What Exactly Does Travel Accident Insurance Cover on Credit Cards?

By Jason Steele. Last updated 24 May 2017. 0 comments

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We all know that rewards credit cards can offer points, miles, and cash back for your spending, but many people overlook another valuable aspect of these products, their cardholder benefits. Many people don’t bother looking beyond the most obvious benefits of their credit cards, but there are a lot of built-in protections and insurance that you might find useful. One of these little-known benefits is travel accident insurance. (See also: Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn’t Know About)

How Travel Accident Insurance Works

Travel accident insurance is a sort of life insurance while traveling. If an accident causes your death or dismemberment, your credit card may provide some financial support to your beneficiaries. Credit cards offer travel accident insurance to cardholders and their families when they pay for their travel with their card. So if a cardholder purchases a train ticket with a credit card that includes a travel accident policy, he or she can receive a benefit if they are seriously injured as a result of a train accident.

Travel accident policies can cover so-called common carriers which include airplanes, buses, boats, trains, or even helicopters, as long as tickets are sold to the general public and it operates on a regular schedule. As a result, this provision excludes privately chartered transportation, and rental vehicles that are privately operated, other than rental cars.

These policies can vary depending on the company that issues your credit card, and even the type of credit card that you use. Many travel rewards cards will include it. Here are some of the details of the coverage offered by major card issuers, but you should always verify coverage with your card issuer.

American Express

Amex offers some form of travel accident insurance with most of its cards, with varying amounts of coverage for loss of life, limb, or sight, so long as cardholders pay for their common carrier transport using their card. This policy applies to the cardholder's spouse, domestic partner, and dependent children under 23 years old. While this policy covers trips purchased by directly redeeming Membership Rewards points, it specifically excludes reservations purchased in whole or in part with frequent flyer miles.

Citi

Citi offers worldwide travel accident insurance of up to $1 million to cardholders who are permanent residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia. The coverage applies to the cardholder as well as their spouse, domestic partner, dependent children, and anyone designated as an authorized driver or covered by the rental car agreement. So long as you pay for the entire reservation with your Citi card, you are covered against death as well as loss of a limb, sight, speech, or hearing. Coverage also applies if you are missing for more than a year. As with most travel accident policies, acts of war are excluded as well as coverage for those who are participating in illegal activity. And interestingly enough, you are also covered when you book an award ticket using American Airlines AAdvantage miles, as Citi is a partner with American. 

Chase

Chase also offers travel accident insurance on many of its cards. Cards that are part of the Visa Signature program cover not just the traveler's spouse, domestic partner, and dependent children, but even extended family traveling together such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. This benefit covers accidental death, dismemberment, loss of speech, sight, and hearing. Furthermore, it even covers cardholders when they pay for their tickets using their frequent flyer miles or other award points, as long as those rewards were earned through a program sponsored by Chase Bank such as United Airlines or Southwest. The amount of coverage is up to $500,000. 

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