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What Credit Card provides free travel insurance?


DrSea
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Hi,

 

I am 100% completely new to travel insurance, as I am in my early 30s. But some people in my party are not, and I want to see what available options there are for travel insurance. 

 

I heard that some American credit card companies provide free travel insurance if you use them to pay for the trip. Does this cover cancellations, rebookings, flight cancellations? Do these policies cover when I, as an American, book with cruises in Europe or Asia? Do these free policies cover covid?

 

I presume a separate policy will have to be bought for medical emergencies (heart attacks, strokes, head trauma), but can someone confirm? You know what they say about assuming? 

 

Thank you for your help, and please excuse my ignorance on this matter. 

Edited by DrSea
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Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best one in my opinion, but the insurance benefits are more restrictive than with a comprehensive trip insurance plans. It offers minimal medical benefits, no pre-existing conditions waiver and covered cancelation/interruption reasons are typically more restrictive than with most insurance plans.  It also has a hefty $550 annual fee, plus a charge for additional users.  But you get a $300 annual travel credit plus other benefits that can more than offset the fee.  Chase Sapphire Preferred is a cheaper version that offers fewer benefits but can be attractive depending on your situation.  AmEx Platinum is another pricey card that competes with Chase Sapphire Reserve.  I am less familiar with the AmEx cards, but IMHO, Chase is a litter better for the insurance benefits, but AmEx may offer other benefits that are more attractive to you.

 

As long as you have adequate medical coverage from another source, and you understand the coverage and limitations, the credit cards can be a good deal. It all comes down to cost vs risk tolerance. In our situation, we carry an annual travel medical/evac policy and a Chase card.  For some trips, depending on the situation, we also take out a trip specific policy.  

 

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

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A Google search will turn up several lists of cards offering travel benefits. The thing to remember about any of them is that they are providing the coverage as a part of a package of benefits for the price of your annual fee, meaning the coverage will not be as robust as if you purchased a comprehensive travel policy.

 

That being said, Chase Sapphire Reserve is generally considered the best. For your $500 plus fee, you get $2,500 in medical benefits, cancellation coverage with a $10,000 limit per trip and  a $20,000 annual cap. Trip interruption pays for only the unused portion of your trip, not the extra expenses to get home, and trip delay is limited to $500 for things like mechanical breakdowns or weather. Pre-existing conditions are not covered, and the list of reasons for cancellation is generally shorter than a stand-alone policy. You are covered anywhere as long as your trip does not exceed 60 days.

 

The card does have some attractive features such as reimbursement for Global Entry, lounge access, and $300 credit for travel purchases. Consider the total offering to see if it fits the way you travel and your spending habits. While there are many here on CC who are comfortable combining credit card coverage with a medical-only policy, I’d consider it as supplemental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, DrSea said:

Hi,

 

I am 100% completely new to travel insurance, as I am in my early 30s. But some people in my party are not, and I want to see what available options there are for travel insurance. 

 

I heard that some American credit card companies provide free travel insurance if you use them to pay for the trip. Does this cover cancellations, rebookings, flight cancellations? Do these policies cover when I, as an American, book with cruises in Europe or Asia? Do these free policies cover covid?

 

I presume a separate policy will have to be bought for medical emergencies (heart attacks, strokes, head trauma), but can someone confirm? You know what they say about assuming? 

 

Thank you for your help, and please excuse my ignorance on this matter. 

 

You might want to discuss all of this with Steve, owner of www.TripInsuranceStore.com (or one of his associates).  They are a broker, and don't push policies or try to upsell.  He posts here on CC also.

 

If you are new to travel insurance, he can help you understand the differences between/among the policies he sells (from several vetted travel insurers), and also a bit about the cruise line policies - but keep in mind he doesn't sell the latter, so he may not be as intimately familiar with all the terms.

More importantly, he can ask you questions and thus help you figure out differences among policies that are specifically relevant for *your* concerns.  Pre-existing medical condition?  Frail, elderly relative remaining at home?  Might you want to cancel for "any reason" (CFAR) even if there isn't anything specific happening... e.g., Covid case frequency seems to be rising where you would be heading?  Or worries about political unrest?  (CFAR tends to cost extra, and most 3rd party policies pay only 75% back, but in cash, not cruise credits with limitations, etc.)

 

We learned of him/them here on CC and elsewhere I've written extensively about how we had a major claim on the very first policy we ever purchased.  So it became a "Don't leave home without it" plan for us, especially for any distant trip.  We've had several claims, including a couple of large ones, and all were paid without nonsense (well, except for two tips to taxi drivers, where I hadn't gotten receipts that included the tips (duh!):  ALWAYS get receipts for anything you will claim!  But those were tiny amounts.) 

 

One important thing to be aware of involves extra expenses of getting home if you need to change plans due to an emergency.  Last minute plane tickets can be much more expensive than those purchased far in advance; sometimes the same for one-way tickets.  Trip interruption coverage might (our plans always do) allow 150% of the insurance maximum for this reason as well as also needing to pay for  some expenses that might not be refundable, etc.

 

But the biggest potential expense is medical and perhaps medevac.

Some people explain that one can "afford" losing the cost of the trip itself, as it's already paid for.  Well, yes, sure.  However, we think back to that "first big celebratory trip"...  At the time, we'd never paid anything like that other than our honeymoon.  We are sure that IF we had lost that amount, even though we could "afford it", we would have been very skittish about planning something special like that.  As it was, while our only travel during those weeks was at home, back and forth for medical visits, we frequently mumbled about how glad we were that we had that insurance, "so we won't have to pay for that trip again!"

Suffice it to say that the amount of that trip was fairly soon not at all among the most expensive.  We've had some very special trips, and probably would have been too hesitant if we hadn't had that insurance.

(We've had several more claims, including a few large ones, so we happen to be among those who have received more in claims than we've paid in premiums over several years.  We wish that had NOT been the case, of course!)

 

We would not rely upon charge card coverage, even though we have Amex Plat and Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Too many exclusions...

 

BTW, CALL the TIS folks; don't rely upon the website summaries for all the details.  All the details can't fit there.  (Also, there's no extra charge to work through them.)

 

Enjoy your travels, regardless of what you do! 🙂 

 

GC

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I have a Chase Sapphire card with an annual fee of $89.  Here's their trip cancellation / interruption benefit:

 

"The Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefit provides
reimbursement for Eligible Travel Expenses charged to the
Cardholder’s Account up to ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollars
per Covered Person and up to twenty thousand ($20,000.00)
dollars per Trip, if a loss results in cancellation or interruption of the
travel arrangements.
The Cardholder and Immediate Family Members are covered."

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Correct. I was thinking in terms of per person, but the policy allows for multiple travelers to be covered so two people could be covered up to $10,000 each for one trip or a family five could be covered for $4,000 each for one trip to meet the $20,000 per occurrence max.

 

The 12-month limit for the Reserve card is actually $40,000.

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I would caution (as has been posted by others) that credit card trip insurance is much more restrictive than many policies that are for sale on both a per trip and annual basis.  I agree with the other poster that the OP might want to talk to a decent travel insurance broker to get some detailed guidance.   In terms of Chase Sapphire and AMEX Platinum (both of which provide some trip cancellation and interruption benefits) these cards have very restrictive rules which might not meet the needs/wants of many potential customers.  I am living proof that Chase does pay out on their benefit (we collected $10,000) but the claims process was trying and required a lot of documentation and patience.  

 

Hank

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On 2/10/2022 at 1:56 PM, Hlitner said:

Chase does pay out on their benefit (we collected $10,000) but the claims process was trying and required a lot of documentation and patience.  

In looking at reviews of the Majority of Travel Insurance companies - I see the exact same claim that you made about Chase...it is the Nature of the (Insurance) Beast.

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  • 2 months later...
On 2/12/2022 at 5:34 PM, ljones said:

In looking at reviews of the Majority of Travel Insurance companies - I see the exact same claim that you made about Chase...it is the Nature of the (Insurance) Beast.

So does the date of the deposit count as the date pre-existing medical would be established?  This could make or break that part of the exclusion.  Say you deposit in 2021 and final payment happens mid 2022.  You develop a condition in between the two dates.  
 

thoughts?

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33 minutes ago, galveston gal said:

So does the date of the deposit count as the date pre-existing medical would be established?  This could make or break that part of the exclusion.  Say you deposit in 2021 and final payment happens mid 2022.  You develop a condition in between the two dates.  
 

thoughts?

 

That's the entire point of starting the insurance coverage!

Otherwise, why bother to start coverage in advance, if what happens after the insurance is in place isn't going to be protected?

 

Note that there is still that look-back period from the date the insurance is started.

 

GC

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, galveston gal said:

So does the date of the deposit count as the date pre-existing medical would be established?  This could make or break that part of the exclusion.  Say you deposit in 2021 and final payment happens mid 2022.  You develop a condition in between the two dates.  
 

thoughts?


A pre-existing condition is anything in your medical history that is already there before the policy takes effect. If you want to qualify for a pre-existing conditions waiver, buy the policy within the defined time period. You have two choices. Usually, you have to buy within 14-21 days of initial deposit, but there are policies that grant the pre-existing waiver at final payment. In either case, once the company receives your money and the policy is in effect, you are covered for pre-existing as well as new conditions or injuries.

 

So if you choose to buy the policy that grants a waiver at final payment, it does not matter what happens between deposit and final payment. 
 

Without the waiver, the insurance company will look back at your medical history anywhere from 60 days to 180 or more depending on the policy. The purpose is to see if your reason for cancellation or claim for medical treatment during the cruise is related to anything already in your record. If it is related, the claim will be denied. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Babr
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the Chase IHG card also includes travel insurance, similar to what Hlitner describes above.

I did get a claim through them -- luckily I wasn't working full time, it took that much paperwork and follow through.   In the end, they did pay out ~$2500, with only a few items disallowed.

My claim was for a trip to Peru/Machu Picchu that I'd put together myself, which added to the complexity.    Once I understood what I was looking for, it became a bit easier.    

 

We continue to insure via the same credit card, an annual GeoBlue policy, and a medigap policy.   Yes, there's always a small part of the trip that we end up self-insuring, as none of these include CFAR.

 

Mary

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On 5/7/2022 at 4:16 PM, Babr said:


A pre-existing condition is anything in your medical history that is already there before the policy takes effect. If you want to qualify for a pre-existing conditions waiver, buy the policy within the defined time period. You have two choices. Usually, you have to buy within 14-21 days of initial deposit, but there are policies that grant the pre-existing waiver at final payment. In either case, once the company receives your money and the policy is in effect, you are covered for pre-existing as well as new conditions or injuries.

 

So if you choose to buy the policy that grants a waiver at final payment, it does not matter what happens between deposit and final payment. 
 

Without the waiver, the insurance company will look back at your medical history anywhere from 60 days to 180 or more depending on the policy. The purpose is to see if your reason for cancellation or claim for medical treatment during the cruise is related to anything already in your record. If it is related, the claim will be denied. 

 

 

 

 

The question was about travel insurance or protection which is inherent in the credit card agreement.  Does the date of the look back start at deposit date?  I used my card for the deposit and all other charges.   
 

Sorry if I didn’t explain it in enough detail.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, galveston gal said:

The question was about travel insurance or protection which is inherent in the credit card agreement.  Does the date of the look back start at deposit date?  I used my card for the deposit and all other charges.   
 

Sorry if I didn’t explain it in enough detail.


 

What credit card are you using? Most don’t cover pre-existing conditions at all so the deposit date does not matter.

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5 minutes ago, Babr said:


 

What credit card are you using? Most don’t cover pre-existing conditions at all so the deposit date does not matter.

So at deposit time there was no condition.  At sailing time there is a condition.  You are saying that would be considered pre-existing and coverage would be denied?  It’s a United Club card.  I have asked for details from the  card company.

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We have Travel insurance with our Chase IHG card.    Here's what the document says about Pre-existing conditions.   Note the 'look back' period is the 60 days before the initial deposit or booking date (whichever occurs first).   -- Mary

 

Pre-existing Condition - illness, disease or accidental injury of You or Your Traveling Companion, Your Immediate Family Member or the Immediate Family Member of Your Traveling Companion, for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received within the sixty (60) day period immediately prior to the initial deposit or booking date (whichever occurs first) of a Trip; the taking of prescription drugs or medication for a controlled condition throughout this sixty (60) day period will not be considered to be a treatment of illness or disease; additionally, regular antenatal care, through twenty-six (26) weeks gestation, provided it is a single, uncomplicated pregnancy which does not arise from services or treatment associated with an assisted reproductive program, including but not limited to in vitro fertilization, is not considered to be a treatment of illness or disease

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2 minutes ago, galveston gal said:

So at deposit time there was no condition.  At sailing time there is a condition.  You are saying that would be considered pre-existing and coverage would be denied?  It’s a United Club card.  I have asked for details from the  card company.

 

fyi, I was able to download the document from the Chase site for my credit card.   Yes, it took a little looking around to find it 🙂

 

Mary

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It depends on whether your card covers pre-existing conditions. Most don’t. 
 

As Mary said, you can download the Benefits Guide. I’ll see what I can find for United Club.

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27 minutes ago, galveston gal said:

So at deposit time there was no condition.  At sailing time there is a condition.  You are saying that would be considered pre-existing and coverage would be denied?  It’s a United Club card.  I have asked for details from the  card company.


 

Did not find entire policy, but based on what Mary posted - if that is the card in question - the look-back period is 60 days from the initial deposit. That means the sixty days before you placed a deposit must be clear of any medical events that would contribute to a cancellation. For instance, if you had a medical test or sought treatment for symptoms in those 60 days before making a deposit which later caused you to cancel, it would not be covered. The same is true of a change in RX if it causes your condition to become unstable.


It does not provide a waiver for pre-existing conditions in the same way a comprehensive policy does, but you are covered if the 60 days prior to deposit is clear. What happens after that does not matter.

 

 

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4 hours ago, galveston gal said:

So at deposit time there was no condition.  At sailing time there is a condition.  You are saying that would be considered pre-existing and coverage would be denied?  It’s a United Club card.  I have asked for details from the  card company.

 

Note that "pre-existing condition" for "travel insurance reasons" is usually very different from what we think of in "everyday life".  It can involve, for example, a change in dosage of a minor medication in some cases.  Or a recommedation from a physician that some tests be done.

 

Yes, if you have a medical claim where pre-existing conditions are not covered, the insurer is likely to request copies of your medical records to check for all of this.

 

One nice side-advantage of having a policy where there is no exclusion for pre-existing conditions is that the claims process is likely to be much faster.  The insurer would not need to check prior medical records, because it wouldn't matter.

 

Read the coverage (from the card or a travel insurer) very carefully and make sure you understand what a pre-existing condition is for the purposes of your specific policy.

 

GC

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42 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

Yes, if you have a medical claim where pre-existing conditions are not covered, the insurer is likely to request copies of your medical records to check for all of this.

 

 

This is info for Galveston Gal but touches on what Geezer is saying about the insurance company wanting access to your medical records.

 

This also applies to if you should cancel for any non traveling family members needing medical care. Insurance company has the right to access their medical records also. One can claim HIPAA, but the insurance can also decline coverage without that access.

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22 hours ago, Mary loves to travel said:

 

fyi, I was able to download the document from the Chase site for my credit card.   Yes, it took a little looking around to find it 🙂

 

Mary

Thanks Mary.  I will go searching on our site as well.  The brochure they sent doesn’t even cover all the details.  I know I have found this previously but it’s like they make it hard to find ….

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5 hours ago, galveston gal said:

Thanks Mary.  I will go searching on our site as well.  The brochure they sent doesn’t even cover all the details.  I know I have found this previously but it’s like they make it hard to find ….

Mary I found the same language!  I like this as an insurance option!  And for the dilemma I have going on it will work like a charm.

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Just now, galveston gal said:

Mary I found the same language!  I like this as an insurance option!  And for the dilemma I have going on it will work like a charm.

We had to use ours on a land trip to Machu Picchu that went wrong.     It took a lot of paperwork (I didn't fully understand what the policy covered & what it did not, so didn't provide the right paperwork for everything at the beginning .... some of it was on their end, too).   I stuck with it & am very satisified with the result.     Between this & an annual GeoBlue policy, we think we are well covered for travel & this cruise.

 

While the brochure says "all or part" of the trip must be charged to the cc, I am careful to put everything on that card, just to be sure.

 

Mary

 

 

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1 hour ago, galveston gal said:

Mary I found the same language!  I like this as an insurance option!  And for the dilemma I have going on it will work like a charm.


You were not responding to me, but I thought I should add that, while the cancellation provision will apparently work for you, be aware that the Trip Interruption and Trip Delay provisions will be of little help if you are impacted by a positive Covid test during your trip or upon testing positive for a return flight. Neither will pay for hotel or meals - only change fees or common carrier delays.

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