Minimise stress while travelling by using a credit card and gain peace of mind with emergency travel assistance.
A credit card with emergency travel assistance provides cardholders with access to a wide range of services while travelling. Ranging from complimentary overseas travel insurance and emergency card replacement, they can be useful if you find yourself in a difficult situation overseas.
What is emergency travel assistance?
When travelling in a foreign country, it can be difficult to know the resources available to you when confronted with an emergency situation. Credit cards with emergency assistance usually provide 24/7 assistance, meaning you can access help at any time and from anywhere around the world.
The credit card provider usually organises these services with their partnered representatives around the world, ensuring that cardholders can receive emergency assistance internationally. As an emergency travel assistance credit cardholder, these benefits are covered by the cost of the card.
Emergency Travel Assistance Credit Cards Comparison
What types of emergency travel assistance do I have access to?
- Emergency ticket replacement: emergency travel assistance can help replace lost airline tickets by referral to a travel agent, airline or other authority.
- Referrals to interpreters: If language barriers are limiting your access to emergency services, you can request a local interpreter, which your provider will organise either by providing their contact details or scheduling an appointment or meeting.
- Referrals to lawyers: If you find yourself in a legal bind, your emergency travel assistance can also provide you with the contact details of qualified and reputable local lawyers and legal practitioners.
- Information on foreign exchange rates: your card provider may be able to give you official foreign exchange rates and the value added taxes of the foreign country you're in.
- Information on customs and duty regulations: If you have questions regarding customs and duty regulations, emergency assistants can provide you with the info.
- Emergency card replacement and cash advance: You can request an emergency replacement card if yours has been lost or damaged. If you don't have access to your funds, some emergency travel assistance providers can also provide cash advances or quick foreign loans.
- Replacement of broken, lost or stolen glasses or contact lens: Subpar vision is the last thing you need while sightseeing on your travels, so luckily many emergency assistant services will organise for replacement spectacles or contact lenses if you've lost or forgotten yours.
- Lost article help: Losing your suitcase is every travellers nightmare, so it's lucky that some emergency travel assistant providers can refer you to the appropriate authorities or, in the case of complimentary travel insurance, organise emergency toiletry and clothing money.
- Arrangement of bail bond: Heaven forbid you'll ever need to resort to this, but if you do, it'll be good to know that your emergency travel assistance has your back. However, there are limits in place (which will be outlined in the card's terms and conditions) and you will still be responsible for any other related expenses.
- Embassy referral: emergency travel assistance can help you get in touch with the nearest appropriate consulate and embassy.
- Information on preparing for a journey: Preparing for your trip could limit how many times you need to consult the emergency service after you leave, so make sure to hit them up with any questions before you leave regarding your departure times, flights or restrictions on items you're allowed to bring.
- Medical assistance: If you face a medical emergency on your trip, the travel assistance can provide you with the contact details, addresses and office hours of local physicians, hospitals, dentists and clinics.
As mentioned, most of the above services are offered through the complimentary travel insurance present on many credit cards. Ensure you carefully check out any prospective card's Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before travelling overseas with it.
How does a credit card with emergency travel assistance work?
How the emergency travel assistance will work will depend on the provider. For services offered through complimentary travel insurance, you will need to contact the insurance provider and read over the policy documents provided by them. Complimentary travel insurance usually poses strict eligibility criteria, which usually involves no pre-existing medical conditions and paying a percentage of your overseas on the card. So keep this in mind when considering your options.
For services offered directly through the card provider, you'll need to review the information provided by them. They will also pose certain eligibility criteria and guidelines depending on the provider, so make sure to read the product disclosure document during the comparison process.
How to compare credit cards with emergency travel assistance
Different credit cards with emergency travel assistance involve varied policies, terms and conditions, exclusions, amounts of cover, and restrictions. Compare your options and confirm what you're entitled to and covered by before applying.
Some of the features to consider when comparing different credit cards with emergency travel assistance include:
- What types of assistance are offered? The credit card provider will list the assistance options available to the cardholder, so make sure to take note of services that you're likely to use during your trip.
- What is the annual fee? Most credit cards come with an annual fee, which you should consider to ensure the cost doesn't outweigh the gain.
- What are the interest rate/interest-free days per statement cycle? Comparing interest rates is one way to compare your options. If you usually pay your balance in full each month, you may want to consider how many interest-free days are on offer.
- What's the cover limit? Different credit cards will have different emergency travel assistance cover limits. Confirm what the what the cover includes and for how long to judge which option is right for you.
- Are there any other benefits? Many credit cards come with additional features such as bonus points, promotions or rewards programs. If two cards offer equal features, these extra benefits may help narrow your decision.
What are the benefits and limitations of a credit card with emergency travel assistance?
- Free assistance. In many cases you'll receive free assistance simply for using your card to pay for your trip.
- Saves time. Seeking assistance in a foreign country can be time consuming and confusing. These credit cards will provide you with direction and assistance, helping reducing any potential stress.
- Promotions and rewards. Many of these cards come with balance transfer or purchase rate offers which could save you money if you have existing balances on your previous card.
- May have higher annual fees. Many of these cards come with higher annual fees than regular cards.
- You must pay for your trip using the credit card. The eligibility of these cards usually involve paying for your overseas trip (either a percentage or in full) on the credit card. Some of these cards also charge foreign transaction fees when making purchases overseas, which could add up in the long run.
Although credit cards that come with emergency travel assistance offer a number of benefits to help reduce stress while travelling, make sure to compare your options and select the card for you. These cards usually come at the cost of a higher annual fee, so make sure to compare the benefits and ensure that they outweigh the costs and limitations of the product.
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