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Which Credit Card Issuer Has the Best Travel Insurance: American Express vs. Discover vs. Barclays?

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Many credit card users are familiar with travel benefits offered by their credit cards including car rental coverage and lost luggage protection. Some credit cards go beyond this level of coverage, providing travel insurance that covers cardholders in the event of unforeseen events, accidents or illnesses.

We’ll take a look at three big credit card issuers and the types of credit card travel insurance they offer. This coverage may factor into your decision when you’re choosing which credit card to use when booking a trip, which is an important decision to make in case you need to make a claim.

Two Types of Credit Card Travel Insurance

There are two types of travel insurance offered by credit cards:

  • Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Travel Accident Insurance

Trip cancellation insurance covers the cost of your travel, up to a certain amount, if you have to cancel or delay your trip because of an illness, accident or a death in your immediate family. To take advantage of this insurance, you must have booked the trip with the credit card that includes the coverage. The insurance will most often cover the cost of carrier transportation including airfare or a train ticket, but not the cost of lodging.

Travel accident insurance is similar to life insurance, providing coverage for you and your immediate family, up to a certain amount, in the event of an illness, accident or fatality that occurs while you’re traveling. Policies are often very specific on what is covered and when it is covered. It helps to pay close attention to the terms of the policy to know when you’re covered.

Let’s take a closer look at credit card travel protection offered by American Express, Barclays and Discover.

Best American Express Cards With Travel Insurance

All American Express credit cards include travel insurance when you purchase the flight with your Amex credit card or use Membership Rewards. The coverage amount depends on the credit card.

Amex cards with up to $100,000 in coverage:


Amex cards with up to $250,000 in coverage:


Amex cards with up to $500,000 in coverage:

What Does American Express Travel Insurance Cover?

American Express travel insurance provides coverage for loss of life and dismemberment that occurs while on a common carrier. To be covered, you must pay for the entire trip using your credit card. You won’t be covered if you use frequent flyer points from another program or another form of payment for any part of the trip. However, if you combine American Express Membership Rewards Points and a credit card to pay for your ticket, you will be covered.

While American Express does not automatically provide coverage for trip cancellation or trip delays, they do offer a separate travel insurance package that consumers can purchase regardless of the credit card used to book travel. Coverage includes trip cancellation and interruption, travel accident protection, global medical protection, global baggage protection, global trip delay, and 24-hour travel assistance starting at $59. You can also choose individual coverage for as low as $11.

What Does Discover Flight Accident Insurance Cover?

Your Discover credit card includes up to $500,000 in flight accident insurance. The benefit covers you, a domestic partner and any eligible dependent children in the event of an accidental death or bodily injury while you’re on a trip. The loss of life benefit is paid to the beneficiary who you’ve designated in writing and filed with the plan administrator. Or, if you haven’t designated a beneficiary, the benefit will be paid to your first surviving beneficiary in this order: your spouse, your children, your parents, your brothers, and sisters or your estate. Claims must be filed with the plan administrator within 90 days.

Best Barclays Cards With Travel Insurance

A few of Barclays’ credit cards include travel insurance, trip cancellation coverage, and trip delay coverage:


What Does Barclay Travel Insurance Cover?

Barclays travel insurance provides medical expense, loss of life coverage and reimbursement for trip cancellation, interruption or delay. Coverage applies when you use one of Barclaycards credit cards to pay for your trip.

Travel Accident Insurance

Barclays provides $250,000 in travel accident insurance which covers you, your spouse, and unmarried dependent children. Your family is insured against accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech or hearing while you’re a passenger on a carrier that you’ve paid for with your credit card.

Trip Interruption/Cancellation Insurance

Barclaycards credit cards include trip interruption/cancellation insurance which will reimburse you for up to $1,500 towards the cost of a trip that is canceled due to sickness, accident or death. Barclays travel insurance coverage kicks in if your trip is interrupted because of:

  • severe weather
  • a change in military orders
  • a medical quarantine
  • jury duty or subpoena
  • terrorist attack or hijacking
  • an uninhabitable dwelling

Bonus: Trip Delay Insurance

World Elite credit cards also include Trip Delay. You’ll be reimbursed up to $300 when your trip is delayed by six hours or more. So, for example, if you needed to book a hotel because a flight was delayed, your card benefits would reimburse you up to $300 for the hotel stay.

Which Credit Card Includes the Most Travel Insurance?

FIRST PLACE

Barclays

Barclays covers not only accident insurance and trip interruption/cancellation but also includes trip delay insurance. This extensive travel coverage makes Barclays the winner.

SECOND PLACE

American Express

American Express credit cards come with varying levels of coverage and only cover loss of life and dismemberment. The premium credit cards that come with higher coverage amounts also have high annual fees. If you want trip cancellation insurance, you’ll have to purchase a separate policy.

THIRD PLACE

Discover

While Discover cards all come with $500,000 of travel accident insurance, coverage only applies to loss of life, not medical expenses related to dismemberment.

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