The Best Credit Cards for Purchase Protection [2021]

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. Many consumers don’t understand the protection available for eligible items purchased with their credit cards, let alone utilize these benefits.

But there’s no need to go searching for your credit card benefits guide just yet as we’re going to dig into the value of a key protection benefit for eligible items purchased with your card. We’re going to explore purchase protection benefits, including how coverage works, and some of the best credit cards that offer purchase protection. We’ll review how long your item is covered for and how much you can expect to receive, which items are covered or excluded, and 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 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 and 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 homeowner’s, 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.

To begin our review of the top cards for purchase protection, we’ve selected 2 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.

We’ve also included 1 of our favorite travel rewards cards that offers a stellar list of additional benefits, including 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 — in full, just a portion, or with points — 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 Amex Platinum card. The card comes with coverage of up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account. Coverage for loss, theft, or damage is provided for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

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 Reserve® Card

Another premium credit card that offers purchase protection with a limit of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Coverage is offered for up to 120 days from the date of purchase for theft, damage, or “involuntary and accidental parting.”

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

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with benefits like Priority Pass lounge access to more than 1,300 lounge properties globally, a $300 travel credit each card anniversary year (including gas and grocery purchases through December 31, 2021), and a redemption bonus of 50% more value when redeeming points via the Chase travel portal.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of our favorite rewards cards due to the fact it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points which are one of the most valuable travel rewards currencies available.

In addition to purchase protection coverage, the card offers a long list of additional benefits including travel insurance benefits and shopping protections.

While the card does not come with benefit limits as high as our first 2 featured premium cards, the card does have purchase protection limits of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. Coverage extends for theft, damage, or “involuntary and accidental parting” for 120 days of protection from the purchase date.

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

Best Business Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

Luggage and chair
Secure short-term protection for your business purchases by using a business credit card with purchase protection. Image Credit: Tumi

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 some examples of 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

Man with smashed damaged broken phone
Purchase protection may cover your cell phone for a limited period after purchase, but some credit cards offer ongoing coverage. Image Credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS via Adobe Stock

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 to 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 a credit card that offers ongoing protection?!

Here are some examples of cards that provide ongoing monthly cell phone protection against theft/damage when you charge your monthly wireless bill to the card.

Some credit cards also offer elevated earnings for paying your wireless bill, such as the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card that earns 5% cash-back for each dollar spent on phone service purchases. Some credit cards earn just 1x or 1% earnings on wireless services. For these cards, you’ll need to determine which delivers more value for you over the long term: having ongoing cell phone protection or earning rewards.

To learn more specifics about the best credit cards for cell phone protection, we’ve summarized more information in this article.

Bottom Line: While purchase protection can provide initial coverage for cell phones (90 to 120 days), charging your monthly wireless bill to a card that offers ongoing protection, such as the Ink Business Preferred card, for example, may provide more value to you over the long term. Note that rented or leased phones are generally excluded from coverage.

Which Purchases Are Covered?

Man trying to fix broken tv
Expensive items like a flat-screen TV can be covered for purchase protection when using an eligible credit card or associated reward points to make your purchase. Image Credit: Elnur via Adobe Stock

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.

Both American Express and Chase credit cards allow you to use your card to either pay for the item in full, partially, use rewards points earned on the card, or pay with a combination of the card and points in order to be eligible for coverage.

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 to 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 the card issuer (American Express/Chase) and by card network (Visa/Mastercard/American Express).

Keep in mind that purchase protection is generally 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:

  • Animals, plants, perishables
  • Antiques/collectibles
  • Cash alternatives (traveler’s checks, gift cards, debit cards)
  • Commercial items being resold
  • Computer software
  • Firearms/ammunition
  • Items under the control of a common carrier (such as the post office, an airplane, or delivery service)
  • Jewelry/watches in checked baggage
  • Motorized vehicles, trailers
  • 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 to 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 credit card 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 came 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 benefits guide online once you’re signed in to your credit card account
  • If not available online, you may be able to request a benefits 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

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 may find on various 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 the associated terms/conditions.

Hot Tip: Purchase protection and price protection are not the same. You can read up on price protection here

Everything Else You Need To Know

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

Since homeowner’s, 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 benefits 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 no-cost coverage on a qualifying item, you can’t beat the extra credit card benefit of purchase protection. And the good news is that so many credit cards offer coverage.

Earning rewards 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.

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, Chase Freedom Flex℠ Credit Card, Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit Card, AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®, IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card, Wells Fargo Propel American Express®, and Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

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
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, click here

Frequently asked questions

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 an eligible 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 to 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 normally grant coverage for cell phones for a specific period after your purchase date, usually 90 to 120 days.

To receive ongoing coverage, a few credit cards (such as the Ink Business Preferred 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.

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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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. Wrong on multiple accounts. Chase Sapphire Preferred purchase protection is only up to $500 per claim, and Citi Double Cash no longer offers any purchase protection. If you’re going to claim that this article is updated as of October 2020 please ensure that your information is accurate!


    • Hi Sk,

      Thanks for pointing out the typo regarding the Sapphire Preferred card. I’ve correct that now. I do not see any mentions of the Citi Double Cash in the post, so I’m not sure what instance you’re referring to there. In any case, thanks for bringing this to our attention!


  2. It would be useful if we could get a comparable guide for return protection!


  3. s sandhaus May 18, 2021

    If I buy an item with the Amex platinum or chase sapphire reserve card, and pay for the item partially with card and partially with cash, and the item gets lost/stolen, in case the item qualifies for a full refund, will I get reimbursed for the full amount the item cost (less than 10L) or only for the amount that was paid with the credit card?


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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