If your credit card includes travel insurance, that’s a good thing. But do you know exactly what’s covered—and, more important, what isn’t? Here is a list of things to check to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Credit card with travel insuranceScope of coverage

Credit cards with travel insurance provide comprehensive coverage (emergency medical care, trip cancellation or interruption, accidents, lost baggage), but many of them only offer some of these protections as an option. You’ll have to pay more to add them or you’ll need to buy individual insurance. Each of these coverages can be added independently, from CAA-Quebec Travel Insurance, among others.

Who’s insured

Some travel insurance policies cover the cardholder as well as his/her spouse and children, while others cover only the cardholder. The ages of the people insured can also be an important factor: emergency medical care coverage may be limited for older travellers.

Length of coverage

The insurance policy may contain a restriction on the length of the trip. The maximum length can also vary depending on the cardholder’s age. For example, several credit card companies reduce coverage to 15 days for travellers aged 65 or more.

When your trip is longer than your insurance coverage, you can buy “top-up” insurance to protect you for the remainder of your stay. There are some risks, however. Read our recommendations on top-up travel insurance.

Pre-existing illnesses

Are you seeing a doctor before you leave? Do you have an illness or are you taking treatment? These are called pre-existing illnesses or conditions, by insurers: health situations that you are aware of before you leave. You need to contact your insurer to be sure you are covered despite your illness or condition.

Coverage amounts

Credit cards with travel insurance often limit coverage amounts— for example, a maximum of $2,000 for trip cancellation. If your trip costs you more than that and you need to cancel, you won’t be refunded the difference, unfortunately.

Payment for care

If you need to see a doctor or receive care while travelling, will you need to pay out of your own pocket and be refunded only after you return? You should find out, because that could significantly cut into your meal or excursion budget...

Reimbursement and deductible

Check before you leave whether 100% of care is reimbursed by the travel insurance that comes with your credit card or if a deductible applies.

Claim conditions

Usually, the insurance available with your credit card applies only if you pay for your travel arrangements with this card.

Credit card expiry

Double-check the date on your card to make sure it won’t expire while you are away. Your insurance will end on the same day!

In conclusion, it’s important to know exactly what is covered by the travel insurance that comes with your credit card. Take the time before you leave to check the guarantees and coverage as well as any restrictions and exclusions. If you have doubts, contact your credit card issuer. Ask all your questions or explain your particular situation to make sure you’re properly protected. If need be, you can always top up your coverage by purchasing an individual travel insurance policy, such as that offered by CAA-Quebec Travel Insurance.