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What to ask before taking credit cards overseas

Credit Cards » What To Ask Before Taking Credit Cards Overseas

Does my card offer any insurance?
Does my card offer any insurance? © SteveWoods/Shutterstock.com

Does my card offer any insurance?

Don't confuse your card's "travel protection" with bona fide travel insurance. A credit card's protection has major limits.

Typically, coverage only applies if the card has been used to pay for the trip, and the trip is fewer than 30 days in length. Compared to actual travel insurance, the list of covered reasons is limited, says Damian Tysdal, founder of travel insurance comparison website TravelInsuranceReview.net. If you need to cancel your trip, coverage is usually limited to extreme circumstances such as illness, injury or death of you, a close family member or your traveling companion.

"Whereas with travel insurance there's a much more expanded list of covered reasons," such as if you have to cancel your trip due to work or the loss of your home in a fire, Tysdal says.

Your credit card also won't likely cover any medical and evacuation care. There's a wide range to the cost, but a good ballpark estimate for a medical evacuation would be around $50,000, Tysdal says.

And while your card may help arrange these services, you're footing the bill, Kelly says.

"I think of credit card protection as a nice bonus: If you're not the kind of person who buys travel insurance, it can ease the pain a little bit," Tysdal says. "But if you're the kind of person who is looking for travel insurance, it can be dangerous to say, 'I can just rely on my credit card.'"

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