The benefits of free travel insurance with credit cards
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The benefits of free travel insurance with credit cards

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Who doesn’t love free stuff? When it comes to credit cards, ‘free’ stuff will always be appealing. From free insurances, to bonus rewards points, to cashback, to gift cards, credit card providers are always coming up with new incentives to attract new customers.

One popular incentive many credit card providers now offer is free travel insurance. But is credit card travel insurance really worthwhile?

To help you make the right decision, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of credit card travel insurance, what it covers, and what it doesn’t cover. We’re also going to look at which credit cards offer free travel insurance – from American Express, all the way to Westpac.

Which credit cards offer free travel insurance?

In the past, only premium credit cards offered incentives such as free travel insurance. Nowadays however, standard credit cards, rewards cards and frequent flyer cards often offer complimentary insurances as well.

Scroll down for our list of credit cards currently offering free travel insurance.

What to be aware of when choosing a credit card with free travel insurance

When credit card providers offer ‘free’ features such as insurance, it can often mean the card is more costly in fees and interest. Just as you would do when comparing rewards cards, think about what you are getting from the card, and how much you are paying for those features. (Find out more about making the most of your rewards card here.)

The key to choosing the right credit card – in any circumstance – is making sure it offers value for money. Think about what you are getting from the travel insurance, what cover it offers, what exceptions there are, and how often you are going to use it.

What are the benefits of credit card travel insurance?

The main benefit of credit card travel insurance is the cover it provides. Your credit card provides you with travel cover, so you don’t have to buy standalone travel insurance, which should save you money – and the hassle of looking for cover.

Depending on your insurer, you could be covered for medical costs, travel delays and cancellations, lost baggage and personal belongings, and lost money and travel documents. You may also be covered for flight ‘inconvenience’, transit accidents, and car rental excess.

Here are the main types of insurance available on credit card travel insurance (bear in mind that most of the travel insurance is for overseas trips only).

  • International/Overseas Travel Insurance: Travel cancellation, overseas medical expenses, lost luggage or travel documents, accidental death and disability, missed connections, personal liability and more.
  • Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance: You’re usually covered if, during an interstate flight, your luggage is lost or delayed or if you have to cancel or amend an interstate flight due to serious illness.
  • Transit accident insurance: Covers you if you or members of your family die or are seriously injured in an accident while travelling.
  • Rental Excess Cover: Reduces your excess payment if you made the car hire on the credit card, but usually only if you took the comprehensive insurance option.

In order to make the most out of your credit card travel insurance, be sure to read the terms and conditions of the cover, and find out about any possible exclusions.

And remember…

  • Always remember the free insurance will only be activated if you purchase the item on the card, for example the full price of the air fare or the holiday. (Find out more about booking travel and accommodation on your credit card here.)
  • Always read and understand the terms and conditions closely before relying on the insurance cover, all of the banks use reliable insurers but there are still subtle differences to be found.
  • Supplementary card members are often NOT covered unless they’re an immediate family member. So a friend or colleague who has an additional card on the account may not be covered.

Find out more about credit card travel insurance and what it covers here.

American Express Credit Cards

American Express cards provide extensive free travel insurance options. The most important difference is the domestic cover – most other providers don’t offer this. American Express free travel insurance is provided by ACE Insurance. The Platinum card has 18 different insurance benefits including roadside assistance and hijack cover.

American Express credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Velocity Platinum

Up to 2.5 million on medical expenses, travel cancellation cover up to $10,000, personal liability up to $1 million, baggage, money and document cover varies

Flight delays, missed connections or luggage delays – pay outs vary according to the card range

Up to $400,000

N/A

Velocity Business

Qantas Premium

Qantas Ultimate

Platinum Edge

Platinum Card

Platinum

Yes

Platinum Business

ANZ Credit Cards

ANZ’s four platinum cards all feature free travel insurance. The travel and medical insurance covers a trip of up to 6 months. Interstate flight inconvenience covers you for return flights purchased for up to a 14 day period, and transport accident insurance covers plane, bus, ferry or train journeys when you’ve bought the full fare on your ANZ Platinum card.

ANZ credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Frequent Flyer Platinum

Up to 6 months for a minimum trip purchase of $250

Return flights up to 14 days – trip cancellation,

Up to $350,000 for injuries on plane, train, ferry or tourist bus

Reduced excess for hiring on the card

Platinum

Low Rate Platinum

Rewards Platinum

Bank of Melbourne, Bank SA and St George Credit Cards

Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and St George all provide the same products under different branding, and therefore the same insurance cover. All cover is for the main cardholder, their spouse and dependent children.

Bank Of Melbourne, Bank SA, St George cardsOverseas Travel InsuranceDomestic Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Platinum card

Up to 6 months

Up to 14 day return trips flight & luggage delay,

Plane, train, ferry or tourist bus

Included

Citi Credit Cards

All Citi credit cards shown on this site are regarded as premium and include international travel insurance. The Signature and Prestige cards are more comprehensive than the Platinum cards in terms of domestic cover – there is no domestic flight inconvenience insurance included on those.

Citibank credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Clear Platinum

Up to 6 months

n/a

The cardholder and immediate family are covered if entire trip paid for on the card

Included in travel insurance if you have taken comprehensive insurance on the rental

Emirates Platinum

Platinum

Prestige

Up to 14 day return trips

Signature

Commonwealth Bank Credit Cards

Commonwealth Bank credit cards’ free travel insurance is only really extensive on the Awards Platinum card option.  The other credit cards provide overseas travel insurance but not interstate flight inconvenience or transit accident insurance. The cardholder’s spouse and dependent children are automatically covered.

CommBank credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Low Fee

Trips up to 3 months

n/a

n/a

Limit of $2250

Low Fee Gold

Awards Gold

Awards Platinum

Trips up to 6 months

Yes

Yes

Diners Club Credit Cards

Diners Club (yes it still exists) offers extensive free travel insurance as it’s a premium credit card offering. It offers cover for the card holder, spouse and dependent children for all items, the cover of which is provided by Zurich Insurance.

Diners Club credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Qantas Card

Unlimited medical cover (with some small conditions) Up to 3 month trips

Up to 14 day trips, loss of items, cancellations, delays of 4 hours or more

Up to $250,000

Up to $2,250

HSBC Credit Cards

With HSBC credit cards’ free travel insurance, the most important note to consider is that it applies to cardholders only (not spouse/family etc.) so may be more suited towards the international business traveller.

HSBC credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Qantas Platinum

Unlimited medical cover + up to $20,000 for belongings

n/a

n/a

Limit of $2250

Platinum

NAB Credit Cards

NAB credit cards’ free travel insurance covers the cardholder and their immediate family, it is limited however, if you or another family member is 75 years old or older. NAB does include some interesting additional extras; domestic hotel burglary insurance, while kidnappings and hijacks are also covered.

NAB credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Premium Card

All actual incurred medical costs, up to 6 months trips

Up to 14 day trips – lost baggage cover and food allowances up to $200 per person

Up to $500,000 per person, though may be some limits on non-card holders

Up to $5,000, no excess payment required

FlyBuys Rewards Card

Qantas Rewards Premium

Velocity Rewards Premium

Virgin Credit Cards

Virgin credit cards only provide free overseas travel insurance on their premium High Flyer card, but do provide transit accident insurance on the Flyer Card. Insurance is applicable to spouse and dependent children too.

Virgin Money credit cardsInternational Travel InsuranceInterstate Flight InconvenienceTransit Accident InsuranceRental Excess cover

Flyer Card

n/a

n/a

up to $500,000

n/a

High Flyer Card

Unlimited medical cover, up to 16K personal/business effects

Up to 14 day trips, up to $3,000 for cancellations

Up to $2,250

All in all, there is a huge range of options to consider. If you are travelling with family and book the whole trip on the card, there are good options to save yourself a lot of money on separate travel insurance – if you’re sure your credit card has you covered. Always check the terms and conditions thoroughly.

Founder - Roland B Bleyer

Roland Bleyer

Founder of Creditcard.com.au. Roland has extensive knowledge about credit cards in Australia. Known as a credit card expert, he has been featured on tv and in various publications.
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