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Credit card travel insurance saved me $200 – here’s how

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Despite rising travel costs, there are still ways to save on overseas travel insurance.

I recently went on my first international holiday in 4 years, hiking through the English countryside and taking a road trip to Scotland with my husband.

Both of us had been to the UK before and had an idea of how much flights and accommodation would cost – even with a 6.2% annual price rise reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A few months ahead of the trip I started comparing travel insurance on Finder.

Most quotes were between $400 to $700 for our trip.

Using this information as a baseline, I then compared credit cards with travel insurance, looking at 6 key details:

  • What the credit card travel insurance policies covered
  • How much cover was available for each benefit
  • If our (few) pre-existing conditions would be covered
  • What cover was available if my husband or I got Covid
  • How much excess we would pay if we made any claims
  • The other credit card costs I'd have to pay

It doesn't make sense to get a credit card just for travel insurance because of the potential ongoing costs and impact to your credit score.

But I also wanted a card with 0% foreign transaction fees that I could use when I was overseas.

And I didn't want to pay a high annual fee.

Based on these requirements, I chose the Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard, which also won the 2023 Finder Award for Best Travel Credit Card.

The travel insurance on this card is automatically available when you have an active, eligible card and are travelling overseas.

So me (and my husband) had access to a base level of cover, including emergency overseas medical and hospital expenses.

The policy also had the option of paying for upgraded benefits, including cancellation and rental vehicle excess cover.

My husband and I wanted these 2 benefits for peace of mind and because we were hiring a car.

The quote I got to upgrade was $206 – around $200 less than the cheapest comprehensive policy I had been considering.

The cover limits were at a similar level to the paid policies I looked at, although making a claim through the credit card travel insurance would have attracted a slightly higher excess.

Is credit card travel insurance worth it?

Credit card travel insurance policies have changed a lot since the pandemic, and now there are many credit cards with comprehensive policies that could be suitable for an overseas trip.

For instance, Finder analysis in 2023 found that there are at least 14 providers and 58 cards that offer some form of Covid cover.

But the base level of cover may not be enough if your trip involves extreme sports, travel to higher-risk areas or if you have pre-existing conditions.

Just like paid policies, there are different benefits and details that you need to consider based on your plans and what's important to you.

4 questions to help you decide if credit card insurance is right

  1. What is the credit card's annual fee and interest rate for purchases?
  2. Does the card offer other features you want? (E.g. 0% foreign transaction fees, rewards)
  3. How do you get travel insurance through the card?
  4. Does the travel insurance policy cover everything you want it to?

In my case, I already wanted a new credit card so it made sense to apply for one with travel insurance.

For someone else, paying for travel insurance could be cheaper and/or more convenient.

And either way, you can save money by comparing different options.

Compare credit cards with travel insurance on Finder. Or get a quote for travel insurance now.

This article was updated on 11 August 2023 to clarify that the Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard travel insurance does not require activation for the base level of cover.

Image: Getty Images

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