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Credit card purchase protection

Credit card purchase protection gives you cover for eligible items if they are lost, stolen or accidentally damaged. Here's how – and cards that offer it in Australia.

If a brand new laptop, watch or handbag was stolen from you, it would be easy to feel like your money had gone down the drain. Credit card purchase protection insurance is designed to help protect you in situations like this.

While it's not as flashy as some other credit card features, it can be really valuable if you ever need it. So, let's take a closer look at the details, as well as what credit cards offer purchase protection insurance in Australia.

What is purchase protection and how does it work?

Purchase protection is a type of insurance that provides coverage on new items you buy using your credit card. While the terms and conditions vary between cards, here are some things to be aware of:

What is eligible? Most retail items you buy for yourself are covered, such as clothing, jewellery, laptops or art. But there can be cover limits for some of these items.

What is not eligible? Purchases that are not usually covered include second-hand items and antiques, phones bought on a postpaid plan, cars and other motor vehicles, plants, animals and household fixtures and fittings (for example, ovens and dishwashers).

What is covered? Purchase protection typically protects new products you buy with your credit card against theft, loss or accidental damage. Some policies only protect items that were purchased in Australia.

How long for? Purchase protection usually covers items for up to 90 days or 3 months from the purchase date, but can last up to 6 months with some insurers.

How much for? This also varies among insurers and cards, but it is typically limited per claim (for example, $10,000 per claim) and per year (for example, up to $50,000 per account per year).

How to make a claim for credit card purchase protection insurance

The claims process differs depending on your credit card provider and the underwriting insurance company, but generally involves the following steps:

1. Contact the insurance company

Depending on your insurer and policy, you may have to file your claim within a certain time frame. For example, you may need to make a claim within 30 days of your item being stolen, lost or damaged.

2. Provide details of the claim

To make your claim, you have to show that the item was purchased using your credit card within the eligible period of coverage.

3. Submit any supporting documentation

Apart from original receipts, you may also need to provide other relevant documents such as police or incident reports.

4. Wait for a response

Your claim will usually take up to 14 business days to be assessed, after which you will be notified of the result and reimbursed if successful.

Finder survey: Which credit card insurance features have Australians of different ages used?

ResponseGen ZGen YGen XBaby Boomers
I've never used credit card insurance53.93%53.26%61.51%73.01%
Travel insurance21.35%33.42%32.57%24.72%
Purchase insurance20.22%14.13%6.58%3.98%
Rental car insurance16.85%11.96%7.24%5.68%
Extended warranty insurance6.74%10.33%5.59%5.68%
Transit accident insurance6.74%7.07%3.95%0.57%
Other1.12%0.27%1.64%0.28%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1113 Australians, December 2023

Other types of complimentary credit card purchase insurance

Some credit cards may also provide the following complimentary insurance covers for your purchases:

  • Extended warranty cover. This extends the warranty cover for items purchased using your card, meaning that you can enjoy extended warranty protection beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period.
  • Price guarantee schemes. This offers price protection so that you may be able to claim the price difference for an item purchased on your card if you find it in another store nearby at a lower price within a certain period of time.
  • Refund protection insurance. Refund protection ensures that you can still get a refund on items purchased using your card, even if the merchant refuses to process a refund.

Other factors to consider when comparing credit cards with purchase protection insurance

When considering purchase protection insurance, here are some other factors you should keep in mind:

  • Claim requirements. Be aware of time limits within which to make your claim, as well as what documents you need to provide (such as a police report).
  • Claim limits. Most policies have an annual cap on purchase protection claims as well as a cap on each individual claim.
  • Rates and fees. A credit card that offers complimentary extras such as purchase protection is likely to have higher interest rates and annual fees than a no-frills card, which may outweigh the benefits.
  • Rewards. If earning rewards with your card is important to you, you should consider factors such as the points earn rate and rewards redemption program.
  • Cash advance rate and fee. If you withdraw money using your credit card or use your card for cash equivalent transactions, including gift or shopping vouchers and gambling, you may be charged extra fees.
  • Other complimentary extras. With increased competition among cards, the list of complimentary extras grows longer all the time. You should seek out perks that you’ll actually use and enjoy, since you’re indirectly paying for them in the card’s annual fee.

Compared to travel-specific perks like airport lounge access and complimentary travel insurance, purchase protection insurance is something most people can enjoy on a day-to-day basis. When deciding if it’s something you actually need, it’s important to consider the costs of the card and whether this feature will be worth it in the long term.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    LeonieOctober 25, 2016

    I live in Sydney, Australia. I purchased Japanese hotel accommodation via an online travel company last April. Our holiday had now begun but when I arrived at the hotel today I was told that the company had gone broke and had not paid the hotel and therefore my money was gone. Travel insurance told me that they would not pay am now wondering if I have any protection from visa as I paid on Visa platinum card. Accommodation cost about $1000 which I can’t afford to lose!!

      AvatarFinder
      MayOctober 28, 2016Finder

      Hi Leonie,

      Thanks for getting in touch and I’m sorry to hear about your current situation.

      It would also be best if you get in touch with your card issuer so they may be able to help you resolve the problem. Though please note that the protection benefit for credit cards will depend on the type of card you have.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    JoanneSeptember 8, 2015

    I paid for an item 8 months ago on my HSBC Platinum card but as yet it has not been supplied. Can my card’s purchase protection assist?

      AvatarFinder
      SallySeptember 9, 2015Finder

      Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      There are a few factors that may affect your eligibility. As such, it’s ideal to check the terms and conditions or contact HSBC directly to confirm what you’re covered under.

      Please see page 50 of the terms and conditions PDF I’ve sent to your email together with HSBC’s contact number.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks,

      Sally

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