel rewards card. We like it because it earns valuable Membership Rewards points, offers flexible redemption options, and comes with plenty of statement credits for specific purchases.

When it comes to travel insurance benefits and protections, the Amex Platinum card is also a winner.

Here’s what you can expect from the Amex Platinum card.

Travel Insurance and Protections

  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — Receive up to $10,000 per covered trip, to a maximum of $20,000 within a 12 month period, should your trip be disrupted due to a covered event.
  • Trip Delay Program — If a trip you paid for with your card is delayed 6 hours or more, you could receive up to $500 per trip, a limit of 2 claims per 12 month period, for necessary incidentals.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance — The card comes with secondary car rental insurance which means you must file a claim with your own insurance first. However, cardholders have access to purchase Amex Premium Car Rental Protection for 1 low fee of $12.99-$24.99 that covers the entire rental car period up to 42 consecutive days.
  • Baggage Insurance Plan — Use your card to pay for your ticket and receive up to $2,000 for checked baggage, $3,000 for carry-on baggage, with a maximum combined total of $3,000 per person, $10,000 per trip if your bags are lost, damaged, or stolen.
  • Premium Global Assist Hotline — Receive needed emergency assistance whenever you’re more than 100 miles from home. The coverage also includes emergency medical evacuation for the cardholder and qualifying family members with no specified dollar limit.

Why We Like the Card Overall

In addition to useful travel insurance benefits, the frequent traveler will receive elevated earning on flights and prepaid hotels, travel-related and shopping benefits, flexible redemption choices, and statement credits for select purchases.

To learn more about the value offered with the Amex Platinum card, check out our detailed overview of the card’s benefits.

Best Business Credit Cards for Travel Insurance

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Travel Insurance Benefits and Protections

The Ink Business Preferred card comes with the same travel benefits and protections as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, with these exceptions:

  • Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption — The limit for these coverages on the Ink Business Preferred card is $5,000 per person, $10,000 per trip.
  • Pay your cell phone bill with your card and receive $600 in cell phone protection with a $100 deductible.

Why We Like the Card Overall

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Travel Insurance Benefits and Protections

The Amex Business Platinum card comes with the same list of travel insurance benefits as the personal version of the card.

Its other features and benefits differ, however.

Why We Like the Card Overall

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • 5x Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels via Amex Travel
  • 1.5x earnings on purchases of $5,000 or more
  • Redeem Membership Rewards points for 1 cent each for flights via Amex Travel or transfer to airline/hotel partners for potentially greater value
  • 35% rebate on qualifying airfare paid for with points
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement up to $100
  • Worldwide airport lounge access to over 1,200 properties including Centurion lounges
  • Elite benefits at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and the Hotel Collection
  • National, Avis and Hertz car rental elite status and perks
  • Up to $200 statement credit for Dell purchases

For more detailed information on the travel insurance benefits offered on American Express cards, you’ll want to access our comprehensive article.

flight delay board
The travel insurance on your credit card can help when your flight is delayed. Image Credit: Ciurea via Shutterstock

Best Overall Credit Cards for Travel Insurance — Summary

We’ve covered a lot of information in our article today but now we’re going to bring it all together with our top picks for the best credit cards for travel insurance in each specific category.

Best Credit Cards for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Protection

If you need to cancel your trip due to a covered reason such as an illness or if your trip is disrupted due to a covered event such as weather, trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage could be a valuable benefit. Both of these Chase credit cards provide up to $10,000 per person, $20,000 per occurrence, up to a maximum of $40,000 during a 12-month period.

Best Credit Cards for Trip Delay Coverage

Several credit cards offer a benefit if your trip is delayed but many require more than a 12-hour delay and a lower benefit level of $100 per day for up to 3 days. Both of our recommended cards offer elevated benefit levels for delays 6 hours or more and up to $100 a day for up to 5 days.

To learn more about the best credit cards for trip delay coverage, we’ve got all the information you need in our detailed comparison.

Chase Sapphire Preferred
One of the best credit cards for primary car rental insurance is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Image Credit: Chase

Best Credit Cards for Car Rental Insurance

A credit card could offer primary car rental coverage or secondary coverage. Secondary coverage requires you to first file a claim with your own insurance while primary coverage does not.

We like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card best of all because it charges a lower annual fee while still providing a long list of travel insurance benefits, including primary car insurance coverage.

For a list of additional cards with primary car rental insurance, check out our recommendations.

Best Credit Cards for Travel Accident Insurance

Travel Accident Insurance is widely offered but seldom used. According to the most recent available data, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics states that there was 1 death on a U.S. air or commuter carrier in 2018.

However, the coverage provides peace of mind that there would be a benefit offered if an accidental death or dismemberment should occur. We like that these cards offer up to $1,000,000 in coverage.

We review the best cards for travel accident insurance in our article on the topic.

Best Credit Cards for Emergency Evacuation Insurance

Should a medical emergency occur and there is a need for evacuation, you could be facing a steep bill for the expense. According to a leading travel insurance company, Allianz, emergency evacuations start at a minimum of $15,000 and can exceed $200,000.

The Amex Platinum card and Amex Business Platinum card provide coverage for emergency evacuation through the associated Premium Global Assistance coverage with no specified limit.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card and United Club Infinite card come with $100,000 in emergency evacuation coverage plus $2,500 for emergency medical and dental services.

Best Credit Cards for Lost or Delayed Baggage

While we like the Amex Platinum card and Amex Business Platinum card for baggage insurance, these cards lack delayed baggage coverage.

For more information on the best cards for lost or delayed baggage, check out our in-depth article.

Best Credit Cards for Roadside Assistance

We like these 2 cards for roadside assistance coverage because you’ll receive 4 free service calls per year, up to a maximum of $50 each occurrence. Any charges incurred above that amount will be charged to the associated Chase card.

Bottom Line: While a particular card may stand out over another in 1 or more specific benefit options, you won’t go wrong selecting any one of these premium travel rewards cards for its overall package of travel insurance benefits. 

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that we have not listed every benefit on each of these cards and descriptions have been abbreviated. Before traveling you should reference your card’s benefits guide or call the number on the back of your card for specific coverage information.

Plus, if you’re planning an expensive and/or complicated trip, it’s best to purchase a travel insurance policy that will cover that specific trip or an annual travel insurance policy that covers all of your trips you might take in those 12 months.

If you’re worried about canceling a trip for reasons not listed in the card’s coverage description, you could consider Cancel for Any Reason insurance. It’s also important to point out that credit card travel insurance will not cover a voluntary cancellation.

To learn more about purchasing travel insurance, check out our additional articles on the topic:

If you’re comfortable with the economic risk associated with a specific trip being disrupted, there’s no need to purchase a stand-alone travel insurance policy.

The coverage you have on your credit cards may be sufficient to not only provide peace of mind but serve as a more-than-adequate back-up coverage if the airline or other travel provider doesn’t come through for you should something go wrong during your travels.

Also, keep in mind that premium travel rewards cards can come with higher annual fees. If you don’t find value in these elevated benefit levels, selecting a card with fewer benefits and a lower annual fee may be an appropriate alternative.

Check out our recommendations and compare travel rewards cards in our related article.


For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.


Frequently asked questions

Which credit card has the best travel insurance?

The best credit cards for travel insurance are generally premium travel rewards credit cards issued by Chase or American Express.

With that having been said, the best overall card for you may not be the one with the best travel insurance coverage. Other factors, such as earnings that match up with your greatest spending categories, redemption priorities, and the card having specific benefits you will actually use, should play key roles in selecting the best credit card for you.

Is credit card travel insurance worth it?

Credit card travel insurance can be worth it if you ever have to use it. For example, if you pay for your rental car with your card and have a covered accident, the coverage would have tremendous value.

The travel insurance coverage that comes complimentary on your credit card can also serve as backup coverage if the travel provider does not come through with compensation. For example, if your flight is disrupted due to weather and the airline will not cover a hotel, your credit card insurance trip interruption/delay insurance may provide some coverage.

If you’re spending a lot of money on a multi-faceted trip that involves several travel providers and you have money tied up in non-refundable deposits, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance.

If you just pay for a flight and hotel with your eligible card, the coverage that comes with the card may be more than sufficient.

Is my trip covered if I book with points?

Yes. If you pay for your trip with your eligible card and/or with points earned on that card, you would have coverage for a covered loss.

Does my credit card cover trip cancellation?

The trip cancellation insurance that comes with your credit card covers limited reasons for canceling your trip. Voluntary cancellation is not one of those reasons. If you or a family member becomes ill and you cannot travel, however, this situation could be covered.

If you are concerned that you may have to cancel a trip, you should consider purchasing refundable travel, or Cancel for Any Reason insurance.

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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