But mind-numbing jargon and documentation don’t make it easy
In its latest review of credit card travel insurance, CHOICE says that despite perceptions to the contrary, travel insurance that comes automatically with some credit cards is just as good as stand-alone policies.
CHOICE’s review involved a comparison of 59 credit cards from 17 institutions that offer complimentary international travel insurance to card holders.¹
“If you’ve avoided credit card travel insurance because you’ve heard it’s not as good as a stand-alone policy, then think again. We were pleasantly surprised by the level of coverage some card policies provide,” says CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just.
CHOICE says that, despite the positive results for credit card travel insurance policies, they suffer from the same problem that afflicts most insurance - the Policy Disclosure Statements (PDS) are too long and too complex.
“Most policy documents have over 50 pages, and that’s a turn off for anyone. If they don’t check the whole document they could miss vital information that makes the difference between being insured or not,” says Ms Just.
CHOICE found that, in most Product Disclosure Statements compared in the review, a person would have to read at least 20 pages before getting to vital information about the need to activate the travel insurance by buying at least part of their ticket on the card.
“We believe that vital information should be front and centre on the first page, not buried deep in the document,” says Ms Just.
CHOICE says each of the credit cards compared in its review scored well when it came to coverage on events that are of most concern to travellers.
“The biggest worry for most people is that they’ll face enormous medical bills or cancellation expenses when they’re overseas. All of the cards we looked at provided unlimited or very high levels of cover for medical and cancellation expenses, but you need to be aware of any exclusions,” says Ms Just.
CHOICE’s tips for credit card travel insurance:
1. Complimentary credit card travel insurance isn’t really free. You need to consider the total cost, including fees, interest payments and the appropriateness of the cover.
2. Read more than headline statements in the Product Disclosure Statement.
3. Make sure you understand all conditions and exclusions.
4. To activate the insurance policy, you have to buy your travel ticket with the credit card.
5. Get independent advice before you decide, such as reviews on choice.com.au
Read CHOICE's report on credit card travel insurance.
¹Annual fees on the 59 credit cards CHOICE compared ranged from no-fee up to $900.
Media contact: Ingrid Just – Head of Media: CHOICE – 0430 172 669