The right travel credit card doesn’t just get you free flights, status upgrades, or zero transaction fees when using it abroad. The best credit cards come with numerous forms of travel insurance that may offer financial assistance or reimbursement for all sorts of things that may happen while on a trip. Look for these benefits in the credit cards you use for your next trip. (See also: Best Travel Perks You Didn’t Know Your Credit Card Has)
1. Auto Rental Insurance
Most major credit cards offer some form of automobile rental insurance, often called a collision damage waiver, which covers you in the event of theft or damage to your rented vehicle. Although these policies vary by credit card, they all require you to use your card to pay for the rental, and to decline any optional insurance offered by the rental car company. Some cards offer primary rental car insurance, so you don’t have to first submit a claim to your personal vehicle insurer — which could cause your rates to go up.
2. Trip Cancellation And Trip Interruption Insurance
Some premium travel rewards credit cards have policies that provide compensation when your trip is canceled or interrupted, as long as you booked the trip with that card. It can reimburse you for nonrefundable trip expenses, such as change fees, when you experience a delay or cancellation for a covered reason, including illness, injury, or severe weather. Some cards offer up to $1,500 of coverage for trip cancellation or interruption due to death, accidental injury, illness, or default by the carrier due to financial insolvency. There are plenty of exclusions, so read the policy carefully.
3. Lost and Delayed Luggage Insurance
If you travel often, it’s only a matter of time until your luggage is lost or delayed. But once again, the right credit card will come through in a pinch with lost or delayed luggage insurance, so long as you used your card to pay for your trip. You might get up to $500 of lost baggage coverage for checked bags and $1,250 for theft from your carry-on bags. This coverage is secondary, so you will first have to file a claim with the airline and sometimes your homeowner’s insurance. But after you’ve gone those routes, the credit card coverage can fill the gaps.
4. Roadside Assistance
Many credit cards offer programs to help you if you have car trouble on the road. Services often include towing, flat tire changing, lockout service, and delivery of up to two gallons of fuel. Some cards offer these services at no cost. Many other credit cards offer referrals to these services, but you’ll have to pay for the service — for example the tow truck — yourself. Though you might be able to find faster or cheaper service nearby, it’s nice to have a roadside assistance number always handy, for times you aren’t able to search for a local place.
5. Emergency Evacuation and Transportation
One of the most costly consequences of becoming injured or ill while traveling can be transportation back home when you are unable to get good care overseas or when you need to complete your recovery at home. Some credit cards cover these costs when you charge your trip to the card. Some cards offer $100,000 of transportation benefits if a doctor certifies that you need to be evacuated and the benefits administrator approves the claim in advance.
6. Travel Accident Insurance
Should the unthinkable happen, travel accident insurance will cover you and your loved ones in the event of loss of life, limb, sight, or hearing during a trip paid for with your card. This can be up to $250,000 worth of this coverage.