The Truth About Credit Card Travel Insurance

It may seem like you’re getting a deal by selecting a card that includes benefits “at no additional cost,” but do you really know what's covered? Or not covered?

Jul 21, 2017, 11:17 AM

Many people choose credit cards based on a few key factors: signup incentives, rewards and benefits. However, one of the most common — and most dangerous — misunderstandings about credit card benefits is that they include adequate medical insurance for international travelers. 

This article should help you better understand the difference between credit card travel insurance and other more comprehensive plans, which often provide better coverage at a similar cost. 

Credit Card Travel Insurance vs. International Health Insurance

There are three types of products designed to provide international health insurance benefits: travel insurance, travel medical insurance and long-term international medical insurance. 

Travel Insurance

Designed to protect the financial investment of your short-term trip and provide emergency medical and dental benefits. Along with coverage for baggage and travel delay, missed connections, change fees and more, travel insurance protects against a specific list of trip cancellation and interruption perils. Most plans cover your domestic and international trips.

Travel Medical Insurance

Designed to provide temporary medical coverage while you’re going on a short-term international trip or if you take multiple international trips throughout the year. Travel Medical Insurance is ideal for international vacationers, students studying abroad, relatives visiting from overseas, groups of executives and more. 

Long-Term International Medical Insurance

Designed to provide long-term, continuous global medical insurance for yourself and your family while you’re living or working outside of your country of residence for one year or longer. 

The Myth: “I don’t need to purchase additional coverage, because I have travel insurance through my credit card company.” 

The Truth: Unlike specially designed products offering international health insurance, your credit card’s benefits likely do not provide extensive coverage for your travels. 

Products which include international health benefits purchased from third-party insurance companies such as International Medical Group® (IMG®) provide substantially more coverage than those offered by credit card companies. 

They include emergency medical and dental benefits, as well as coverage for emergency medical evacuations, which most credit card companies do not provide. In fact, many cards do not provide any protection or reimbursement in the event you are injured or sick while on your trip. 

Additionally, most credit card companies will only provide coverage if the entire trip was booked using the credit card. Some credit cards have deductibles and most credit card companies charge an annual fee, often making it the same cost to purchase more comprehensive coverage through a third-party insurance company.

While it may seem like you’re getting a deal by selecting a card that includes benefits “at no additional cost,” make sure you review the policy, terms and conditions as you may be risking your health by traveling without the proper coverage. 

Don’t let your medical coverage be an uncertainty. Travel with one of IMG’s international health insurance plans to receive the benefits and assistance you need while you’re away from home. 

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