Best credit cards for travel insurance

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The best credit cards for travel insurance can help protect you from financial losses when your luggage is lost or stolen, your trip is canceled for reasons beyond your control or someone vandalizes your rental car.

Amazingly, credit cards that come with travel insurance protections offer these included perks on a complimentary basis. This means that when you have one of the top rewards credit cards with travel insurance, you can enjoy included protections for free.

Still, it really is important to know about the travel insurance protections your card offers, as well as all applicable limits and exclusions.

While some travel credit cards offer robust coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, primary auto rental coverage, lost or delayed luggage, emergency evacuation and more, others offer only very basic coverage like secondary auto rental coverage and roadside assistance.

This guide explains the coverage the best credit cards for travel insurance benefits offer, how it works and the best ways to take advantage.

What types of travel insurance can you get from a credit card?

The travel insurance benefits you’ll get with a rewards card can vary dramatically, although it shouldn’t surprise you that premium travel credit cards tend to offer the broadest coverage.

Types of coverage you may be able to get with the best credit cards for travel insurance include the following:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: Can cover financial losses if your trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason, such as accidental loss of life or severe weather
  • Auto rental coverage: Allows you to gain some protections when you pay for your rental car with your credit card; coverage can be primary or secondary
  • Baggage delay insurance: Provides reimbursement for incidental expenses (up to limits) when your baggage is delayed by a common carrier
  • Trip delay insurance: Provides reimbursement when your trip is delayed and you are forced to pay for incidental expenses like meals or an overnight stay
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Gives you cash reimbursement when your luggage is lost by a common carrier
  • Roadside assistance: Grants you access to a hotline where you can call in for help with a flat tire, car problems and more
  • Travel and emergency assistance: Grants you access to an emergency hotline when you run into complex problems and need medical or legal referrals or other emergency help
  • Travel accident insurance: Provides financial assistance if you are accidentally killed or dismembered during a covered trip
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage: Covers the cost of emergency transportation and evacuation if you become injured or sick during a covered trip
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage: Provides coverage for some emergency medical and dental care if you require it during a covered trip

Typical benefits of credit cards with travel insurance

While the best credit cards for travel insurance benefits can include any of the coverage types we just discussed (or perhaps even all of them), many come with other benefits you should know about.

For example, the best travel credit cards on the market today tend to offer premium travel insurance benefits and perks like annual travel credits, fee credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, and airport lounge access or automatic elite status.

Credit cards with travel insurance perks also tend to let you earn travel rewards on your spending, so you’ll want to compare options to find a rewards program that makes sense for the way you travel most.

Bankrate’s picks: The best credit cards for travel insurance

Welcome bonus Types of travel insurance offered Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Primary auto rental coverage
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Roadside assistance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage
  • Emergency medical and dental benefit
$550
The Platinum Card® from American Express Earn 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on your new card within 6 months of account opening
  • Global Assist hotline
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
$695
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
  • Primary auto rental coverage
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Travel accident insurance
$95
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card 100,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Roadside dispatch
  • Primary auto rental coverage when you rent a car for business purposes

 

$95

Best for luxury travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • Welcome bonus: 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • Rewards: Earn 3X points on eligible travel and restaurant purchases (after earning the $300 travel credit); 3X points on grocery store purchases on up to $1,000 in purchases per month, then 1X points (through April 30, 2021); 10X points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2022); 1X points on all other purchases
  • Perks: Premium travel benefits including up to $300 in annual travel credits, Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and more
  • Annual fee: $550

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top luxury credit cards already but it also has the best selection of travel insurance benefits. As a cardholder, you’ll receive:

  • 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 services
  • Travel accident insurance worth up to $1 million
  • 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

Other major cardholder benefits to look forward to include up to $300 in travel credits per year, airport lounge membership, $60 in DoorDash credits in 2021, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership and 50 percent more value when you use points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

You also get the chance to earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 on your card within three months of account opening. You’ll earn a total of 10X points on Lyft purchases through March 2022, 3X points on eligible travel and restaurant purchases (after earning your $300 travel credit) and 1X points on everything else you buy.

The Platinum Card from American Express

  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on your new card within six months of account opening; also, earn 10X points at eligible restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first six months of card membership
  • Rewards: Earn 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com (per calendar year); 2X points on prepaid car rentals booked through AmexTravel.com; 1X points on all other purchases
  • Perks: Benefits include a Priority Pass Select membership, $240 digital entertainment credit (up to $20 in statement credits each month at eligible providers), $179 Clear annual statement credit for membership, $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck credit every four years, up to $200 in airline fee credits (up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for fees like baggage fees at one qualifying airline), up to $200 Uber Cash credit annually on U.S. rides and eats, up to $200 hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings and more
  • Annual fee: $695

The Platinum Card from American Express is popular among travel enthusiasts for several reasons, including the fact you get quite a few travel protections just for signing up. As a cardholder, you’ll get access to:

  • Global Assist Hotline
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per eligible card every 12 months
  • Trip delay insurance worth up to $500 per covered trip (maximum of two claims every 12 months)
  • Baggage insurance worth up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Secondary auto rental coverage worth up to $75,000 on rental periods of 30 days or less

Cardholders of this American Express credit card also earn a generous welcome bonus, as well as 10X points at eligible restaurants worldwide and when they Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during their first six months.

The regular earning rate on travel purchases of 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com and 5X points on hotels booked through AmexTravel.com can also help you rack up points in a hurry.

Featured benefits can also make the $695 annual fee well worth it, especially when you consider the dollar value of the statement credit benefits, broad airport lounge access and the fee credit for Clear, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership.

Best for budget travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
  • Rewards: Earn 2X points on dining and travel; 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022); 1X points on everything else
  • Perks: Get 25 percent more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Annual fee: $95

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a toned-down version of the Sapphire Reserve with fewer benefits and a much lower annual fee. However, this card doesn’t really skimp on the travel insurance benefits you can receive, which 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

New cardholders also get the chance to earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. That’s in addition to the generous rewards rate of 2X points on travel and dining and 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022).

Best for small business

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

  • Welcome bonus: 100,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 within three months of account opening
  • Rewards: Earn 3X points on up to $150,000 per year in combined spending on travel, shipping purchases, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, Internet, cable and phone services (then 1X points); 1X points on all other purchases
  • Perks: Get 25 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Annual fee: $95

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 Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is an excellent option since it comes with very basic protections but you also get the chance to earn points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Travel insurance perks you’ll receive with this business credit card include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance worth up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per covered 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

This card starts you off with 100,000 bonus points (worth $1,250 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after 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 and select business categories each account anniversary year (then 1X points), as well as 1X points on all other purchases.

Another major benefit is the cell phone coverage you receive when you pay your phone bill with your credit card, which is worth up to $600 per claim with a maximum of three claims per 12-month period and a $100 deductible per claim.

A $95 annual fee is required for this card, but the travel benefits and rewards make it well worth it.

How to choose the best credit card for travel insurance

If you are looking for a travel credit card that comes with travel insurance, you should make sure you like the other cardholder features you’ll get access to. That way, you’ll wind up with a credit card that works well when you travel but also provides value close to home.

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

Figure out which travel protections you want and need

First, it can help to decide which travel insurance benefits you care the most about. While some consumers may only care about having primary rental car coverage or trip cancellation and interruption insurance, it’s important to think over whether you would use other benefits like baggage insurance or roadside assistance.

In addition to deciding which travel protections you could use, you should also compare a few card options in terms of their coverage limits and exclusions. For example, some travel cards offer only auto rental coverage for certain rental periods or within certain countries, which you wouldn’t know about unless you checked.

Compare rewards programs

Also, decide on the type of rewards you want to earn with your credit card—whether you prefer to rack up cash back, earn points you can transfer to airline or hotel programs or get flexible rewards you can redeem in more than one way. Make sure any card you’re considering offers a rewards scheme that makes sense for your spending style.

Look at credit card annual fees

Finally, consider the fact that the best credit cards for travel insurance tend to charge annual fees, and that the cards with the most robust coverage options charge fees of $500 or more. While paying the high fee on a travel credit card could be well worth it, you may be able to get basic travel protections for less (or even with $0 annual fee) if you take the time to compare all your options.

The bottom line

If you’re angling for credit card travel insurance, any of the rewards credit cards we profiled on this page could work. You should make sure, however, to decide on the type of rewards you want to earn and compare cards based on their other features, as well.

Travel insurance benefits can be well worth paying a credit card’s annual fee but don’t overpay for the protections you want the most.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."
Edited by
Credit Cards Reporter and Young Credit Analyst
Reviewed by
Credit Cards Reporter