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Debit card travel insurance

Is debit card travel insurance enough? Make sure you're protected in full ahead of your next trip.

What you need to know

  • Free travel insurance is common with credit cards, but there are a couple of debit cards that offer it.
  • You normally need to spend a minimum amount on your holiday with the card, often around $500.
  • The actual policies are pretty basic, so you may want to get a stand-alone policy anyway.

How debit card travel insurance works

There are a few ways you can get travel insurance, and I reckon I've tried them all at one point or another. Buying a single policy, and annual multi-trip policy, free credit card travel insurance - they're the main ones. They've all got their pros and cons.

Debit card travel insurance is the same as credit cards that come with travel insurance. Of course with the benefit of not going into a mountain of credit card debt. That, I can say from experience, is pretty crummy.

Why debit card travel insurance isn't perfect

The free travel insurance you get with a debit card has strings attached. They're not deal breakers, but they're worth thinking about.

  • You have to use your debit card to book a minimum amount of costs on your trip, normally $500. If you buy flights on your card, this is typically sorted.
  • You have to manually activate your insurance. You'll likely to do this on your bank's app.
  • The actual travel insurance policies are typically pretty basic, and don't cover you for much.
  • Most policies won't cover trips that are longer than 3 months.
  • Most card policies don't offer much customisation. For example to get cover for cruises or ski trips.

Finder survey: What type of travel insurance have Australians purchased?

Response
International72.93%
Domestic25.18%
Complimentary credit card travel insurance17.72%
None11.33%
Annual multi-trip8.27%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1112 Australians, December 2023

What does debit card travel insurance cover?

Free travel insurance with your debit card is probably a basic policy, covering things like delayed flights, delayed luggage, lost luggage and other travel interruptions.

Limits and sub-limits on debit card travel insurance differ from those offered by standalone policies. Smart money is to compare the free policy you get against the policies on Finder to see if it suits your trip, or if you should get a standalone policy.

Which debit cards have travel insurance?

There are a couple of debit cards available in Australia that have free travel insurance. As of January 2024, that includes:

  • World Debit Mastercard*
  • NAB Platinum Visa Debit card

*The World Debit Mastercard is offered through CommBank, but it appears to be invite only. If you're an existing CommBank customer you might be able to call and see about getting an invite, but you can't apply online.

Is debit card travel insurance enough or nah?

I've heard some absolute horror stories about travel insurance, but I've also been poor and travel obsessed, so I feel uniquely positioned to give you an honest answer on this.

  • Firstly, you need some travel insurance for every trip. Especially if you're travelling somewhere like the USA, where medicine is really spenno, get some cheap medical cover at least.
  • If you're doing dangerous stuff like snow sports, climbing, skating, riding bikes etc, you should get a standalone policy. You'll need to declare all that to be covered, and card policies don't always let you do that.
  • If you're travelling on a cruise, you should get a standalone policy, for similar reasons.
  • If you've got a pre-existing medical condition, same situation. Get a standalone policy so you can declare it and not be excluded from medical cover.
  • If none of the above apply to you, then debit card travel insurance is better than nothing. If it's a choice between the free cover on your card and nothing, get the card cover.

That being said, you can get travel insurance from like $10 a day. Which is really not that bad.

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