Credit Cards with Free Travel Insurance

Pauline Hatch     

One of the most popular extras offered on credit cards these days is complimentary travel insurance, which can cover everything from emergency medical expenses to car rental excess to flight delays.

But is it worth it? How much value can credit card insurance actually offer? Let’s take a look at credit card insurance to find out what it can offer you – and what you should look out for as you compare the cards below to choose the right credit card and right credit card insurance for you.
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What is complimentary credit card insurance?

Credit card travel insurance is an added feature on many premium and rewards credit cards. It offers free travel cover overseas or domestically (or both), which helps you save money when you travel.

Credit card travel insurance covers the cardholder and often additional cardholders, spouses and dependents as well. You'll usually need to pay for your travel on the card to activate the insurance, so it's important to read the PDS to make sure you're covered for your trip.

Let's look at how credit card travel insurance works.

COVID-19 Cover: for more information about COVID-19 cover on credit card travel insurance, click here.

 

Is credit card insurance really ‘complimentary’?

Technically, yes, the insurance is free. However, these kinds of extras are usually found on credit cards with higher annual fees or higher interest rates.

You might also need to spend a certain amount on your travel for the insurance to activate. For instance, it's typical to need to spend at least $500 on your card on flights, car hire or accommodation.

If you meet all the eligibility criteria, travel insurance is a great perk that can save you money every time you travel.

Should you choose a credit card simply for the insurance offered?

If you're a frequent traveller then complimentary travel insurance can help offset costs on your trips. Since travel insurance is usually found on cards with other travel extras, it could be a good 'package deal' that saves money on insurances, foreign fees, and gives flight discounts or earns rewards points.

It's important to read the terms if you know you're going to be using the complimentary insurance. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for age (most insurances don't cover you if you're over 80 years old) and that it covers any family members who travel with you.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • You may be able to save money, especially if you are a frequent traveller.
  • The cover offered may be similar to standalone cover.
  • You can save time comparing standalone cover for each trip you take.
  • The policy may cover your family if they are travelling with you (as long as you activate the policy correctly).
  • You may be able to enjoy continuing cover as you get older, whereas standalone cover can charge higher premiums for older travellers.
  • Your policy may offer cover for a range of international destinations, whereas the cost for standalone cover may vary according to where you travel.

Cons:

  • As credit card travel insurance is considered a premium feature, you may pay higher annual fees and interest.
  • Activation of travel insurance varies by card. You may have to spend a certain amount or pay for your entire trip using your card for the insurance to activate.
  • Cover varies. Your policy may offer cover overseas only, or within Australia only.
  • If you don’t travel that often, you may not get that much value from the insurance offered. You might find you're paying more in annual fees and interest and not getting the returns from perks like insurance.
  • Certain exclusions and an excess may apply.
  • The cover offered may not be as extensive as standalone travel insurance, in terms of the length on trip covered, the limits offered, or the activities covered.

🗨 Frequently Asked Questions

What should you be aware of when comparing credit card insurance?

Double-check these factors before applying for a card, especially if you're expecting to use the travel insurance for a trip.

  • Activation and eligibility: Cover is activated in different ways. Some require a minimum spend on the card, some need a return ticket. Some activate automatically while others need an online request. The PDS will tell you how to make sure you're covered.
  • Length of travel: Check how long the standard cover goes for. It could be 2 weeks, 30 days or 6 months. Some need a specific request for longer cover.
  • Excess: Whether excess is payable depends on the card and the cover policy. Think about how much you are willing to pay in excess, and whether the policy still offers value if you have to make a claim.
  • Terms and conditions: It's tedious, but important that you read the terms and conditions in full. Do this before you rely on the cover – not after you want to make a claim.

Which credit cards offer complimentary credit card insurance?

There's a wide range of credit cards that offer travel insurance, including low-cost cards. It's more common to find it as a perk on premium cards, specifically ones that focus on travel. That includes frequent flyer cards, rewards cards and platinum cards.

How do you make a claim on your credit card insurance?

Credit card travel insurance is backed by an underwriter, not the credit card provider. For instance, Allianz is the underwriter for NAB and Westpac insurance cover.

You'll find details on making a claim in the credit card insurance PDS. It's a good idea to know how to make a claim before you travel, just in case.

How do you choose the right credit card with the right travel insurance?

That's a very big question! Firstly, think about what you need from the card, and how you will use it. If you're looking for travel rewards, look for frequent flyer credit cards. Then compare the different features: travel insurance, lounge access, flight vouchers, flight delay cover and rewards points.

Another factor to consider is currency conversion fees and rates, if you plan to use the card while overseas. Some cards waive conversion fees altogether.

Is credit card travel insurance the same as regular insurance?

We get asked this one a lot. Travel insurance on a credit card is underwritten by the same insurers that you would take out a standalone policy with (for example, Allianz, Zurich or Chubb Insurance). So, there isn't a whole lot of difference.

You'll likely be covered for the same medical, emergency, transport and death cover that a standalone policy would. Just remember that some high-risk activities aren't covered by any insurers, such as skiing. You'll need add-on cover for that.

If you're comparing credit card insurance to standalone insurance, just make sure to consider:

  • Who is covered: credit card insurance usually covers you, additional cardholders and family members.
  • What is covered: credit card insurance sometimes covers rental vehicle excess, flight delays, lost baggage and trip cancellations as well.
  • Limitations and exclusions: credit card insurance can be more inclusive of seniors, with some cards offering optional extras for those over 79. It also rarely comes with extra costs for travelling to certain destinations, unlike standalone insurance.

Always check the PDS to make sure you're fully covered and your insurance is activated before you travel. I know I've repeated that over and over again, but it's really important with insurance cover.

 

 

Credit cards with included COVID-19 cover

These banks have released updates to include limited cover for pandemics and epidemics. Click to see the details of cover for each brand:

Until early this year, no credit card travel insurance covered events caused by COVID-19, meaning you had to cross your fingers and hope borders stayed open and you stayed well.

Now, most major credit card providers have jumped on the COVID-19 bandwagon, which is great to see since it gives a little more peace of mind around travelling. We've put together a rundown of each credit card and its coronavirus policy, but always check the card's PDS since it can change quickly.

Interestingly, some providers like ANZ and St. George have changed their terms to include all pandemic/epidemic disruptions from now on. Let's hope we don't need that anytime soon.

Remember, terms, conditions and exclusions apply to travel insurance. Check the PDS for more information.

American Express 

Amex has included a clause in its credit card travel insurance PDS that provides limited cover related to COVID-19:

Domestic return trips:

  • you can change, curtail or cancel your return trip if you, your travel buddy or the person you were visiting test positive for coronavirus.
  • You aren't covered if you need to cancel or reschedule because borders closed or travel advisory warnings are put in place.
  • If you become unwell with coronavirus while travelling, you can claim under Medical Emergency Expenses cover (not valid while a 'do not travel' warning is in place)

International return trips:

  • you can change, curtail or cancel your return trip if you, your travel buddy or the person you were visiting test positive for coronavirus.
  • You can be covered if borders close or a travel advisory warning is issued for the country you're visiting.
  • You won't be covered if Australia issues a 'do not travel' warning.
  • You won't be covered if the borders at your destination are already closed.
  • If you become unwell with coronavirus while travelling, you can claim under Medical Emergency Expenses cover (not valid while a 'do not travel' warning is in place)

Amex credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including COVID-19 cover:


ANZ

ANZ credit cards with complimentary travel insurance now include coverage for pandemic and epidemic disruptions and illnesses, including COVID-19.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • if you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive to COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Cancellation, Additional Expenses, Evacuation & Repatriation, and Overseas Emergency Assistance cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Medical Emergency cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover is available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • There is no mention of coverage if you're prevented from travelling by border closures or travel warnings.
  • You aren't covered if you travel to a destination with a travel advice warning by the Australian government.

ANZ credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including COVID-19 cover:


NAB 

NAB has updated its complimentary travel insurance to include some coverage for COVID-19, effective as of June 30, 2022.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive to COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Overseas Emergency Assistance, Overseas Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, Cancellation, and Additional Expenses cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Medical Emergency cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover is available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • You aren't covered if you don't follow advice or warnings when travelling to a destination; for example, a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' alert from the Australian government, or published by a reliable media source.
  • NAB's travel insurance policy specifically states there are no other pandemic or epidemic-related circumstances covered, which likely includes border closures or other travel restrictions.

NAB credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including COVID-19 cover:


Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard 

Latitude 28° had a limited-time travel insurance offer that included COVID-19 cover for its Global Platinum card. The offer ended 31 July 2022, and we've kept the information here for customers.

Claims related to COVID-19:

  • Cover applies to you and your 'family', which includes you, your spouse and up to 3 eligible children
  • You can claim up to $700,000 per person in medical costs if you need treatment for COVID-19 during an overseas covered trip
  • You may be covered for travel and accommodation deposits if you contract COVID-19 on a covered trip and a doctor certifies you're unfit to travel
  • If you have to quarantine just before departure because you've tested positive to COVID-19, you may be covered for administrative costs (but not any other additional costs related to your quarantine)
  • You're not covered for any additional costs such as accommodation or flights because of borders closures or travel disruptions

Bendigo Bank

Bendigo Bank credit cards with complimentary travel insurance now include coverage for pandemic and epidemic disruptions and illnesses in its PDS, including COVID-19.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive to COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Cancellation, Additional Expenses, Evacuation & Repatriation, and Overseas Emergency Assistance cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Emergency Medical cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover is available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • There is no mention of coverage if you're prevented from travelling by border closures or travel warnings.
  • You aren't covered if you travel to a destination with a travel advice warning by the Australian government, even if you have an exemption or permission from the Australian government to travel

Bendigo Bank credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including pandemic cover:


St. George 

St.George Amplify Signature Credit CardSt. George has updated its complimentary travel insurance to include some coverage for COVID-19, effective as of June 30, 2022.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive for COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Overseas Emergency Assistance, Overseas Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, Cancellation, and Additional Expenses cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Medical Emergency cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover is available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • If you or your companion become so sick with COVID-19 that can't continue travelling, you may be reimbursed for additional accommodation and travel expenses.
  • You aren't covered if you don't follow advice or warnings when travelling to a destination; for example, a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' alert from the Australian government, or published by a reliable media source.

St. George credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including pandemic and epidemic cover:


Westpac 

Westpac has updated its complimentary travel insurance to include some coverage for current and future pandemics and epidemics, including COVID-19, effective as of June 30, 2022.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive for COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Overseas Emergency Assistance, Overseas Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, Cancellation, and Additional Expenses cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Medical Emergency cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover is available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • If you or your companion become so sick with COVID-19 that can't continue travelling, you may be reimbursed for additional accommodation and travel expenses.
  • You aren't covered if you don't follow advice or warnings when travelling to a destination; for example, a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' alert from the Australian government, or published by a reliable media source.

Westpac credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including pandemic and epidemic cover:


Bank of Melbourne

Bank of Melbourne Amplify Platinum Credit CardBank of Melbourne has updated its complimentary travel insurance to include some coverage for current and future pandemics and epidemics, including COVID-19, effective as of June 30, 2022.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive for COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Overseas Emergency Assistance, Overseas Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, Cancellation, and Additional Expenses cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Medical Emergency cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover may be available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • If you or your companion become so sick with COVID-19 that you can't continue travelling, you may be reimbursed for additional accommodation and travel expenses.
  • You aren't covered if you don't follow advice or warnings when travelling to a destination; for example, a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' alert from the Australian government, or published by a reliable media source.

Bank of Melbourne credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including pandemic and epidemic cover:


BankSA

BankSA has updated its complimentary travel insurance to include some coverage for current and future pandemics and epidemics, including COVID-19, effective as of June 30, 2022.

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you or any dependents covered by the travel insurance test positive for COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Overseas Emergency Assistance, Overseas Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, Cancellation, and Additional Expenses cover.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19, you may be able to claim Overseas Medical Emergency cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover may be available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • If you or your companion become so sick with COVID-19 that you can't continue travelling, you may be reimbursed for additional accommodation and travel expenses.
  • You aren't covered if you don't follow advice or warnings when travelling to a destination; for example, a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' alert from the Australian government, or published by a reliable media source.

BankSA credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including pandemic and epidemic cover:


Bankwest

Bankwest has now updated its credit card travel insurance PDS to provide limited cover related to COVID-19. Take note, this cover only includes limited medical cover:

Claims related to pandemic/epidemic cover:

  • If you test positive for Covid-19 you may be able to access Overseas Medical Emergency and Hospital Expenses cover.
  • You aren't covered if you don't take appropriate action to avoid countries with a 'do not travel' warning advised by the Australian government or mass media.
  • You will not be covered for flight cancellations, accommodation or any other travel expenses.
  • You will not be covered for anything Covid-related on a cruise.

Bankwest credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including COVID-19 cover:


HSBC

HSBC has included a clause in its credit card travel insurance PDS that provides limited cover related to COVID-19:

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you test positive for COVID-19, or any illness recognised as a pandemic/epidemic, you may be able to claim the Overseas Emergency Assistance, Overseas Emergency Medical, Medical Evacuation & Repatriation, Cancellation, and Additional Expenses cover.
  • If your travel buddy becomes ill with COVID-19, cover is available under Cancellation and Additional Expenses.
  • You aren't covered if you don't follow advice or warnings when travelling to a destination; for example, a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel' alert from the Australian government, or published by a reliable media source.
  • You aren't covered if borders close during your trip.

HSBC credit cards with complimentary travel insurance including COVID-19 cover:


CommBank

CommBank has included a clause in its credit card travel insurance PDS that provides limited cover related to COVID-19:

Claims related to pandemics/epidemics:

  • If you test positive for Covid-19 you may be able to access Overseas Medical Emergency and Hospital Expenses cover.
  • You aren't covered if you don't take appropriate action to avoid countries with a 'do not travel' warning advised by the Smart Traveller website (excluding Australia and New Zealand).
  • You will not be covered for flight cancellations, accommodation or any other travel expenses.
  • You will not be covered for anything Covid-related on a cruise.

BOQ

BOQ has updated its credit card travel insurance PDS to cover COVID-19 in a limited capacity:

Claims related to COVID-19:

  • You may be covered for costs incurred from having to cancel, curtail or change your trip because you or your travel buddy contract COVID-19.
  • You may be covered for overseas medical emergency expenses on your overseas return trip and transportation of remains if you die from COVID-19 while travelling (it must be confirmed and diagnosed on your trip).
  • Besides Trip Cancellation and Amendment Cover and Overseas Medical Emergency Expenses cover, you won't be covered for anything else caused by COVID-19 or any of its variants.

Qantas Money

Qantas was one of the last to come to the Covid party. Its updated travel insurance policy now has limited COVID-19 coverage:

Claims related to COVID-19:

  • You may be covered for costs incurred from having to cancel, curtail or change your trip because you or your travel buddy contract COVID-19.
  • You may be covered for overseas medical emergency expenses on your overseas return trip and transportation of remains if you die from COVID-19 while travelling (it must be confirmed or diagnosed on your trip).
  • Besides Trip Cancellation and Amendment Cover and Overseas Medical Emergency Expenses cover, you won't be covered for anything else caused by COVID-19 or any of its variants.

Other credit cards with complimentary travel insurance

Almost all banks and insurance companies have updated their insurance terms to include COVID-19 since 2020. You can find and compare credit cards with free travel insurance here, but always check the terms and conditions to see what you're covered for.

Tips for using complimentary travel insurance

First, always read the PDS carefully. I know, it's like a broken record, but insurances come with a lot of 'but's and 'only if's that could leave you high and dry - and out of pocket - if things go awry. Clauses regarding COVID-19 are still new, so make sure you understand what you're covered for.

Second, make sure you activate your credit card's travel insurance. You'll usually be able to check that it's active via the card's website or by calling customer service.

💡 TIP: Accommodations, airlines and tour operators may have their own COVID-19 policies that are worth checking before you book, too. 

Pauline Hatch

Pauline Hatch is a personal finance expert at Creditcard.com.au with 8 years of finance writing under her belt. She loves turning complex money concepts into simple, practical actions so you can win financially. You can ask Pauline any questions by submitting a comment below and get a personal reply.

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21 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

john cunningham

john cunningham

11 November 2023
Do any credit cards offer travel insurance to over 80's?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    15 November 2023
    Hi John! Most credit card travel insurances cover up to and including 79 or 80, but some do have limited cover for over-80s. Cards that use CoverMore as its insurer seem to have more chance of getting limited cover, so you could look at Bankwest and Commbank cards. NAB may also have limited cover up to 90 years old. Just read the travel insurance PDS carefully and give the bank a call to find out the type of cover available before you travel. All the best!
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