Best credit cards for travel insurance

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Travel insurance can help you recover when your luggage is lost or stolen, or when a trip you’ve planned for months is cancelled for reasons beyond your control. Fortunately, you can purchase a travel insurance policy from an array of providers, and you can even tailor your plan inclusions to each specific trip. However, plenty of the top rewards credit cards offer different types of travel insurance for free as a cardholder perk.

If you do decide to use a credit card for the travel insurance it offers, you should never assume you’ll have all the coverage you need. Truth be told, some cards offer robust travel coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, primary auto rental coverage lost or delayed luggage, emergency evacuation and more. Others just offer very basic coverage, like secondary auto rental coverage and roadside assistance.

The best credit cards for travel insurance offer more types of coverage as well as reasonable coverage caps. We’ve highlighted all the top cards for travel insurance below, as well as why they stand out.

Best for luxury travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a top luxury credit card that offers an array of perks in exchange for its annual fee. You’ll get a $300 annual travel credit, a Priority Pass™ Select membership, up to $120 in DoorDash credits, a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck and 50 percent more points when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, among other benefits.

On the earning side, you’ll rack up 50,000 points worth $750 in travel when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 10x points on Lyft purchases, 3x points on travel and dining (after earning your $300 travel credit) and 1x points on everything else you buy.

This card also offers the most robust selection of travel insurance perks on the market today, which include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance worth up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip
  • Primary auto rental coverage good for up to $75,000 for theft or collision damage
  • Baggage delay insurance good for up to $100 per day for five days
  • Trip delay reimbursement good for a total benefit of up to $500 per ticket
  • Roadside assistance with a coverage limit of $50 per incident up to four times per year
  • Lost luggage reimbursement worth up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Travel accident insurance worth up to $1,000,000
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage good for up to $100,000
  • Emergency medical or dental benefit worth up to $2,500 when you’re at least 100 miles from home

Note that while this card’s auto rental coverage is primary, the medical and dental coverage you receive is secondary to medical insurance policies you already have. Still, the sheer number of travel perks you receive with this card makes it considerably more valuable, especially if you’re constantly on the road for business or leisure.

Best for budget travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a toned down version of the Reserve card with a much lower annual fee. This card doesn’t come with all the travel perks, but you’ll only pay $95 per year. You can also earn 80,000 points worth $1,000 in travel when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening, and you’ll earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on everything else you buy.

Travel insurance perks you can look forward to include:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip
  • Primary auto rental coverage for damage or collision that’s good for up to the cash value of the vehicle
  • Baggage delay insurance worth up to $100 per day for five days
  • Trip delay reimbursement good for a total benefit of up to $500 per ticket
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Lost luggage reimbursement worth up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Travel accident insurance worth up to $500,000

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers similar benefits to the Reserve card, but with lower limits in some categories. For example, your travel accident insurance policy is only worth up to $500,000 and the primary auto rental coverage you receive is only good up to the cash value of the vehicle. Also note that this card doesn’t come with a secondary medical or dental benefit, or with emergency evacuation and transportation coverage.

Best with no annual fee

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

If you’re looking for a rewards credit card with some basic travel protections and no annual fee, you should consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. This card comes with several different travel insurance perks as well as a very lucrative rewards scheme for a card with no annual fee.

You’ll start off by earning 20,000 bonus points worth $200 in cash redemption value when you spend $1,000 on your card within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 3x points on dining, gas stations, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and popular streaming services, as well as 1x points on other purchases.

Travel benefits you’ll receive include:

  • Emergency and roadside assistance
  • Lost or damaged luggage coverage good for up to $1,000 per person per covered trip
  • Secondary auto rental coverage
  • Travel accident insurance worth up to $150,000

In addition to these basic travel protections, you’ll also receive cell phone coverage when you pay your phone bill with your credit card. This coverage is good for up to $600 per claim and up to $1,200 per 12-month period with a $25 deductible per claim.

Best for small business

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

If you have a small business or you’re self-employed, you should also consider picking up a business credit card that has some travel protections. The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card comes with some very basic protections and a robust rewards scheme that makes using this card for all your business purchases an extremely smart idea.

This card starts you off with 100,000 points worth $1,250 in travel when you spend $15,000 within three months of account opening. You’ll also earn 3x points on up to $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and select online advertising (then 1x points), as well as 1x points on other purchases.

Travel insurance perks you’ll receive include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance worth up to $5,000 per trip
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Primary rental car coverage good for up to the cash value of the vehicle when you rent a car for business purposes

You’ll also receive cell phone coverage worth up to $600 per claim with a maximum of 3 claims per 12-month period and a $100 deductible per claim. You do have to pay for your cell phone bill with your credit card to qualify, but this coverage is complimentary when you do. If you’re self-employed, then it’s likely your cell phone bill is a business expense anyway.

How to choose the best credit card for travel insurance

If you are hoping to pick up a credit card that helps you earn rewards and score free travel perks, credit cards that offer travel insurance can fit the bill. Not only will you rack up points or miles for each dollar you spend, but you can benefit from free protections that help you avoid stress and financial loss when a trip goes awry.

Here are some tips to consider as you pick among the top credit card offers:

Figure out the type of coverage you need

First, figure out the type of coverage you need for the trips you take. You may not need baggage delay coverage or lost baggage insurance if you’re taking a road trip in your own car, for example, just like you won’t need auto rental coverage if you don’t even drive. So think about what you need most for the way you travel. From there, you can look for cards that offer the types of coverage that make sense.

Check for coverage limits and exclusions

Read over the fine print of your plans for potential exclusions, and be aware that you’ll find plenty. For example, you typically have to pay for the common carrier fare on a bus, plane, train, or cruise ship with your credit card for your travel insurance coverage at all. In other words, you should plan on paying for all your travel with your card. In almost every case, simply having your card isn’t enough.

Decide if paying an annual fee is worth it

Finally, you’ve probably noticed that the top cards with travel insurance charge annual fees. While nobody wants to pay an annual fee if they don’t have to, consider all the value you’re receiving in return for these offers. You can buy a separate travel insurance policy, but you could also pick up a premier travel credit card for a fee and access a ton of important coverage just for being a cardholder. Since you can also earn a sizable welcome bonus and ongoing rewards on your spending, these cards can be an excellent deal.