Planning a local or overseas trip is an enjoyable experience, but there is always one additional cost that can add up: travel insurance. This is where credit cards offering complimentary insurance can come in handy for many Australians. 

Free travel insurance perks are normally available on rewards credit cards and travel credit cards and are not common on low-rate cards.

The amount of insurance offered, as well as the terms and conditions of the insurance, will vary from card to card. Some cards may offer only domestic travel insurance, while premium cards with a higher annual fee may offer both domestic and international. The insurance coverage will also vary depending on the card and the card provider.

Here is everything you need to know about complementary travel insurance.

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19.99%

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Why do credit cards offer free travel insurance?

Put simply, Australian credit card providers offer complimentary credit card insurance as a perk on platinum, reward, frequent flyer and travel cards as it encourages spending on these cards.

Many credit card providers require that the expenses of the trip be booked on the credit card to fall under the insurance coverage. Furthermore, for insurance on specific items, card providers often require the items to be bought on the card as well. Depending on your financial situation, this can result in a high outstanding card balance. 

It is important to remember that credit providers often charge fees on overseas credit card use, so the cost of the ‘free’ insurance can really add up. You may also need to spend a certain amount or meet certain criteria for for travel insurance activation. 

The free travel insurance is normally only given for trips under a certain period of time, which means consumers looking to take longer trips need to check the terms and conditions of the coverage before taking advantage of the insurance.

How to qualify for credit card travel insurance

Insurance policies come with conditions and eligibility criteria that the credit card provider and/or insurer will require you to meet to qualify for your travel insurance. 

These conditions may include:

  • Travel spends. You may need to spend a certain amount on prepaid travel costs with your credit card before you leave. This may include plane tickets, accommodation, rental cars etc.
  • Booking through one card. Some policies require you to make all of your travel bookings through the one Visa, Mastercard or American Express (AMEX) credit card to qualify for coverage. If, for example, you booked a train ticket through a friend’s debit card and the train trip was delayed, you may not qualify for compensation for this missed trip from your credit card travel insurance.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as cardiac issues or pregnancy, may limit or prohibit your coverage.
    Residency. Coverage may only cover you if you’re a permanent resident in Australia or hold a valid Visa.
  • Age limits. The complimentary insurance policy may only cover travellers aged 80 and under 

For a full breakdown of the total coverage a credit card may provide, take time to read the Product Disclosure Statements carefully.

Who qualifies for credit card travel insurance?

Travelling with family or friends? Some credit card travel insurance may only cover the cardholder, but most will typically cover your spouse and dependent children.

  • Spouse, may include a married or de-facto partner living at the same address as you at the time of your departure – sometimes for at least a period of months beforehand.
  • Dependent children, may generally refer to any children aged 18 years or younger. Some policies may extend coverage up to age 24 for children enrolled in full-time higher education.

You all may need to tick a few insurance boxes to qualify for coverage. This may include the conditions listed above, as well as spending 50 per cent or even the full trip with your family members. Some may also require you to be on the same return tickets to qualify.

What does free domestic travel insurance cover?

While different credit cards offer different levels of coverage, free domestic travel insurance generally includes:

  • Luggage cover: For loss, theft or damage to personal items
  • Luggage delay: For purchasing essential items if your luggage is delayed or misplaced
  • Cancellation fees: For rearranging or cancelling flights due to injury, accidents, extreme weather, unforeseen circumstances etc.
  • Flight delays: For accommodation expenses if you experience extended flight delays
  • Personal liability: For if you accidentally cause injury or damage to another person or their property
  • Rental vehicle cover: For excess payments on a rental vehicle’s insurance if an accident or theft occurs
  • Additional expenses: For miscellaneous travel and accommodation expenses if you’re no longer able to travel

While free domestic travel insurance is an attractive credit card feature, it often means paying a higher annual fee. What’s more, exclusions often apply to the insurance, so it’s important to always read the terms and conditions and product disclosure statement (PDS) before applying.

What does international travel insurance cover?

As well as what was mentioned above, complimentary overseas travel insurance may also cover:

  • Emergency medical expenses, such as hospital expenses.
  • Cancellation and delays (relating to delayed flights, missed connections etc).
  • Luggage and personal belongings coverage, including loss, theft and damage.
  • Rental car excess costs.
  • Accidental death, disability and/or loss of income.

The level of coverage an insurance provider will offer is based on risk. If you were to engage in potentially dangerous activities, it’s likely that an insurer won’t cover you in the event of an accident. 

For example, if you were to get on a motorbike or moped in Bali, your insurer may not cover medical bills in the event of an accident if you don’t have an international drivers licence or a motorbike licence.

Is credit card travel insurance really free?

While you may not be paying outright for insurance like you may normally, the cost of travel insurance is typically included in the interest rates or fees of the card.

Credit cards with complimentary travel insurance typically fall under the rewards, travel or premium credit card umbrella. These types of credit cards often have moderate to high annual fees, which help to pay for the bonuses and perks that standard credit cards may not offer.

Determining whether or not complimentary travel insurance is worth the cost depends on your own personal and financial needs. You should also keep in mind that travel insurance exclusions and an excess may apply for any claims you attempt to make on your policy.

If you rarely travel, or can no longer travel for whatever reason, paying extra for features you don’t need may be a financial strain. It may be worth considering switching to a standard credit card with low or zero annual fees.

However, if you’re an avid traveller who is always finding themselves forking out hundreds, if not thousands, on travel insurance, or have a big family holiday coming up, these type of credit cards may help keep costs down.

Pros and cons of free travel insurance
  • Frequent travellers may save on travel insurance
  • You can often get the same benefits as standalone policies, for less
  • It takes the hassle out of comparing travel insurance policies
  • Different card options can give you control over your coverage and how much you spend
  • Many policies also cover your spouse and children when they travel with you
  • Your card policy may cover you for the same price at any age, unlike standalone policies which can charge higher premiums for younger or older travellers
  • A range of destinations may be covered for the same price, unlike some standalone travel policies
  • A wide range of terms and conditions can mean you’re not covered for certain situations
  • You’ll typically pay a higher annual fee for the credit card to cover the ‘free’ insurance
  • To be eligible for the travel insurance, you often have to activate your policy or use your card in a certain way – so always check your card’s terms and conditions
  • If you don’t travel frequently, the insurance might not be worth paying the higher card fee
  • Certain exclusions and excess payments can still apply, hitting you with unexpected costs
  • Credit card travel insurance policies generally cover trips of a certain length (e.g. up to 31 days or three months)
  • Standalone travel insurance policies can be more extensive (e.g. offering broader insurances up to higher amounts)

How to compare credit cards with free travel insurance

As well as looking at the free insurance coverage offered with the credit card, including what is and isn’t covered, plus any terms and conditions, it’s important to consider the credit card’s other features, benefits, fees and charges, including:

  • Interest rates: How much extra you may be charged on purchases
  • Annual fees: What you’ll pay each year for access to your credit card
  • Interest free days: How long you’ll have each billing cycle (often monthly) to clear your credit card debt, before you’ll start being charged interest on your purchases
  • Rewards programs: Will you earn rewards points on your credit card spending to redeem on special discounts, products and services?
  • Other fees and charges: Find out if you’ll need to pay extra for overseas spending, currency conversion, or making cash advances

Frequently asked questions

What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

What does Westpac credit card insurance cover?

If you own a Westpac credit card, one of the perks may be  free travel insurance. If you’re eligible, you may be covered if you get sick while travelling, have lost your luggage, have to cancel a trip or have an accident while you’re on the move.

Besides these standard inclusions, the Westpac credit card insurance policy may also cover you for hospital essentials, emergency dental treatment and alternative transport if your original plans go awry. It may also cover loss of income when you get back home after being sick  overseas and your pets’ boarding costs too.

If you have any queries, the Westpac credit card insurance contact number is 1800 091 710. You can submit a claim online.

 

How does CBA credit card insurance coverage work?

If you have a Commbank credit card, insurance may be one of the benefits on offer. 

You may be eligible for overseas medical and travel coverage, as well as coverage for interstate flight cancellations, transport accidents, extended warranty and price guarantees. You may need to check which types of insurance coverage you can access, as some types are not available to all customers. 

To apply for CBA credit card insurance, you can contact the bank via its website. It’s also worth checking which types of insurance are available automatically and which require you to fulfil some conditions. 

The  Commbank credit card purchase insurance - called Purchase Security -  is available to most CBA cardholders. You can find out more about the different types of insurance, their coverage limits and inclusions and exclusions in the Product Disclosure Statement.

Do I get HSBC credit card insurance on purchases I make?

As an HSBC credit card (HSBC Platinum, HSBC Platinum Qantas and HSBC Premier World) cardholder, you may be entitled to complimentary international and domestic travel insurance. This HSBC credit card insurance covers you for hospital stays and medical expenses, flight cancellations or delays, as well as lost luggage or personal items.

To be eligible for the insurance, you should have paid for at least 90 per cent of your overseas return travel ticket with your HSBC credit card. The cover is automatically activated without a need to contact HSBC. However, it’s always best to let your card issuer know when you travel overseas. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you’ll need to contact Allianz directly to organise cover for these as they aren’t covered by the insurance. You can call Allianz on 1800 648 093.

The complimentary international travel insurance that comes with your HSBC Platinum credit card is valid for up to four months from the date of your departure from Australia. Your HSBC credit card insurance cover also covers your spouse and dependent children if 90 per cent of their travel ticket is purchased using your HSBC card.

 

Does ING increase credit card limits?

You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so. 

ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000. 

Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.

How do I apply for a BOQ credit card limit increase?

If you’re an existing BOQ customer, you can request a BOQ credit card limit increase over a phone call. However, you should remember that owning and using a credit card is a matter of financial responsibility, so it might be worth thinking this decision through. 

When requesting a credit card limit increase, you’ll need to be just as responsible in terms of how much you earn and can set aside to repay the outstanding card balance. A credit card company may approve a credit limit increase only if you can show that you have either the income or the disposable income, which is the amount you have left after all expenses have been paid out.

For this purpose, you may need to submit your latest income documents and bank statements for an increase. You may want to estimate how much you usually have left after deducting your expenses, and then use this amount to try and convince the credit card company. Also, you may prefer to pay off the card balance in full each month and thus avoid paying interest on the card, helping you back up any claims of financial responsibility, as well. 

Remember that you may not be able to apply for a credit card limit increase beyond any limitations on the type of card you own. For instance, if you own a card whose ceiling is $10,000, and your current limit is $5,000, you won't likely be able to apply for a $10,000 credit card limit increase.

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

How to increase my Commonwealth credit card limit?

Commonwealth Bank credit cards are extremely popular in Australia for everyday purchases and big ticket items alikers. A number of the card’s functions can be customised, depending on your needs and desires. If you wish to increase your Commonwealth credit card limit using the CommBank, you can usually do so on the app or via NetBank.

In the CommBank app, tap on the ‘Cards’ icon and choose your credit card. Then, click on ‘Credit Limit’ and select the ‘Increasing your limit’ option. If you don’t have the CommBank app, you can also increase your Commonwealth Bank credit card limit through NetBank. Simply log on and go to Settings, then click on ‘Product Requests’ and then choose ‘Credit Card Limit Changes’. 

Once the bank has received your application, they will review your account and payment history. Based on this assessment, your application will either be approved or denied. If approved, your new limit will be applied to your card instantly. 

While increasing your credit card limit may be an easy process, it’s important to remember that you should only request limits that you can manage. A high limit increases the risk of having a larger debt, even with cards that provide low-interest rate options. So, it’s important to think carefully and seek advice from people you trust before increasing your Commonwealth Bank credit card limit.

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

What can I do about my Commonwealth Bank expired credit card?

You’ll typically receive your replacement Commonwealth Bank credit card before your current one expires. 

Once you receive the replacement card, you may need to update the new card with all the direct debits that you had set up on your expired Commonwealth Bank credit card. These could include insurance payments, electricity or gas bills, and monthly entertainment subscriptions.

To see a list of all your regular payments in NetBank, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to NetBank
  2. Click on ‘settings’
  3. Go to ‘product requests’, and select ‘credit card regular payments’. 

If you don’t use NetBank, you can see the list of your regular payments on your most recent credit card statement. Keep in mind, this list may not be complete and you should also check your past statements or your transaction history. 

If you haven’t received your replacement card before your current card expires, call 13 22 21 and the bank will send a new card to you. 

It is important that you safely discard your expired credit card. This often means cutting it up with scissors and throwing it out. 

How does ANZ increase my credit card limit?

If you’re the primary cardholder on an ANZ credit card, you can increase your credit limit by logging into your credit card account and choosing the “Increase your credit limit” option. You can also submit an ANZ credit card limit increase application form by visiting any ANZ branch or by mail or fax. When completing the form, it's important to remember to specify how much you want the limit increased. You can estimate this by first calculating the amount of credit card debt you can afford to repay based on your income and expenses, and then declaring that in your application. 

Irrespective of whether you’re completing your ANZ credit card limit increase application online or in print, you’ll need to provide updated employment information, income, and expenses, which the company will have to verify. You'll also need to authorise ANZ’s access to your credit history, as your current credit score and recent credit history tell the company about your financial responsibility, and whether or not you'll be able to repay the additional debt you’re applying for. 

In some cases, ANZ may ask you for additional information, or the agent processing the application may reach out to you after your application is received. After verifying your credit score as well as your personal and financial information, however, ANZ may approve a credit card limit increase proportionate to your repaying ability, though it may not be the same as the increase you requested.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

How can I increase my Bankwest credit card limit?

When you apply for a Bankwest credit card, you get assigned a pre-set credit limit, which will end up being the most that you can spend on your credit card before having to pay it off. Your credit limit is chosen for you and your current financial situation, and you should remember not to overspend, irrespective of the limit, in order to avoid racking up a massive bill.

However, banks and lenders understand that your needs will change, and have made it possible for you to increase your credit card limit, allowing you to get extra cash when you need it most. Moreover, with a higher spending limit, you may be able to get access to certain perks and benefits with your Bankwest credit card.

To increase your Bankwest credit card limit, you can visit any of the bank’s branches or call 13 17 19 and follow the steps outlined.

What's the best credit card for rewards?

There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice. 

Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.