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Credit cards with travel insurance

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written By Sean Callery

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by Shaun McGowan

Compare 80 credit cards that come with complimentary travel insurance. Plus, see how our Editor compared credit card travel insurance to standalone cover for a family trip.

Credit cards with travel insurance

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written By Sean Callery

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by Shaun McGowan

Compare 80 credit cards that come with complimentary travel insurance. Plus, see how our Editor compared credit card travel insurance to standalone cover for a family trip.

Credit Cards With Travel Insurance

Credit cards with travel insurance

Credit Cards With Travel Insurance

Credit cards with travel insurance

Featured cards with travel insurance included

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Compare credit cards with international travel insurance

This table shows credit cards in Australia that offer complimentary travel insurance to cardholders. Filter and sort the cards based on the other factors that matter to you.

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Rates updated 18 June 2024

What cover do you get with credit card travel insurance?

The travel insurance that’s included with some credit cards covers most of the same risks as the standalone travel insurance available directly from insurance companies.

The main difference with credit card travel insurance is the cover is standardised for all cardholders. With some limited exceptions, you're not able to tailor the cover to your specific trip or needs, like you can with most standalone policies.

Each credit card’s travel insurance inclusions will be different (the same is true of standalone policies) but there are four main types of travel cover that may be included:

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Overseas travel insurance

Covers a range of risks related to an overseas trip, including medical costs, travel cancellations and loss/damage of luggage.

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Interstate flight inconvenience cover

Covers domestic travel for risks like cancellation, delay and loss of luggage. Around 94% of cards offering international travel insurance also offer this kind of domestic cover, Money.com.au’s analysis shows.

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Transit accident insurance

Pays a benefit if someone covered by the policy is killed or injured in an accident while travelling. This may cover international trips, domestic or both.

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Rental vehicle excess cover

Covers the policyholder for part or all of the costs they otherwise would need to pay if a car they are renting is damaged. This could apply to cars hired in Australia, internationally or both depending on the policy.

Credit card travel insurance explained in more detail

Credit card travel insurance generally covers the cardholder(s), plus their spouse(s) and any dependents travelling with them.

To be eligible, you generally also need to be living in Australia and making a return trip. An upper age limit typically applies too. This tends to be around 80 years of age on policies analysed by Money.com.au. [NAB is one provider(https://www.nab.com.au/personal/insurance/complimentary-card-insurances/international-travel-insurance) that extends a level of cover – excluding medical – to eligible travellers aged under 91 years.

Make sure to double check the eligibility criteria for who is covered as it can vary from card to card.

Remember too that you are not automatically covered by your credit card’s travel insurance. You generally need to ‘activate’ the cover. This usually means you need to pay for all or part of the trip using the credit card offering the cover. More on that to come.

Credit cards with travel insurance tend to cover a wide range of risks and events. But what you’re covered for will vary from provider to provider. It can also differ from one card to another among cards from the same provider.

As a rule of thumb, the more premium the credit card, the more comprehensive the travel insurance it offers is likely to be. But check the insurance documents and list of benefits available to be sure.

Here are some of the risks that credit card travel insurance may cover. Cover provided is usually up to a certain dollar amount per type of cover for each trip, but for some risks, cover may be unlimited.

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  • Trip cancellation/amendment: Will cover pre-paid costs if you need to cancel or change your travel plans for certain reasons (e.g. you become sick).
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  • Personal accident cover: Makes a payout if you die or are injured in an accident while travelling.
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  • Card account balance waiver cover: Pays off your credit card balance if you have an accident.
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  • Travel inconvenience cover: Covers your costs if your flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, or you miss a connecting flight. Medical emergency cover: Covers your costs if you experience a medical/dental emergency while travelling or need to be flown back to Australia due to a medical emergency.
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  • Emergency travel and accommodation cover: Covers the cost of additional transport and/or accommodation required if you are incapacitated. E.g. with some policies, the cost of flying your dependents home may be covered if you are hospitalised.
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  • Resumption of trip cover: Pays for the cost of resuming your international trip if it is unexpectedly interrupted because a close relative dies or becomes seriously ill.
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  • Cover for luggage and travel documents: Covers the cost of your luggage and travel documents if they are lost, damaged or stolen. Usually there is a limit on how much you can claim back per item and in total.
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  • Personal liability cover: Covers your costs if you accidentally injure someone or their property.
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  • Loss of income cover: Covers you for lost income if you are injured or suffer an illness while travelling. The loss of income generally needs to be above a certain limit (e.g. 30 days or more).
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  • Kidnap/hijack cover: Enables your close relatives to travel to the place where you have been kidnapped or where the hijacking has happened.
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  • Domestic pet boarding cost cover: Covers additional costs you incur for boarding your dog(s) or cat(s) if your return home is unexpectedly delayed.

Your credit card’s travel insurance terms and conditions will specify how long you will be covered for. It's often either three or six consecutive months from when you begin your travel.

This is different to how a standalone travel insurance works. With standalone cover, you tell the insurer your travel dates and the cover applies to those dates if you’re approved. You can also get annual cover.

If you are undertaking a long trip, bear in mind that credit card travel insurance may not cover its full duration.

With credit card travel insurance, there are two types of exclusions to watch out for: those that apply to specific named events or risks and general exclusions that apply across the policy. Here’s an overview of each.

General exclusions These are exclusions that apply across any kind of risk, and include:

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  • Travelling against medical advice or after you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
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  • Travel for the purpose of getting medical treatment may also be excluded.
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  • Claims relating to excluded pre-existing medical conditions.
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  • Claims relating to you losing your income or employment.
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  • Intentional self-harm or suicide.
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  • Claims relating to your use of alcohol or drugs.
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  • Many pregnancy-related claims.
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  • Participating in dangerous activities (e.g. travelling in an unlicensed air plane or other form air travel, or scuba diving unless you are properly qualified and certified).
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  • Illegal activity by you, your spouse or dependents under your supervision.
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  • Travel costs lost because you or your spouse failed to obtain a visa/passport for travel.
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  • Claims relating to acts of war.
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  • Claims that were caused by you not taking reasonable care.
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  • Interference with your travel plans by any government or local authority.
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  • Travelling against a government warning (e.g. ‘do not travel’ or ‘reconsider your need to travel’ warning).

Risk-level exclusions

These are more specific and relate to particular types of risks listed in a credit card’s travel insurance policy documents.

As an example, many policies cover your costs if you need to cancel your trip for unforeseen reasons. But depending on the policy, you might not be covered if:

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  • Before you booked the trip, you were aware your plans might need to change for that reason.
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  • Your travel partner changed their plans.
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  • The company you booked your travel with has a financial collapse.
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  • The cancellation is caused by an act of terrorism.

How to choose the best credit card with travel insurance included

Complimentary travel insurance is one of the most common perks offered with credit cards, particularly the more premium rewards credit cards.

But it’s rarely the only reason for choosing to apply for a credit card. Here's what to consider if you're looking for a suitable credit card overall:

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Travel insurance inclusions

Assess the policy's suitability for you. The Australian government's Smartraveller travel insurance guide says you should consider your travel habits (destination, trip duration, activities and trip cost), plus your age, health and what valuables you'll be travelling with.

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Annual fee

This is often the biggest cost of having a credit card. Not surprisingly, credit cards offering travel insurance tend to come with higher fees than no-frills cards. But there are some low-fee offer available (e.g. under $100).

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Interest rate

If you will ever carry a balance on the credit card beyond the interest-free period, opting for a low rate credit card will save you money.

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Interest free days

55 days is usually the standard (the max number of days you get without being charged interest on purchases). But some cards offer fewer days and a handful offer more.

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International fees

If you will be using it while you’re travelling (or paying for overseas purchases while at home), opting for one of the credit cards with no international fees could save you money.

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Rewards

Look at both the number of points you’ll earn per $1 spend as well as any sign up bonuses. If it's a cashback credit card, look at the percentage of spending you get back. Some cards offer other rewards perks, including some cards that come with airport lounge access.

Choosing the best credit card with travel insurance

Comparing credit card travel insurance to a standalone policy

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Sean Callery, Editor

"I recently compared travel insurance options for a two-week family trip to the United States. I was surprised to see that the cover I get through my credit card (inclusions and claim limits) is very similar to the standalone policies I looked at – only much cheaper.

My credit card (Westpac Altitude – Qantas) has an annual cost of $250. Each standalone policy I looked at would have cost considerably more than that.

My credit card also earns me around 25,000 Qantas points per year on average (I’m not a massive credit card spender). That’s worth about $100 if converted to a gift card with most retailers. The table below shows a summary of how I compared the options."

Sean Callery, Editor

Credit card travel insurance (issued by Allianz Australia)Standalone policy 1 (Cover More international comprehensive)Standalone policy 2 (Allianz Australia comprehensive)

Policy premium quoted

n/a (credit card annual cost is is $250)

$651

$410

Standard claim excess

$300

$250

$200

Who is covered?

Cardholders, their spouses and/or dependants

2 adults, 1 child

2 adults, 1 child

Cover period

Up to 3 consecutive months

2 weeks (but can be tailored to your trip)

2 weeks (but can be tailored to your trip)

Overseas hospital cover limit

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Emergency dental

$2,000 per person

$2,000

Unlimited

Emergency accommodation

Unlimited

Unlimited

$100,000

Rental vehicle excess

$5,500

$5,000

$6,000

Luggage and travel documents

$20,000/person (up to $30,000 total) with sub-limit of $5,500 per item

$15,000 (sub-limits apply)

$20,000 (luggage), $10,000 (docs)

Trip cancellation

Unlimited

$10,000 (can be tailored to your trip)

$10,000 (can be tailored to your trip)

Travel delay expenses

$500 per person, up to $1,100 total

$2,000

$2,000

Costs, inclusions and limits are examples based on this specific scenario only. Actual policy costs will be different based on the provider you choose, your specific travel plans and circumstances.

Is credit card travel insurance worth it?

The travel insurance that comes included with credit cards tends to compare well to standalone travel insurance based on cost. It’s included in your card’s annual fee after all, so there is no additional cost.

The main trade-off is flexibility. Credit card travel insurance falls under what’s known as a 'group policy'. This kind of cover applies in the same way for all policyholders. On other words, there is very little scope to tailor the cover if the standard inclusions don’t suit you.

In my case (outlined above), the generic cover was fine, but that won’t be true of all trips and travellers.

Pros and cons of credit card travel insurance

Pros
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  • No additional cost beyond the cost of your credit card (the annual fee is the main fee, but there are credit cards with no annual fee that offer complimentary insurance).
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  • The standard inclusions, exclusions, limits and other policy conditions are typically similar to what you can get with a basic standalone policy.
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  • Having your travel insurance included means there one less thing to do when booking your trip.
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  • Your card may offer other travel perks – e.g. frequent flyer points and in some cases no international transaction fees .
Cons
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  • Nearly all credit cards offering travel insurance have an annual fee. The average among cards analysed by Money.com.au is $244, but can be as high as $1,450.
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  • The cover is usually generic for all cardholders. For more complex situations where a higher level of cover is required, the cover included may not be suitable. Some card providers (e.g. Commbank) allow you to upgrade your cover for an extra fee.
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  • The cover usually does not apply automatically. You need to ‘activate’ it. In many cases, that means using your card to book the trip.

Expert’s view on credit card travel insurance

Brad Kelly, Payment Services

Brad Kelly, Credit Cards Expert

"Many people don't trust card-based travel insurance, but I don't really understand why. Maybe I'm the only person who actually reads product disclosure statements, but when you look into what’s behind these insurance policies, they are issued by the big insurance companies and the inclusions are usually very generous. Just don’t assume it’s going to be right for everyone. Look into the detail and check if it's what you need."

Brad Kelly, Credit Cards Expert

How to activate your credit card travel insurance

The travel insurance that may come with your credit card usually needs to be activated before you’re eligible to be covered.

If you haven’t activated it, chances are you won’t be covered and any claim you make may be denied.

Money.com.au looked at the rules for dozens of credit card insurance policies and, broadly speaking, to activate your cover you need to do one or both of the following:

  • Pay for all or part of your eligible trip using the credit card. Paying for the trip in full using credit card points may not count as a way of activating the insurance, depending on the provider.
  • Opt in to activate the cover

Activating travel insurance with the major providers

Here are the rules for activating your travel insurance with eligible credit cards with Australia’s major credit card providers.

  • American Express For return international trips, you must pay the full amount of your outbound ticket for a scheduled flight or cruise leaving Australia using a current American Express credit card account and/or corresponding American Express Membership Rewards/frequent flyer points or travel benefit.
  • ANZ Before leaving Australia you must spend at least $250 on your prepaid travel costs and charge these costs to the account holder’s card account.
  • Commbank Overseas medical and liability cover applies automatically. But for other aspects of overseas travel cover, you must activate the policy online (no fee or minimum spend applies) before you leave Australia. If you activate the cover after you leave Australia, a three-day no-cover period will apply.
  • NAB You must charge at least $500 of your prepaid travel costs to the account holder’s card account. NAB is also the issuer of Qantas credit cards (ones sold directly by the airline), as well as Citi and BOQ credit cards.
  • Westpac Before leaving Australia you must spend at least $500 on prepaid travel costs and charge these costs (e.g. cost of your return overseas travel ticket or accommodation) to the account holder's card account

What to check before relying on credit card travel insurance

1

Are you eligible to be covered?

Based on your age and other factors.

2

Is your trip eligible?

It usually needs to be a return trip starting in Australia.

3

Will your travel companions be covered?

Usually only the cardholder's spouse and dependents are eligible. A friend you're travelling typically won't be.

4

Is the cover duration long enough?

The max is usually 3/6 consecutive months.

5

Will any pre-existing conditions be covered?

Some policies will still cover specific pre-existing conditions but many conditions will be excluded (check theT&Cs).

6

Have you activated the policy?

If not, you won't be covered. Check the requirements carefully.

7

Will any risky activities be covered?

Many policies exclude 'extreme' activities.

8

Is the policy generally suitable?

Based on your situation and the kind of trip you’re undertaking.

FAQs about credit cards with travel insurance

You’ll need to make the claim to the travel insurance provider (not the card issuer) but there is usually a link to the claims portal on the card provider’s website. You can typically claim online or over the phone by providing details about the incident and supplying any supporting evidence and cost receipts.

Travel insurance is just one of the types of cover available with some credit cards in Australia. You may also get:

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  • Purchase protection cover: Covers eligible purchases if the item you bought is lost, damaged or stolen.
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  • Price protection cover: Covers you for the price difference if the item you purchased drops in price within a specified period after you bought it.
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  • Refund protection: Reimburses the cardholder for the cost of eligible items if the retailer will not provide a refund.
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  • Extended warranty insurance: Extends the manufacturer’s standard warranty on eligible items purchased using the card.
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  • Smartphone screen cover: Like purchase protection cover, but specifically designed to cover the cost of repairing a smartphone screen that’s been damaged.

Many credit card travel insurance policies exclude claims relating to pre-existing medical conditions. However, there are some situations where a pre-existing may be covered:

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  • The condition type is specifically listed as being included for cover in the policy terms and conditions; or
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  • You have applied to the insurer to have a condition covered by your policy and they have confirmed in writing that it will be.

This comes down to the type of trip you’re undertaking and your personal situation (e.g. your health). The travel insurance that comes with a credit card is usually a standardised policy designed to apply to the large numbers of people with that credit card.

For that reason, the insurance covers common risks and situations but it’s not going to be a perfect fit for everyone.

It’s worth closely checking what is and isn’t covered and what limits apply if you need to make a claim, particularly if you are going on a non-standard trip or have complicated health needs. In some cases, the travel insurance your credit card offers may not be enough.

Sean Callery Editor Money.com.au

Written by

Sean Callery

Sean Callery is the Editor of Money.com.au. He has over 15 years of international experience. He is qualified with a Certificate IV in Finance and Mortgage Broking (FNS40821) and is compliant to provide general advice in Tier 1 General Insurance (RG 146) products.

Shaun McGowan Money.com.au founder

Reviewed by

Shaun McGowan

Shaun McGowan is the founder of Money.com.au. He's determined to help people and businesses pay as little as possible for financial products, through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.

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