Credit cards with complimentary travel insurance give you an opportunity to enjoy your trip while also getting the coverage you need without having to buy travel insurance outright.
To make sure you get appropriate cover and the most value out of the complimentary insurance policy, use this guide to compare your options and learn what you should look out for in the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions.
American Express Credit Card Offer
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
Receive 100,000 bonus Qantas Points
Offer ends 14 April 2020
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
American Express Credit Card Offer
The Qantas American Express Ultimate Card offers 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, complimentary travel benefits and up to 2.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved by 14 April 2020 and spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months
$450 annual fee and 20.74% p.a. purchase interest rate
Receive a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year
4 yearly complimentary airport lounge passes: 2 Qantas Club and 2 Amex Lounge
Complimentary travel insurance refers to the insurance policy that is included with some credit cards. The travel insurance could be an included feature of the card, but that doesn't mean it's exactly "free". Technically, it comes at the cost of the card, which charges interest and could have an annual fee. Most travel insurance covers are only activated once you've met specific spend requirements, as well.
Having said that, complimentary or included insurance doesn't have its own fee, which means it is at "no extra cost". So this credit card perk can save you the time and money that comes with organising standalone travel insurance. It can also reduce the cost of any unforeseen emergencies that may pop up while you’re overseas.
What are the types of complimentary travel insurance?
Different credit cards provide different levels of complimentary travel insurance. It is important to look at the terms and conditions of the card to ensure you know what you are covered for and how much coverage applies. The cover will vary according to which card you use and the policy itself, so make sure you look at the overall cover, coverage limits and any excess applicable to decide if it's suitable for your trip. Different types of complimentary travel insurance include:
Medical and hospital expenses incurred overseas. This insurance helps cover the cost of medical fees and hospital bills if you require emergency treatment when you are overseas. Generally, exclusions for this type of travel insurance include pre-existing medical conditions, conditions already covered by a private medical fund or government funds, and treatment that is not administered by a medical professional.
Loss or damage to personal property. This cover is designed to offer you compensation for when your luggage and other personal items are lost, damaged or stolen. It usually has a maximum limit per person, per trip, and will require the submission of a policy report before you are approved for a claim.
Cancellation of travel arrangements. This insurance usually covers travel cancellations that may be due to unforeseen circumstances such as the accidental death of a relative, the sudden illness of a family member, or a natural disaster at the destination or near your normal residence.
Travel inconvenience cover. With this insurance, additional meals and accommodation costs are covered if the delay of flight is more than a few hours. Flight cancellation, delayed flight boarding and loss of luggage may also be covered.
Transport accident cover. This provides cover for accidents during travel or when you are boarding or leaving a commercial aircraft, cruise ship or bus. It may also cover any loss in departure and destination terminals.
Legal liability cover. Some cards also provide legal liability cover which can settle or defend a claim in case of bodily harm or damage of property caused to someone other than cardholder.
Compare credit card international travel insurance
Use this table to compare complimentary credit card insurance covers based on the length of your trip, age and what's required to activate the insurance.
Book the full fare for a return trip on your eligible American Express credit card or by using reward points earned through the card. Other details may be outlined in the insurance terms and conditions booklet for your credit card.
Book at least AUD$250 of your travel costs (airfares, cruise, tours, hire cars, accommodation etc) with an eligible ANZ credit card. Additional eligibility requirements are outlined in the ANZ premium cards insurance policy booklet.
Up to 6 months (or 3 months if you have a Citibusiness Gold Card)
Not outlined in policy document. For specific enquiries contact Allianz Global Assistance on 1800 072 791.
Before leaving Australia, you must use one of the following methods to book your trip:
Charge the cost of the overseas travel ticket to your Citi card or
Book the ticket through the Citibank Travel Program or
Obtain the overseas travel ticket through your airline frequent flyer program, as long as you have transferred at least 15,000 points from your Citi card to the frequent flyer program in the 12 months prior to booking the ticket.
Altitude Black and Low Fee Platinum: Up to 6 months
Use your eligible Westpac card for at least $500 on prepaid travel costs (e.g. return travel ticket, airport or departure taxes, prepaid overseas accommodation or travel itinerary items) before departing Australia.
What if I’m over the credit card travel insurance policy’s age limit?
If you’re over the age specified for full coverage with your credit card’s complimentary insurance, it may still be possible to get limited coverage. Contact the insurance provider directly to find out your options. Alternatively, you may want to buy a policy designed specifically for people aged 65 or older.
What should I be wary of when comparing complimentary insurance?
Some of the other factors you’ll want to take into account with complimentary credit card travel insurance include:
Eligibility and activation of insurance. Make sure that you’re eligible for the cover and that the terms and conditions make it so that the policy still suits your needs. Credit card providers also usually require you to activate the policy in some way. For most cards, you will "activate" or become eligible for insurance by purchasing your return travel ticket using your credit card. Others may require you to log in to your account online and fill out a simple form to activate your policy before each trip.
Length of travel. Most credit card complimentary travel insurance policies will cover trips of between three and six months in length. Make sure you consider the specific coverage length offered by your card when you first start planning your trip. If you plan to travel for longer, you may be able to request an extension (for a fee).
Levels of coverage. Some credit card companies provide travel insurance for several cards, and offer different levels of coverage based on the account you have. For example, St.George complimentary travel insurance is available for up to six months with an Amplify Signature or Vertigo Platinum card, while it's only available for up to three months on an Amplify Platinum card. Different claim limits and excesses may also apply, so make sure you check what level of coverage your card offers when referring to the insurance policy booklet.
Terms and conditions. While this may be a tedious practice, reading the terms and conditions is crucial to ensure you understanding the opportunities and boundaries of your insurance. If you have any doubt about your cover after referring to such documents, you may wish to contact the insurance provider directly.
How to compare credit cards that include travel insurance
If you're interested in getting a credit card with complimentary travel insurance, make sure you also consider the following factors:
Rewards. There are many rewards credit cards that also offer complimentary travel insurance. These products earn points for your everyday card spending, which could then be redeemed for flights, fare upgrades or a wide range of other rewards.
Fees. 0% foreign transaction fees for overseas spending can help to keep your additional expenses in check.
Other extras. Credit cards that include travel insurance may also provide complimentary insurance for purchases, interstate flight inconvenience insurance and price-matching services. Some top-end platinum and black cards also provide travel benefits such as flight vouchers and airport lounge access that can add even more value to the card you choose. Just remember to consider the card costs when factoring in these perks.
What are the pros and cons of travel insurance credit cards?
Provides essential travel cover. If you're travelling overseas, you'll need to organise travel insurance. Complimentary insurance could provide you with the cover you'll need if you run into an unforeseen emergency while overseas.
Save time and money. If you decide to take advantage of your card's complimentary insurance, this can save you the time and money required to organise external cover.
Cover for family. Most credit cards with included travel insurance will also cover your spouse and any dependents travelling with you, providing they also meet the activation requirements of the policy.
Higher price tag. Most credit cards that offer complimentary travel insurance are premium products that have high annual fees when compared to other options. Plus, you may be required to use your card to pay for a certain amount of the trip to activate the insurance.
Less value for infrequent travellers. If you only travel every now and then, the cost of the annual fee could outweigh the value you get from the complimentary insurance. Before choosing this type of card, consider how frequently you will use it and whether a standalone policy could be more cost-effective based on your travel habits.
Exclusions and excesses. Just as with any insurance policy, there are exclusions and excesses that may apply for complimentary credit card travel cover. Always read the policy documents beforehand, so you know what you are covered for and how much you will have to pay if you need to make a claim.
If you travel regularly, a credit card with complimentary travel insurance could help you save time and money on additional expenses. As the level of cover and the eligibility requirements will vary according to the card and insurance issuer, it’s important to compare your options and read the terms and conditions so you can find a card with insurance that suits your needs.
If you're not planning to travel in the next few years, it may be worth considering credit cards that offer value in the form of lower rates and fees. If the savings you get from a lower cost card outweigh the perks of your current card, you could find that it's better to switch and simply buy travel insurance if and when you need it.
It is always advisable to read all the terms and conditions before choosing a card. However, you can speed up the process by focusing on the key policy details. In general, the most important travel insurance cover to look for is medical and hospital, bag and luggage cover and travel cancellation cover. You can quickly check the policy details for these covers before narrowing down your options, and then take your time reading over the policy for the card you choose.
Another option is to call the enquiry number in the credit card insurance policy booklet and speak to a customer representative. This gives you the chance to ask any specific questions you may have.
Usually when the fees are higher there is more to be gained in extras and bonuses. The credit cards in this comparison do offer complimentary free travel insurance. Read terms before you go ahead.
Jeremy Cabral is the chief operating officer and global head of publishing for Finder. He has written hundreds of comparisons covering everything from credit cards to travel money to Netflix TV shows. Jeremy has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from the University of Western Sydney.
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