Who is covered by your credit card travel insurance?

Oct 22, 2019

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Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

No matter how carefully you plan your vacation, things like bad weather or mechanical delays can throw your trip off track without any warning. That’s why it’s important to consider getting travel insurance to protect your trip, and thankfully many of the top travel rewards cards on the market include various travel protections automatically when you use your card to pay for your trip. TPG reader Natalie wants to know who is covered by her travel insurance policy …

Everything I’ve read about my Chase Sapphire credit card travel protections mentions cardholder and immediate family — does that include my parents?

TPG READER NATALIE

Natalie is smart to be planning ahead and trying to understand her card benefits before she travels. I’ll admit that on more than one occasion I’ve made costly mistakes because I didn’t understand who and what was covered by my credit card insurance policy. Now it’s important to note that the specific terms will vary from policy to policy and between card issuers.

In this post I’ll take a look at the travel protections that come with some popular rewards cards, but if you have a card that isn’t on this list or if you bought your insurance through a third-party provider you should check with them directly to avoid any confusion.

Chase offers trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance on a number of its credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve. The exact terms of the policy, including when they kick and how much coverage they carry, vary by card, but the list of eligible parties does not. Depending on which travel protection you’re using, here’s who your Chase cards cover:

  • Trip delay reimbursement: Cardholder, cardholder’s spouse or domestic partner, dependent children under age 22.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: Cardholder, immediate family members (even if the cardholder is not traveling).

Chase defines immediate family as “your Spouse or Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or step-children; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews.”

In answer to Natalie’s question, if she paid for even part of her eligible trip with her Chase Sapphire Preferred, her parents would be covered as immediate family members for trip cancellation/interruption insurance, but not for trip delay reimbursement.

Amex recently announced that it would be adding trip delay and cancellation coverage to certain premium cards, effective Jan. 1, 2020:

Because this new feature isn’t live yet there isn’t any information on the Amex website about it. I spoke to an agent on the phone who said that she also couldn’t find any information on her end, and we’ll have to wait until closer to the end of the year to see who exactly Amex will extend coverage to.

Citi took a lot of heat this year when it announced that it was dropping nearly all travel benefits from its cards, including the flagship Citi Prestige® Card. While that card still continues to earn 5x points on airfare purchases, travelers should strongly consider paying with a card that offers them better coverage instead.

Bottom line

Chase is generous extending its trip cancellation and interruption insurance to the cardholder’s immediate family, so Natalie’s parents would be covered assuming their delay was for an eligible reason. Meanwhile they wouldn’t receive any trip delay coverage, as that is limited to the cardholder, their spouse or domestic partner and dependent children under age 22. In terms of other issuers, we’ll have to wait and see how Amex chooses to define its trip delay and cancellation coverage when it adds those benefits to some of its cards on Jan. 1, 2020.

Thanks for the question, Natalie, 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 info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo by Sam Spicer/Getty Images.

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