2014 Credit Card Travel Insurance Report

CardHub 2014 Credit Card Travel Benefits Study Leisure travel represents a significant investment for consumers in terms of both time and money, so it’s no surprise that folks are interested in protecting their precious resources. But given that travel insurance packages typically cost 4% to 8% of the price of a trip, most of us seem content rolling the dice.

While illness and natural disasters interfere with the travel plans of 1 in 6 Americans, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, only 22% of those affected have travel insurance. Whether you believe this reflects a lack of financial literacy, the idea that travel insurance is a scam or some sort of post-recession frugality, it’s clear that we’re not sufficiently shielded from the distinct possibility of wasted time and money when we put our hard-won vacation days to good use.

Fortunately, the solution might already be in your wallet. The travel-related benefits provided by credit cards extend well beyond points and miles, you see, and two of the most significant, yet under-acknowledged perks of this nature are auto rental insurance and general travel insurance.

Credit card travel insurance may provide for the reimbursement of cardholders in the event of a cancelled trip, missed connection, lost or delayed luggage, or even death. However, coverage amounts and restrictions vary widely based on the type of card you have, the company that issues it, and the card network it’s affiliated with, so you don’t want to rely exclusively on plastic before looking into the details of your policy.

With that in mind, CardHub compared 39 of the most popular rewards credit cards from the 10 largest issuers to see what types of protection they offer beleaguered customers who’ve lost the logistical lottery when traveling. You can check out our findings as well as the scoring criteria we used below.

Key Findings

 

  • Both travel accident insurance and luggage insurance are very prevalent on rewards credit cards from major issuers, being offered by 97% and 79% of the cards we reviewed, respectively.
  • More than 1 in 4 (26%) of the credit cards that offer travel accident insurance provide benefit amounts in excess of $300,000.
  • Among the cards offering luggage insurance, 84% provide coverage for lost luggage, 35% cover delayed luggage, and 19% cover both.
  • The 5 Best Credit Cards for Travel Insurance are:
     

 

Score Breakdown by Card

 

Overall Rank Credit Card Luggage Insurance Travel Accident Insurance Eligibility, Cost & Extra Coverage
1 Sapphire (Chase) 100% 100% 100%
2 Sapphire Preferred (Chase) 100% 100% 88%
3 Discover It (Discover) 97% 80% 95%
4 Prestige Card (Citi) 100% 100% 65%
5 Propel 365 (Wells Fargo) 83% 95% 89%
6 Propel World (Wells Fargo) 83% 100% 71%
7 Freedom (Chase) 60% 95% 100%
T – 8 ThankYou Preferred Card (Citi) 60% 95% 95%
T – 8 Dividend Platinum Select (Citi) 60% 95% 95%
T – 10 Cash Back Card (Wells Fargo) 60% 90% 100%
T – 10 Home Rebate Card (Wells Fargo) 60% 90% 100%
T – 10 Rewards Card (Wells Fargo) 60% 90% 100%
T – 13 USAA American Express (USAA) 44% 100% 95%
T – 13 World MasterCard (USAA) 44% 100% 95%
T – 15 Rewards Card (Barclaycard) 44% 95% 95%
T – 15 Arrival (Barclaycard) 44% 95% 95%
17 ThankYou® Premier Card (Citi) 60% 95% 71%
18 Perks+ (US Bank) 60% 100% 65%
T – 19 Travel Rewards (BofA) 60% 95% 65%
T – 19 Cash Rewards (BofA) 60% 95% 65%
T – 19 QuicksilverOne (Capital One) 60% 95% 65%
T – 19 VentureOne (Capital One) 60% 95% 65%
23 Arrival Plus (Barclaycard) 44% 95% 83%
24 FlexPerks (US Bank) 60% 95% 59%
25 Venture Rewards (Capital One) 60% 95% 53%
26 EveryDay Preferred (Amex) 51% 95% 53%
T – 27 Platinum Card (Amex) 60% 100% 35%
T – 27 Cash+ (US Bank) 60% 100% 35%
29 Green Card (Amex) 51% 90% 53%
30 Premier Rewards Gold Card (Amex) 51% 95% 41%
31 Gold Card (Amex) 51% 90% 41%
T – 32 Blue Cash Everyday (Amex) Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 32 EveryDay (Amex) Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 32 Blue (Amex) Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 32 Blue Sky (Amex) Not Offered 90% 65%
36 Quicksilver (Capital One) Not Offered 90% 59%
T – 37 Blue Cash Preferred (Amex) Not Offered 90% 53%
T – 37 Blue Sky Preferred (Amex) Not Offered 90% 53%
39 USAA Visa (USAA) Not Offered Not Offered N/A

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Score Breakdown by Issuer

 
Luggage Insurance Issuer Scores

What type of luggage does it cover? Amount of Coverage for Lost Luggage Amount of Coverage for Delayed Luggage Total
Max 15% Max 45% Max 40% Max 100%
American Express Cards 15.00% 37.80% 0.00% 52.80%
Bank of America Cards 15.00% 45.00% 0.00% 60.00%
Barclaycard Cards 12.00% 0.00% 32.00% 44.00%
Capital One Cards 15.00% 45.00% 0.00% 60.00%
Chase Cards 15.00% 45.00% 26.67% 86.67%
Citi Cards 15.00% 45.00% 10.00% 70.00%
Discover Cards 12.00% 45.00% 40.00% 97.00%
U.S. Bank Cards 15.00% 45.00% 0.00% 60.00%
USAA Cards 12.00% 0.00% 32.00% 44.00%
Wells Fargo Cards 15.00% 41.40% 12.80% 69.20%

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Accident Insurance Issuer Scores

What does it cover? Amount of death/accident coverage Total
Max 50% Max 50% Max 100%
American Express Cards 50.00% 41.82% 91.82%
Bank of America Cards 50.00% 45.00% 95.00%
Barclaycard Cards 50.00% 45.00% 95.00%
Capital One Cards 50.00% 43.75% 93.75%
Chase Cards 50.00% 48.33% 98.33%
Citi Cards 50.00% 46.25% 96.25%
Discover Cards 30.00% 50.00% 80.00%
U.S. Bank Cards 50.00% 48.33% 98.33%
USAA Cards 50.00% 50.00% 100.00%
Wells Fargo Cards 50.00% 43.00% 93.00%

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Eligibility, Cost and Extra Coverage Issuer Scores

Who is covered? Activating the Benefit Card Annual Fee Extra Travel Insurance Total
Max 25% Max 15% Max 30% Max 30% Max 100%
American Express Cards 20.00% 15.00% 18.55% 0.00% 53.55%
Bank of America Cards 20.00% 15.00% 30.00% 0.00% 65.00%
Barclaycard Cards 20.00% 15.00% 26.00% 30.00% 91.00%
Capital One Cards 20.00% 15.00% 25.50% 0.00% 60.50%
Chase Cards 25.00% 15.00% 26.00% 30.00% 96.00%
Citi Cards 20.00% 15.00% 16.50% 30.00% 81.50%
Discover Cards 20.00% 15.00% 30.00% 30.00% 95.00%
U.S. Bank Cards 20.00% 15.00% 18.00% 0.00% 53.00%
USAA Cards 20.00% 15.00% 30.00% 30.00% 95.00%
Wells Fargo Cards 23.00% 15.00% 24.00% 30.00% 92.00%

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Methodology

CardHub reviewed the online travel benefits policies for all of the rewards credit cards available via the websites of the 10 largest credit card issuers by purchase volume. We evaluated each card in the following three categories according to the scoring criteria listed below, using the corresponding weights to obtain overall scores: Travel Accident Insurance (35%); Luggage Insurance (35%); Eligibility Cost & Extra Coverage (30%).

Where policies were incomplete or unclear, we contacted the issuers directly and requested clarification. All but USAA responded to our questions and either confirmed the accuracy of our data or provided corrections.

Travel Accident Insurance
1. What is Covered? – 10 Points Total (Worth 50%)

  • If death is covered = 6/10 points
  • If dismemberment is covered = 4/10 points
  • If there is no benefit offered = 0 points (where applicable)

2. Amount Offered for Death / Accident Coverage – 10 Points Total (Worth 50%)

  • If the benefit amount is between $300,000 and above = 10/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is between $200,000 – $299,999 = 9/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is between $100,000 – $199,000 = 8/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is between $0 – $99,999 = 5/10 points
  • If there is no benefit offered = 0 points (where applicable)

Luggage Insurance
1. What type of luggage does it cover? – 10 Points Total (Worth 15%)

  • If both carry-on and checked baggage is covered = 10/10 points
  • If just checked luggage is covered = 8/10 points
  • If there is no benefit offered = 0 points (where applicable)

2. Amount of coverage for delayed luggage – 10 Points Total (Worth 40%)

  • If the benefit amount is above $400 = 10/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is between $200 – $399 = 8/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is up to $199 = 6/10 points
  • If no coverage is offered = 0 points (where applicable)

3. Amount of coverage for lost luggage – 10 Points Total (Worth 45%)

  • If the benefit amount is above $2000= 10/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is between $1000 -$1999 = 8/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is between $500 – $999 = 7/10 points
  • If the benefit amount is up to $499 = 5/10 points
  • If no coverage is offered = 0 points (where applicable)

Eligibility, Cost & Extra Coverage
1. Who is covered? – 5 Points Total (Worth 25%)

  • Full family (includes immediate family plus nieces, uncles, siblings in law etc.) = 5/5 points
  • Immediate family (includes cardholder, spouse and dependable children) = 4/5 points
  • Cardholder only = 1/5 points
  • No coverage provided = 0 points (where applicable)

2. Is additional travel insurance coverage provided (e.g. coverage for delayed trips, cancelled trips and missed connections)? – 2 Points Total (Worth 30%)

  • If additional travel insurance coverage is provided (e.g. coverage for delayed trips, cancelled trips and missed connections) = 2/2 points
  • If additional travel insurance coverage is not provided (e.g. coverage for delayed trips, cancelled trips and missed connections) = 0/2 points

3. Activating the benefit – 4 Points Total (Worth 15%)

  • If no sign up is required = 3/4 points
  • If coverage is still provided when purchases are paid for using rewards = 1/4 points
  • If there is no benefit offered = 0 points (where applicable)

4. Second year card annual fee – 5 Points Total (Worth 30%)

  • If the annual fee of the card is $0 = 5/5 points
  • If the annual fee of the card is between $1 – $49 = 4/5 points
  • If the annual fee of the card is between $50 – $99 = 3/5 points
  • If the annual fee of the card is over $100 = 1/5 points
  • If the annual fee of the card is over $200 = 0 points

The total maximum is 100%, the cards that met the most of the above points, received maximum score.
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