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There are several reasons to use a credit card for a large purchase. For starters, many credit cards let you earn rewards as a percentage of your spending, and most come with zero liability coverage that protects you from fraud.
Some credit cards also come with added protections and benefits that can help you get reimbursed for eligible products if something goes wrong. This includes purchase protection, which is a unique perk offered through credit cards that can help repair or replace items you buy for months after a purchase is made.
If you’re planning on spending a lot of money on furniture, electronics or another large purchase, keep reading to learn more about purchase protection, how this coverage can help you save money and which credit cards have it.
What is credit card purchase protection?
Typically, credit card purchase protection applies to purchases you make with your credit card for a specific amount of time. With this important coverage, you can be reimbursed for an item or receive a replacement if your purchase is damaged or stolen, usually within 90 to 120 days.
Imagine you purchase a new laptop computer and pay for the entire charge with a credit card that offers purchase protection. If the laptop stopped working within the time specified for this coverage, you could rely on your credit card’s purchase protection to repair or replace your item up to policy limits.
But keep in mind that purchase protection is never offered in unlimited amounts. Generally speaking, you’ll have a per-claim limit and an annual limit or lifetime limit on your plan. Certain types of purchases also tend to be excluded from purchase protection coverage, which we’ll go over below.
How to use purchase protection
Credit cards that offer purchase protection only extend this coverage when you use your credit card to pay for the item you want coverage for. However, you may also be able to use this coverage if you paid for an item with rewards earned with a credit card that offers purchase protection. Here is what Chase says about qualifying for coverage in their fine print:
Purchase protection “can repair, replace or reimburse you for eligible items in the event of theft or damage when items are purchased with an eligible Chase card or with rewards earned on an eligible Chase card.”
Once you pay for an item with your credit card, rewards points or a combination of the two, the item is automatically eligible for coverage provided it’s not listed as an excluded item in your card’s benefits guide. If your item is damaged or stolen while your purchase protection coverage is still in force, you are typically instructed to file a claim by calling into a claims hotline or filling out a claims form online.
Common purchase protection exclusions
As we mentioned, not all purchases qualify for purchase protection, and exclusions can vary from issuer to issuer. If you plan to use your credit card for purchase protection, you should read through the fine print of your coverage to see which items do and do not qualify.
Common exclusions include used or pre-owned items, items left in plain sight before they were stolen, antiques and other collectibles, computer software, items purchased commercially for resale and boats and other motorized vehicles. Items confiscated by the government may also be excluded, as well as losses due to acts of war, items with normal wear and tear or items that mysteriously disappear.
Best credit cards offering purchase protection
There are plenty of rewards credit cards with purchase protection that can help you recoup your losses when damage or theft occurs. Here are some of the best options available today:
Chase Freedom Flex
- Purchase protection coverage: Coverage against damage or theft for up to 120 days with a maximum benefit of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Welcome bonus: $200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening
- Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back after activation on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1 percent), 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases, 1 percent back on other purchases and (through March 2025) 5 percent back on Lyft rides
- Annual fee: $0
Why you’ll like it: The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers lucrative rewards in an array of popular spending categories. Not only will you earn 5 percent back after activation on up to $1,500 spent in rotating quarterly categories, you’ll also earn 5 percent on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earning 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases is another major plus, especially when you consider this card doesn’t charge an annual fee.
Cardholders also get 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 19.74 percent to 28.49 percent. Even better, this card comes with World Elite Mastercard benefits such as cell phone protection, discounts on Lyft rides, a ShopRunner membership and more.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Purchase protection coverage: Coverage for damage or theft for up to 120 days with a maximum benefit of $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Welcome bonus: An additional 1.5 percent cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)—worth up to $300 cash back
- Rewards rate: 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5 percent back on everything else; also earn 5 percent back on Lyft rides through March of 2025
- Annual fee: $0
Why you’ll like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers the appeal of a boosted cash back rate for general purchases plus bonus categories. You won’t pay an annual fee, yet you’ll earn the basic rate of 1.5 percent back on everyday spending, as well as 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase and 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases. The purchase protection offered by this card is the exact same as the Chase Freedom Flex.
To help you save on interest, this card also grants new cardholders 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 19.74 percent to 28.49 percent.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
- Purchase protection coverage: American Express purchase protection for up to 90 days from the date of purchase; maximum claim amount is limited to $1,000 per covered purchase, up to $50,000 per year per covered card and up to $500 in coverage per natural disaster event
- Welcome bonus: $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months
- Rewards rate: 6 percent back on up to $6,000 on purchases in U.S. supermarket spending each year (then 1 percent), as well as select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3 percent back on transit including purchases made at U.S. gas stations and 1 percent back on other purchases
- Annual fee: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
Why you’ll like it: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card offers one of the best rewards rates on groceries among all rewards credit cards on the market today. In addition to earning 6 percent back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1 percent), you’ll also earn the same rate on select U.S. streaming subscriptions like Hulu and Netflix, as well as 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations and transit and the standard rate of 1 percent back on everything else you buy.
This card has a $95 annual fee. However, you can also earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months. However, you should note that rewards are only redeemable for statement credits.
You can also save money on interest since this card comes with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 18.99 percent to 29.99 percent.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Purchase protection coverage: Coverage for up to 120 days from the purchase date with a maximum benefit of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Welcome bonus: $750 in bonus cash back when you spend $6,000 on your card within three months of account opening
- Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each year (then 1 percent); 2 percent back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each year (then 1 percent), 1 percent back on other purchases and 5 percent back on Lyft rides through March 2025
- Annual fee: $0
Why you’ll like it: If you’re looking for a business credit card that offers purchase protection on business-related purchases, it’s hard to beat the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. This card offers bonus rewards in a range of popular categories, including office supply stores, gas and dining—and you can earn a significant initial welcome bonus, too. As to this card’s purchase protection, the fact that coverage is worth up to $10,000 per claim is good since you may need more coverage if you use your card to buy pricey workplace equipment or other business supplies.
Ink Business Cash also grants business owners 0 percent intro APR on purchases for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 17.99 percent to 23.99 percent.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Purchase protection coverage: Coverage for 120 days worth up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account
- Welcome bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
- Rewards rate: 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft Rides (Lyft offer through March 31, 2025); 2X points on other travel and 1X points on other purchases
- Annual fee: $95
Why you’ll like it: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is an excellent option for purchase protection if you love to travel. This card offers bonus points in many popular categories, and points are earned in the flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards program. This means you can use your rewards for gift cards, merchandise or statement credits, as well as travel through Chase (with a 25 percent bonus in value) or 1:1 point transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners.
Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers robust purchase protection coverage as well as extended warranties, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary auto rental coverage, trip delay insurance, baggage delay reimbursement and more.
The bottom line
If you plan on making a large purchase and want some peace of mind in case something goes wrong, signing up for one of the best purchase protection credit cards makes a lot of sense. Not only can you earn rewards for shopping, but you may get reimbursed or see your item replaced if it’s damaged or stolen while your coverage is in force.
But the best part about credit card purchase protection is that it’s offered free as a cardholder perk. Since you can get coverage without paying for it, you might as well take advantage.