2015 Report: The Best Credit Card Travel Insurance

cc travel benefitsLeisure 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.

Unfortunately, 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. The good news is that 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 such perks are auto rental insurance and general travel insurance.

Credit card travel insurance may provide for the reimbursement of cardholders in the event of cancelled trips, missed connections, lost or delayed luggage, or even death. But 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 exclusively rely on plastic before looking into the details of your policy.

With that in mind, CardHub compared 52 of the most popular credit cards from the 10 largest issuers to see what 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

 

Policy Comparison

Best Policy Example of an Average Policy
Cards Offering this Type of Policy Citi Prestige Card Amex Green Card
Travel Accident Insurance $1,000,000 for Death and Dismemberment $100,000 for Death and Dismemberment
Luggage Insurance $3,000 for Lost Luggage and $500 for Delayed Luggage
Covers Checked Bags and Carry-Ons
$1,750 for Lost Luggage and $0 for Delayed luggage
Covers Checked Bags and Carry-Ons
Travel Emergency Assistance Help with lost/stolen luggage and travel documents
Referrals to local physicians, attorneys, embassies and cash advance services
Help with lost/stolen luggage and travel documents
Referrals to local physicians, attorneys, embassies and cash advance services
Extra Travel Insurance Up To $5000: Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption
Up To $500: Trip Delay (if delayed more than 6 hours)
None
Who Can Benefit Cardholder
Spouse / Domestic Partner
Dependent Children (under 21)
Cardholder
Spouse / Domestic Partner
Dependent Children (under 21)
Full Policy Details Card Benefits Card Benefits

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Score Breakdown by Card

 

Overall Rank Credit Card Luggage Insurance Travel Accident Insurance Eligibility, Cost & Extra Coverage
1 Sapphire Preferred
(Chase)
90% 100% 88%
2 Discover It
(Discover)
87% 80% 95%
3 Propel 365
(Wells Fargo)
75% 95% 89%
4 Prestige Card
(Citi)
90% 100% 65%
5 Propel World
(Wells Fargo)
75% 100% 71%
6 Freedom
(Chase)
55% 95% 100%
7 FlexPerks
(US Bank)
83% 100% 59%
8 ThankYou Preferred
(Citi)
55% 95% 95%
T – 9 Rewards Card
(Wells Fargo)
55% 90% 100%
T – 9 Cash Back Card
(Wells Fargo)
55% 90% 100%
T – 9 Home Rebate Card
(Wells Fargo)
55% 90% 100%
T – 12 World MasterCard
(USAA)
43% 100% 95%
T – 12 American Express
(USAA)
43% 100% 95%
T – 12 Visa Signature
(USAA)
43% 100% 95%
15 ThankYou Premier
(Citi)
55% 95% 83%
T – 16 Rewards Card
(Barclaycard)
40% 95% 95%
T – 16 Arrival
(Barclaycard)
40% 95% 95%
T – 18 Perks+
(US Bank)
55% 100% 65%
T – 18 Cash+
(US Bank)
55% 100% 65%
20 VentureOne Rewards
(Capital One)
55% 95% 70%
21 Arrival Plus
(Barclaycard)
40% 95% 83%
T – 22 Travel Rewards
(BofA)
55% 95% 65%
T – 22 Cash Rewards
(BofA)
55% 95% 65%
24 QuicksilverOne
(Capital One)
55% 95% 64%
25 Venture Rewards
(Capital One)
55% 95% 58%
T – 26 MasterCard
(USAA )
43% 95% 65%
T – 26 Visa
(USAA)
43% 95% 65%
28 EveryDay Preferred
(Amex)
47% 95% 53%
29 Platinum Card
(Amex)
55% 100% 35%
30 Discover Miles
(Discover)
47% 80% 65%
31 Green Card
(Amex)
47% 90% 53%
32 Premier Rewards Gold
(Amex)
47% 95% 41%
33 Double Cash
(Citi)
Not Offered 95% 95%
34 Gold Card
(Amex)
47% 90% 41%
35 FlexPerks Select+
(US Bank)
Not Offered 95% 65%
T – 36 Platinum
(Wells Fargo)
Not Offered 90% 70%
T – 36 Platinum Prestige
(Capital One)
Not Offered 90% 70%
T – 36 Quicksilver
(Capital One)
Not Offered 90% 70%
T – 39 Blue Cash Everyday
(Amex)
Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 39 EveryDay
(Amex)
Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 39 Blue
(Amex)
Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 39 Blue Sky
(Amex)
Not Offered 90% 65%
T – 43 Classic Platinum
(Capital One)
Not Offered 90% 64%
T – 43 Platinum
(Capital One)
Not Offered 90% 64%
T – 45 Blue Cash Preferred
(Amex)
Not Offered 90% 53%
T – 45 Blue Sky Preferred
(Amex)
Not Offered 90% 53%
T – 47 Better Balance Rewards
(BofA)
Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered
T – 47 Visa Card
(BofA)
Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered
T – 47 Ring
(Barclaycard)
Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered
T – 47 Slate
(Chase)
Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered
T – 47 Simplicity
(Citi)
Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered
T – 47 Platinum Card
(US Bank)
Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered

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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 Hotel Burglary Total
Max 15% Max 45% Max 30% Max 10% Max 100%
American Express Cards 15.00% 33.60% 0.00% 0.00% 48.60%
Bank of America Cards 15.00% 40.00% 0.00% 0.00% 55.00%
Barclaycard Cards 12.00% 0.00% 28.00% 0.00% 40.00%
Capital One Cards 15.00% 40.00% 0.00% 0.00% 55.00%
Chase Cards 15.00% 40.00% 17.50% 0.00% 72.50%
Citi Cards 15.00% 40.00% 11.67% 0.00% 66.67%
Discover Cards 12.00% 20.00% 35.00% 0.00% 67.00%
U.S. Bank Cards 15.00% 40.00% 9.33% 0.00% 64.33%
USAA Cards 15.00% 0.00% 28.00% 0.00% 43.00%
Wells Fargo Cards 12.50% 30.67% 9.33% 0.00% 52.50%

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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% 42.14% 92.14%
Chase Cards 50.00% 47.50% 97.50%
Citi Cards 50.00% 46.25% 96.25%
Discover Cards 30.00% 50.00% 80.00%
U.S. Bank Cards 50.00% 48.75% 98.75%
USAA Cards 50.00% 48.00% 98.00%
Wells Fargo Cards 50.00% 42.50% 92.50%

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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 25.00% 15.00% 25.71% 0.00% 65.71%
Chase Cards 25.00% 15.00% 24.00% 30.00% 94.00%
Citi Cards 20.00% 15.00% 26.00% 30.00% 91.00%
Discover Cards 20.00% 15.00% 30.00% 15.00% 80.00%
U.S. Bank Cards 20.00% 15.00% 28.50% 0.00% 63.50%
USAA Cards 20.00% 15.00% 30.00% 18.00% 83.00%
Wells Fargo Cards 23.33% 15.00% 25.00% 25.00% 88.33%

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Methodology

CardHub reviewed the online travel benefits policies for all of the credit cards available via the websites of the 10 largest credit card issuers by purchase volume, excluding business, student and co-branded credit cards. 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 one card had two different policies we have scored the average amount offered by the two policies.

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

Travel Accident Insurance
1. What is Covered? – Worth 50%

  • If death and dismemberment are covered = 50%
  • If only death is covered = 30%
  • If only dismemberment is covered = 20%
  • If there is no benefit offered = No points (where applicable)

2. Amount Offered for Death / Accident Coverage – Worth 50%

  • If the benefit amount is $300,000+ = 50%
  • If the benefit amount is $200,000 – $299,999 = 45%
  • If the benefit amount is $100,000 – $199,000 = 40%
  • If the benefit amount is $0 – $99,999 = 25% points
  • If there is no benefit offered = No points (where applicable)

Luggage Insurance
1. What type of luggage does it cover? – Worth 15%

  • If both carry-on and checked baggage is covered = 15%
  • If only checked luggage is covered = 12%
  • If there is no benefit offered = No points (where applicable)

2. Amount of coverage for delayed luggage – Worth 35%

  • If the benefit amount is $400+ = 35%
  • If the benefit amount is $200 – $399 = 28%
  • If the benefit amount is up to $199 = 21%
  • If no coverage is offered = No points (where applicable)

3. Amount of coverage for lost luggage – Worth 40%

  • If the benefit amount is above $2000 = 40%
  • If the benefit amount is between $1000 -$1999 = 32%
  • If the benefit amount is between $500 – $999 = 28%
  • If the benefit amount is up to $499 = 20%
  • If no coverage is offered = No points (where applicable)

4. Offers hotel burglary coverage? – Worth 10%

  • If the benefit is offered = 10%
  • If the benefit is not offered = No points (where applicable)

Eligibility, Cost & Extra Coverage
1. Who is covered? – Worth 25%

  • Full family (includes immediate family plus nieces, uncles, siblings in law etc.) = 25%
  • Immediate family (includes cardholder, spouse and dependable children) = 20%
  • Cardholder only = 5%
  • No coverage provided = No points (where applicable)

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

  • If additional travel insurance coverage is provided = 30%
  • If additional travel insurance coverage is not provided = No points (where applicable)

3. Activating the benefit – Worth 15%

  • If no sign up is required and coverage is still provided when purchases are paid for using rewards = 15%
  • If no sign up is required but coverage is not provided when purchases are paid for using rewards = 11.25%
  • If coverage is provided when purchases are paid for using rewards but sign up is required = 3.75%
  • If there is no benefit offered = No points (where applicable)

4. Second year annual fee – Worth 30%

  • If the annual fee of the card is $0 = 30%
  • If the annual fee of the card is $1 – $49 = 24%
  • If the annual fee of the card is $50 – $99 = 18%
  • If the annual fee of the card is $100+ = 6%
  • If the annual fee of the card is $200+ = No points (where applicable)

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

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DISCUSSION

Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.