Have you ever wondered about credit card insurance? Financial expert Barry Choi of Money We Have explains how it works and what to look out for.
When used responsibly, credit cards can be a great tool to help you manage your money. While everyone knows you can use them to make interest free payments, what you may not realize is that many cards come with insurance policies that can be quite useful.
Generally speaking, these types of insurance are broken into two types: travel and purchase insurance. Like any other insurance policy, you never hope to use it. However, if you do need to make a claim, you'll be glad to have it. Although the insurance policies are automatically included with your credit card, there's still specific criteria that needs to be met before it becomes valid. Additionally, what you're covered for isn't always clear, that's why you need to know how credit card insurance works.
Types of travel insurance
Every insurance policy included with credit cards is different, so you always need to read the terms and conditions. That said, the following are the most common types of insurance policies included. It's worth noting that not every credit card includes all of the insurance policies:
Travel medical insurance
Travel medical insurance is arguably the most important type of travel insurance. As the name implies, it'll cover you if you need to seek medical attention whenever you leave the province where you reside. What many people don't realize is that the cost of health care can be extremely high in some countries, but if you have travel medical insurance, you should be covered.
It's worth noting that most credit card travel insurance policies require you to contact them before you seek medical attention (if possible). They'll then open up a claim and direct you to the nearest clinic or hospital.
Premium travel insurance
Premium travel insurance covers travel claims that aren't medical related. Things such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, delayed baggage, hotel/motel burglary, and rental car insurance would all fall under premium travel insurance.
Many of the best travel credit cards in Canada including the American Express Platinum Card come with both travel medical and premium travel insurance. That said, you do need to read your policy details as not every type of premium travel insurance may be included. there are also maximum limits for each type of insurance to be aware of when making a claim.
Mobile device insurance
In recent years, mobile device insurance has become more popular with credit card providers. If you have the insurance, your mobile devices which include mobile phones and tablets are insured. In most cased, there's a cap of $100 - $1500 in insurance coverage. There's also depreciation and a deductible to factor in when making a claim. That may annoy some people, but it's a handy insurance policy to have if you every need to make a claim.
Many credit cards include purchase protection, but not many people make claims. With this insurance, your purchases are usually protected from theft, loss and damage for 90 days from your purchase date.
Extended warranty policies are another form of insurance that can be incredibly handy. Under this policy, your manufacturer's warranty is usually doubled up to one additional year. For example, if your purchases have a one year warranty policy, it gets doubled if you have extended warranty through your credit card. If you have to make a claim between years 1 and 2, you would make it through your credit card provider.
How to ensure your credit card insurance is valid
As mentioned, you really need to pay attention to the details of your credit card insurance policies. With travel medical insurance, you're covered no matter what, but with all the other insurance policies you usually need to charge the full amount of your purchases to your card with the insurance for it to be valid.
Pay special attention to your premium travel insurance details. For example, some policies say you need to charge the full amount of your travel purchases to your card for the insurance to be valid, while other cards might say 75%. If you're using points to offset your costs, your insurance policy may no longer be valid since you're not paying the full amount.
With purchase insurance policies, you need to make sure you hang onto the receipts of your purchases. Additionally, you'll need to provide the statement when the purchase was made if you need to make a claim. Without both items, your insurance claim will likely be denied.
When it comes to mobile device insurance., you need to pay for the entire device with your credit card. If you're getting your hardware subsidized, then you need to pay your monthly bills with your credit card with the mobile device insurance.
Is credit card insurance worth it?
Having insurance is never a bad thing, you just need to make sure you understand the policy details. There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't make a claim if you have the insurance.
That said, the devil really is in the details. For example, credit card travel medical insurance for seniors typically only last 3 days. That's obviously not enough for most people, so you'd be better off buying a separate policy that provides you enough coverage for your needs
About the author
Barry Choi is an award-winning consumer and travel expert. his specialty is making tough financial topics easy to understand. You can read more of his articles at moneywehave.com