Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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We frequently discuss the travel insurance coverages that are offered complimentary on most credit cards. We do so because these benefits, especially the long list of travel insurance coverages on premium cards, can save you money, offer peace of mind during your travels, and provide help if something goes wrong.
These complimentary coverages are useful and can offer more than adequate coverage for most trips. However, if you’re investing in an expensive trip or 1 that involves multiple travel providers, purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy is a prudent move. You’d also want a travel insurance policy if your trip has a complicated itinerary or if you’re anxious about the possibility of having to cancel any portion of the journey.
Additionally, it’s imperative that if you’re worried about having medical coverage while traveling, you’d want to purchase a travel insurance policy that provides medical coverage.
Fortunately, travel insurance is widely available, reasonably affordable, and simple to secure. There are several reputable travel insurance companies, highly-rated by financial rating organizations such as AM Best, that offer nearly endless options from which to choose.
American Express Travel Insurance, underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, is one of those highly-respected, highly-rated, established companies offering comprehensive travel insurance solutions.
Join us while we check out the types of policies the company offers, any limitations of which to be aware, and additional options for protecting your next trip appropriately.
Travel insurance can help you avoid losing the investment you made when booking your trip, reimburse you for covered expenses should your trip be disrupted due to a covered event, or pay for emergency medical services.
Policies are designed to cover disruption due to the reasons listed in the policy you purchased. These reasons consist of events that are unforeseen and unexpected.
Here are a few situations where travel insurance could cover your loss:
Whether you should purchase travel insurance or not is a personal decision. If losing your trip investment or having to pay for extra expenses if the trip is disrupted makes you uncomfortable or would present a financial burden, then you should purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
If worrying about having to cancel your trip or having it disrupted during your journey is an issue, purchasing a travel insurance policy will definitely deliver some peace of mind, both prior to and during your trip.
For more tips on buying travel insurance in general, you’ll find valuable information in our guide to buying the best travel insurance.
When you purchase travel insurance and your trip is canceled, you expect to have coverage. However, not all cancellations are covered — only those specifically listed in your policy.
Once COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, it became a known event and therefore is not covered on travel insurance policies. While it’s reasonable to want to cancel your trip due to fear of COVID-19, canceling a trip due to the fear of any illness is not a covered reason on any travel insurance policy.
There is also no coverage for canceling a trip due to a U.S. State Department announcement warning of COVID-19 in a particular area.
In order to have coverage for voluntary trip cancellations, you would need to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason Insurance” (CFAR). CFAR is not a stand-alone insurance policy — it is an add-on coverage you select when you purchase a travel insurance policy or coverage you may be able to add to a travel insurance policy after purchase, within an initially specified timeframe.
CFAR insurance is expensive, does not cover the entire cost of your trip, and not all companies sell the coverage, including American Express Travel Insurance.
Additionally, there is a small window of time when you are able to purchase the coverage, including during your initial purchase or up to 10 to 21 days after the purchase, depending on the company.
While American Express Travel Insurance does not cover trip cancellation due to fear of contracting COVID-19, there may be coverage in certain circumstances. For example, if you become sick with the virus and have to cancel your trip as a result, you may have coverage under trip cancellation insurance.
Additionally, if you become ill with the virus during your travels, you may have coverage under Travel Medical Protection. Terms and conditions apply.
American Express offers you 2 options when it comes to purchasing travel insurance. You can select a package policy that includes several types of coverages in 1 plan or you can build your own travel insurance plan and select just the coverages that are important to you.
Coverage is worldwide except for where it would violate U.S. trade or economic sanctions. All permanent U.S. residents are eligible to purchase travel insurance with American Express.
American Express Travel Insurance offers 4 levels of travel insurance package policy plans — a Basic Plan, Silver Plan, Gold Plan, and Platinum Plan. Each has its own levels of coverage and associated premium cost.
Let’s take a look at the package policy offerings and pricing. We chose a week-long trip for a 40-year old that cost $3,000. Prices ranged from $59 to $208 to cover the entire trip.
With package policies, you can expect to find the following coverages. The limits of coverage differ based on the policy plan you select.
If some of the coverages in the package plan are not important to you, you can select only the coverage(s) you want and pay accordingly. Perhaps, for example, you have a need for just medical coverage while traveling abroad. You have the option to select just that coverage.
This example shows the levels of coverage available and the associated premium costs. The Gold Plan selected offers up to $100,000 in emergency medical, up to $750 in emergency dental, and up to $100,000 in emergency evacuation/repatriation. The price of this plan would be $32 for the entire trip.
Like most travel insurance companies, American Express Travel Insurance prices its products within age brackets. The price for coverage is the same for everyone in that specific age bracket.
Based on dozens of quotes obtained, pricing brackets were determined to be as follows:
Knowing this upfront can help you determine if you’re at the beginning of the highest price bracket or the end. For example, if you are 40 years old, you’re going to pay less than a 41-year-old in the next pricing bracket but the same as a 17-year-old.
If you’re a senior and want to learn more about purchasing travel insurance in your 60s, 70s, and beyond, the tips in our article will help guide you in the right direction.
Here is some information you should know about cancellations and changes to an American Express Travel Insurance policy.
Hot Tip: Due to the overall decrease in travel, many travel insurance companies now allow you to cancel your travel insurance and receive a full refund or extend your policy without extra charges.
When comparing other package policies to American Express Travel Insurance, the company’s premiums came up higher overall for this specific trip and traveler (1-week trip, 40-year-old, total value $3,000).
The first policy above with Assistance USA for $77, for example, has coverages similar to the Silver Amex plan which has a premium of $133. The coverage on the $102 Assistance USA plan above compares more with the Amex Gold plan at $157.
Prices will vary considerably based on the types of coverages selected, age, and limits of each coverage. We used policy comparison websites and found similar but not identical policies. With so many different coverage options, it’s difficult to compare apples to apples.
This is a very limited comparison — your results will be different based on your specific details. The most important factors to consider are that you’re purchasing from a highly-rated company, the coverages are a match for your needs, and the premium is one with which you’re comfortable paying.
The travel insurance coverages that comes complimentary on your credit card can serve to provide coverage for some trips. For example, if you book a domestic round-trip flight, a hotel, and a rental car, you may have sufficient coverages on your credit card to cover that trip.
Credit card travel insurance coverage, however, is not a replacement for a comprehensive travel insurance policy, for these reasons:
Because travel insurance is widely available and quite competitive, you may find drastic differences in the price you’ll pay between companies and policy offerings. Selecting a company is not difficult as there are dozens of reputable, highly financially-rated, established companies, but comparing policies is essential for getting the best value for your money.
One way to easily compare pricing and coverages is to utilize a travel insurance comparison site to narrow down the appropriate options for your situation.
Here are some of the most popular, easy-to-use comparison sites that only feature highly financially-rated travel insurance companies.
There is no doubt that American Express is a financially-stable, established, and well-respected travel insurance company.
One of the company’s strengths is that it offers the consumer the ability to purchase needed coverages separately, such as medical insurance for an international trip. The premiums for such coverage are also very competitively priced. This could be a huge plus if you are not interested in duplicating credit card travel insurance coverages or in having just secondary or excess coverage.
One downside, especially in today’s environment, is that American Express Travel Insurance does not sell CFAR insurance. If this is important to you, you should attempt to find the coverage elsewhere by using comparison sites.
Another downside that may or may not be important is that American Express Travel Insurance does not sell annual or multi-trip policies. You must purchase a new policy for each individual trip.
Also, like several other travel insurance companies, high-risk adventurous activities may not be covered with American Express Travel Insurance. You might look to a company specializing in insuring these activities such as World Nomads.
If you want to make sure you’re purchasing from an established company and have specific coverages you’re more interested in than others, American Express Travel Insurance is a solid decision. For package travel insurance policies, you might be able to realize modest savings by shopping around, but you won’t go wrong with the company selection of choosing American Express Travel Insurance.
All information and content provided by Upgraded Points is intended as general information and for educational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as medical advice or legal advice. For more information, see our Medical & Legal Disclaimers.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
Yes, overall. American Express Travel Insurance is backed by AMEX Assurance Company which is highly-rated, established, and reputable.
The company offers competitive travel insurance package policies but also allows the traveler to build their own policies with only the coverages they deem necessary. This option can save the traveler money.
If you’re looking for medical coverage for an international trip, for example, purchasing with an established company at a reasonable price makes American Express Travel Insurance a worthy choice.
No, you do not need to be an American Express cardholder to purchase a travel insurance policy from American Express Travel Insurance.
Travel insurance does not cover canceling your trip due to fear of getting sick. It also does not cover canceling your trip due to a government shutdown due to COVID-19, or a surge in cases in a particular area.
You may have coverage if you become ill due to COVID-19 and need to cancel your trip, depending on the terms of your policy.
You may also have coverage if you become ill due to COVID-19 during your travels.
The travel insurance coverages that come with your credit card can be sufficient to cover simple trips. If you’re booking a trip that has a complicated itinerary, involves several travel providers, or is more than a week in length, you might consider a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
In addition, if your trip is an expensive one, even if it’s simple and short, it would be prudent to cover your investment with a travel insurance policy.
Finally, credit cards do not come with medical insurance coverage. If you need this coverage while traveling, you’ll want to purchase a separate policy.
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