Credit Card Travel Insurance

Points to Consider Before Trusting It

Are You Covered?

  • Are medical emergencies included? Don't be fooled by accident-only insurance. Unless you are young, you are most likely to experience a medical emergency rather than an accident.
  • Most will not cover you if you are over 65 years of age.
  • Who is covered? It may only be the person who applied for the card, not every card-holder.
  • Does the trip have to be paid for using that credit card?
  • If you miss a payment will your insurance still be valid?

How Long is the Protection?

  • Will you be covered for the entire duration of your trip?

Can You Extend Your Insurance?

  • Not all annual plans will allow you to extend coverage beyond the number of days they offer - usually 15 or 30.
  • What if you get sick near the end of your coverage? Will they continue to pay the bills?

What is the Insured Amount and the Benefits Provided?

  • Is it at least $2 million?
  • Do they pay for extras such as daily expenses, return of travelling companion, pet & vehicle or to bring a family member to your side?
  • Is air ambulance return to Canada included?
  • Will they look after all administration or do you have to first make a claim to your provincial health plan, wait, then make a claim to the credit card?

Have They Reduced Benefits Since You Last Read the Policy?

  • The lower Canadian dollar is costing travel insurance companies more in claims.
  • Rather than raise their annual card fee, they would rather reduce benefits or increase exclusions.
  • You may not have the coverage you thought you did!

Are Pre-Existing Conditions Covered?

  • Usually not. Check their definition of a pre-existing condition and stability.

What Does the Policy Say?

  • Is the wording clear and unambiguous? If clauses are subject to interpretation, you can be assured they have more lawyers to decide in their favour that you do! Read the fine print.
  • Are there restrictions and conditions that remove your protection?
  • Is the administration and risk assumed by the credit card company or do they simply contract it out to a different company? The more parties you have to deal with, the more likely you are to have problems in the event of a claim.
  • What are the definitions of important terms such as "family member", "stable", "pre-existing condition", etc.?

How Will They Pay?

  • Will they pay the hospital or doctor directly or are you expected to pay the bill with your credit card then wait months (paying interest) to get reimbursed?

How Much More is Your Annual Fee?

  • The amount you save by using a no-fee credit card can often pay for better quality stand-alone travel medical insurance covering the same time period.

The Bottom Line

They're more interested in selling you a credit card than covering your medical emergency!