The Basics of Credit Card Travel Insurance

Many credit cards offer travel incentives and some even offer travel insurance. But what’s covered by credit card travel insurance? Is it enough? We’ll address these questions and more in this article on the basics of credit card travel insurance.

Travel Insurance Basics

First, let’s establish what travel insurance includes. There are a few different kinds of travel insurance, including:

  • Travel Medical – This covers emergency medical transportation and treatment while you’re on vacation. Some policies also include transportation back to Canada. 
  • Trip Cancellation – If you’re forced to suddenly cancel your trip before you depart, this coverage will help refund some of your money, including for accommodation, transportation, and activities. 
  • Trip Interruption – If you are forced to change your plans or go home suddenly, trip interruption coverage can help cover the costs.
  • Lost Baggage – If your baggage is delayed, you can get some funds to get the essentials. If your luggage is lost or destroyed, this coverage will also help you replace your belongings.

Keep in mind that timing is important with travel insurance. Travel medical insurance can be purchased at any time (although there will be a waiting time) but should be purchased before you leave. Trip interruption, trip cancellation and lost baggage should also be purchased before you leave, although it can be bought after you’ve booked. You may not have coverage for pre-existing conditions or anything listed on the Government of Canada’s travel advisory page before you purchase insurance.

Does my credit card offer travel insurance?

It depends on your credit card. Some offer travel insurance but others do not. Most major banks have at least one card that offers some travel insurance coverage as part of the credit card. 

The first step is to determine if your credit card even offers travel insurance and if so if it offers travel medical, trip cancellation, trip interruption, or lost baggage. 

What is covered by credit card travel insurance?

What is covered by your credit card’s travel insurance will depend on the individual card. There may also be different levels of coverage you can opt for. 

The most comprehensive credit card travel insurance will include:

  • Travel medical coverage
  • Trip interruption
  • Trip cancellation
  • Baggage coverage
  • Rental car coverage

It’s important to talk to your credit card provider to understand exactly what’s covered and the limits of coverage.

The Limits of Credit Card Travel Insurance

There are two common limits to credit card travel insurance:

  1. The number of days covered.
  2. Limit of coverage.

The number of days covered is the total amount of time your travel insurance will cover you when you’re out of the country. This can be on a per-trip or total-year basis. It can be as low as 5 days and as high as 30 days or even more. You may need to purchase a separate travel insurance policy if you’re travelling for longer or more frequently than your credit card travel insurance will cover.

The limit of coverage includes the maximum amount of money you will receive as well as what will be covered. The first item is known as a policy limit. This will vary by credit card and even between different coverages – for example, you could be eligible to receive up to $1500 if you need to cancel your trip, but a limit of $500 for baggage coverage and $1,000,000 for medical care. Certain situations may not be covered. Make sure the limit reflects your needs and the value of your trip – otherwise, you may need to purchase additional insurance.

Do I need travel insurance?

Once you understand the extent of your credit card’s travel insurance protection, you can determine if you need a separate policy. Our travel insurance brokers are also here to help you understand your insurance or determine what you need. 


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