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Credit card travel insurance reviews

Can you trust the complimentary travel insurance that comes with your credit card? We decipher the small print.
 
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04.What's covered

Included

  • Travel insurance for periods between two to 12 months. In some cases, cover is provided for one-way tickets, but normally this is for one month at a maximum.
  • Excess is often once per event, but not always.
  • All insurers reviewed had a 24-hour emergency helpline. In medical emergencies, insurers require you to make arrangements using this number as soon as possible to qualify for cover.
  • Personal liability is covered, except with American Express Velocity Gold and Qantas Premium.
  • Natural disasters and severe weather are covered.
  • Scuba diving with a licensed instructor is typically covered, and so is motorcycle riding but only under 200cc (If you’re planning on trekking around on a Harley, you will need alternative arrangements).
  • Funeral expenses and accidental death payouts are a feature of most cards (Amex only covers accidental death as part of its transport accident cover). It’s not as comprehensive as life insurance, but it provides some financial protection.
  • Unforseen complications arising due to pregnancy are covered, but usually restricted to a certain period (for example, up to 23 weeks). A baby born unexpectedly on a journey is normally not covered, and you may not get cover if you used IVF.
  • Insurers may pay for you to return home in the event of a disaster or in case a relative is ill or dies, and the same goes if you need to cancel your holiday before you leave (although age restrictions may apply). Costs to resume your journey are sometimes covered depending on your card, but only under specific conditions.
  • Some cards provide benefits in case you need to get to a special event, or for things like being hijacked or mugged. Domestic inconvenience cover is also a frequent feature, which is basically credit card version of domestic travel insurance. We have not reviewed this against standalone domestic insurance in this report, but if you want basic cover, it could be suitable for your needs.
  • Most cards provide insurance to cover costs arising from hire car excess (which you would pay in the event of damage to a rental vehicle). In some cases, you need to take any additional protections offered when hiring the car to access the cover.
  • Some cards provide cover for travel provider insolvency and for claims that are the fault of carriers, but you will need to check.

Exclusions and restrictions

  • Acts of terrorism and war are not covered under any circumstance in all cases. The only exception is if you are injured in a terrorist attack, in which case evacuation and medical cover is normally provided.
  • In most cases, aerial activities like bungee jumping and skydiving are excluded. So are professional sports, extreme sports, any form of racing (except on foot) and your ‘conscious exposure to danger’.
  • Separate limits apply to certain items, like laptops, cameras and mobile phones. Checked luggage is often not covered, so carry your valuables with you at all times to avoid trouble.
  • Business items are typically not covered, or to a low limit.
  • Items left in an unlocked vehicle, in a vehicle overnight or in plain sight are not covered. Anything stolen from a vehicle is typically restricted under sub-limits.
  • Items left ‘unattended’ in a public place are not covered. So, even though insurers say they will cover for accidental loss and damage, there are exclusions that restrict this scenario. We know from previous member feedback that putting down your bag even for a moment can void cover.
  • You must have accommodation/airfares booked before making a claim. In some cases, booking made using frequent flyer points may not be covered – check in advance if you’re using points.
  • No cover for travelling against medical advice, STDs or AIDs related illnesses.
  • No benefits for relatives (for example, returning home) if they are not Australian citizens.
  • Supplementary cardholders (except spouse) are typically not covered, so if this is applicable to you it is worthwhile checking.
  • Using an unlicensed travel agent will void cover.
  • You must report all incidents to authorities to qualify for cover.
  • You should not admit any liability to qualify for cover.
  • No cover for cancellations due to lack of numbers (for example, on a tour).
 
 

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