Does My Credit Card Travel Insurance Cover Amtrak Trips?
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"Reader Questions" are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.
Travel insurance can be a great way to recoup some of your costs if things go wrong on the road, be it weather delays or an airline going bankrupt. You might even have travel insurance coverage you didn't know about, especially if you booked with one of our favorite travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. TPG reader Sama wants to know if this coverage extends to train tickets as well ...
[pullquote source="TPG READER SAMA"]I booked an Amtrak ticket using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Am I covered if there's an interruption, delay or cancellation during my trip?[/pullquote]
It's no surprise that we often think about trip cancellation as it relates to our free flights and hotel stays here at TPG. However, if you read the terms and conditions of your card's travel insurance policy, you'll actually see a different phrase used in most cases: "common carrier." Take a look at how Chase describes the trip delay reimbursement benefit on the Sapphire Reserve website:
So what exactly does common carrier mean? Chase gives us a few examples on the website (emphasis mine):
"Reimbursement is in excess of any travel insurance purchased, or reimbursement from the occupancy provider or common carrier such as airline, bus, cruise ship, or train."
Technically a common carrier (or "public carrier" in some countries) is a company that transports goods or people on a regular basis under the license or authority of a regulatory body. While Chase's examples make it pretty clear that a regularly scheduled commuter rail service — like Amtrak or the high-speed bullet trains you'll find in many Asian countries — constitutes a common carrier, so do a number of less obvious companies. Cruise and bus lines do, and many tour companies that operate under a regular schedule with a license might also be considered common carriers.
If you're unsure about your specific circumstances, you can always call your card's benefits administrator and ask if your travel operator is classified a common carrier. While the insurance providers are highly unlikely to comment on the result of a hypothetical claim, they'll happily discuss your situation and tell you whether you would be eligible to submit a claim if your trip is delayed, interrupted or cancelled.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the all around best travel rewards cards for a number of reasons, including the broad way Chase defines the travel bonus category and the plethora of travel insurance policies the card provides. While you might be familiar with some of these policies as they apply to delayed or cancelled flights, the reality is that "common carrier" service encompasses many other forms of regularly scheduled transportation as well.
Thanks for the question, Sama, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at email@example.com.