Best credit cards for travel insurance

From trip cancellation to baggage delay and rental car protection, these cards have you covered

Aaron Broverman
Personal finance journalist
Host of the podcast Speech Bubble

Best credit cards for travel insurance

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Earning enough points for a free vacation or flight is always a thrill, but flying has become a massive hassle and you never know when something might happen to turn that trip from a dream to a nightmare.

If you've got enough on your mind already to worry about travel insurance, fear not. Your credit card may hold a very comprehensive policy of its own.

Below you'll find credit cards with the best travel insurance policies, covering everything from emergency evacuation and accidental death to more typical occurrences such as baggage loss and trip cancellation.

See related: Trip canceled? Your credit card may reimburse you, Compare cards' trip cancellation, trip interruption policies

Best credit cards for travel insurance

Premium option: Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers large coverage limits and covers many of the typical disastrous travel experiences, including trip delay, baggage delay and accidental death.

It also adds emergency evacuation/transportation and emergency medical or dental expenses. However, the emergency medical and dental waiver supplements your existing medical insurance plan. This means you'll need to file a claim with your primary insurance first and this card's coverage will take care of the rest.

Chase Sapphire Reserve's travel insurance perks include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance covers prepaid non-refundable travel expenses such as tours, fares and hotels up to $10,000 per trip.
  • Trip delay reimbursement covers expenses such as meals and lodging for flight delays more than six hours or requiring overnight stay up to $500 per ticket.
  • Lost luggage is covered up to $3,000 per passenger, including checked baggage and/or carry-on baggage.
  • Baggage delay insurance for essentials, such as clothing and toiletries, for bags delayed up to six hours at $100 a day for five days.
  • Auto rental primary coverage for up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage on rental cars in the U.S. or abroad.
  • Emergency evacuation/transportation while a trip for up to $100,000.
  • Emergency medical or dental expenses covered up to $2,500 if you are 100 miles or more away from home.
  • Travel accident insurance for up to $1,000,000 when you pay for travel via air, bus, train or cruise with your card.
  • Check the fine print, including exclusions, in the card's guide to benefits.

Premium alternative: The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express has comparable coverage maximums to the Chase Sapphire Reserve when it comes to baggage insurance and car rental damage and theft.

However, Chase Sapphire Reserve is much more comprehensive in its types of coverage, including trip cancellation/interruption and trip delay reimbursement.

But if you're looking for a more thorough baggage insurance and secondary car rental insurance plan, this could be the card for you.

However, be warned – the annual fee is $550, while the Reserve's is $450. Plus, the Platinum is a charge card, so payment is due in full at the end of every month.

The Platinum Card from American Express's travel insurance perks include:

  • Auto rental secondary coverage for up to $75,000 for theft or collision damage.
  • $5,000 personal injury coverage for you and each rental car passenger.
  • $200,000 in death and dismemberment insurance as a result of a rental car accident.
  • $1,000 in coverage for property lost or damaged in a rental car, for each person – up to $2,000 .
  • Baggage insurance for up to $3,000 for both carry-on and checked luggage, up to $3,000 for both carry-on only and up to $2,000 for checked baggage only – per person.
  • Premium Global Assist hotline.
  • Roadside assistance within the U.S. – excluding rental cars.
  • Travel accident for up to $500,000.
  • Check the fine print, including exclusions, in the card's guide to benefits.
Tip

Tip: “All of these programs are solid. But since there's so many of them and they do have subtle differences, consumers should investigate all of them to make the best choice based on their travel needs and personal preferences,” says David Bakke, personal finance contributor to Money Crashers.

See related: Renting a car? Know whether your car adds insurance

Low-fee alternative: Chase Sapphire Preferred

While not as generous in its coverage as its top-tier sister, the Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred does offer similar protections on trip cancellation and baggage loss.

With no annual fee for the first year and only $95 after that, $500,000 for accidental death and dismemberment and other generous coverage amounts for both you and your beneficiaries, this card offers generous perks.

 The Chase Sapphire Preferred's travel insurance perks include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption for up to $10,000.
  • Trip delay reimbursement for flight delays for more than 12 hours or requiring overnight stay up to $500 per ticket.
  • Lost luggage is covered up to $3,000 per passenger, including checked baggage and/or carry-on baggage.
  • Baggage delay insurance for bags delayed for more than six hours at $100 a day for five days.
  • Auto rental primary coverage for collision damage or theft up to the actual value of the vehicle for most rental vehicles in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Travel accident insurance for up to $500,000 when you pay for travel via air, bus, train or cruise with the card.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services. It provides assistance and referral, but you are responsible for the cost of any actual medical, legal, transportation or other services or goods provided.
  • Check the fine print, including exclusions, in the card's guide to benefits.
Tip

Tip: One common shortfall of many card insurance benefits is the coverage amount, and the fact that Chase Sapphire Preferred can offer $10,000 of cancellation coverage on a low fee card is impressive, says Damian Tysdal, editor and founder of Travel Insurance Review.

See related: Little-known card perk: insurance against baggage delays

Small business option: Chase Ink Business Preferred 

Not only does the Chase Ink Business Preferred allow you to collect points on your business expenses, but its complimentary travel coverage is pretty generous.

Plus, unlike other plans, Chase Ink Business Preferred knows how important cellphones are for business owners and will cover them for theft or damage – whether you're traveling or not.

Chase Ink Business Preferred's travel insurance perks include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance up to $5,000 per trip.
  • Trip delay reimbursement up to $500 per ticket, for flight delayed more than 12 hours.
  • Lost luggage for up to $3,000 per insured person.
  • Baggage delay for bags delayed more than six hours – $100 max for five days.
  • Auto rental primary coverage for collision damage or theft up to the actual value of the vehicle for most rental vehicles in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Emergency roadside assistance provided with fees billed to your card.
  • Travel and emergency assistance services.
  • Travel accident insurance for up to $500,000.
  • Up to $600 of cellphone protection on theft or damage for you and your employees – three claims a year max. with a $100 deductible.
  • Check the fine print, including exclusions, in the card's guide to benefits.

Small business no-fee alternative: Wells Fargo Business Elite Card 

If you don't need all the bells and whistles of the Chase Ink Business Preferred and prefer something a little more stripped down with pretty decent travel accident insurance coverage, consider the Wells Fargo Business Elite card.

Not only does it come with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, but also offers:

  • Auto rental primary coverage provides reimbursement against theft or collision, up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles, as long as the car rental company’s own insurance is declined.
  • Travel and emergency assistance provides help with emergencies, including legal and medical referrals.
  • Travel accident for up to $250,000.
Tip

Tip: “Travelers assume that they have a ‘cancel for any reason’ [travel insurance] plan, but most people actually don’t, since that comes with a considerably higher premium. If your plan does have [one], be sure you understand the terms,” says Beth Godlin, president of Aon Affinity Travel Practice, a leading travel insurance provider.

See related: Need to cancel a nonrefundable flight or hotel? You might have options


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Updated: 07-15-2018