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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.
- 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
Latest news and articles
Travel spend on credit cards back thanks to trans-Tasman bubble
Credit card usage is making a resurgence compared to COVID-lows recorded this time last year, according to the latest Citi Australian Credit Card Index. April marks the third month in a row in which credit card spend was above COVID levels.
Personal Finance Editor
Alex is a personal finance writer and editor at RateCity, and has been writing about finance for over five years. She is passionate about closing the gender pay and superannuation gap, and aims to help young Aussies to overcome their financial apathy and better manage their finances. Alex has been published in numerous print and online outlets, including Money Magazine, Lifehacker Australia, and Business Insider.
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.
Do I qualify for Bank of Melbourne credit card insurance?
You may be eligible for transit accident insurance, purchase security insurance, and extended warranty no matter which type of Bank of Melbourne credit card you own.
Some credit card customers may get coverage for international or domestic travel insurance, rental vehicle excess in Australia, and price guarantee as well.
However, the exact terms of the insurance coverage can differ based on the specific credit card. For instance, if you buy any personal items with a Level 1 credit card, your purchase security insurance may be valid for up to four months from the purchase date. For someone with a Level 2 credit card, such coverage may only be available for three months.
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.
What type of complimentary travel insurance is available with Citibank credit cards?
The Citi Prestige, Premier, Rewards, Emirates Citi World MasterCard, and Gold cards provide complimentary travel insurance to customers. These Citibank credit card insurance benefits are managed and issued by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA).
Depending on the type of card, the Citibank credit card insurance coverage may include:
- Foreign travel insurance
- A comprehensive insurance policy for foreign travel for up to six months
- Transit accident insurance
- Accidental injury or demise while travelling on aeroplanes, buses, trains, or ferries in foreign locations
- Interstate flight inconvenience insurance
- Cover for unexpected cancellations, damaged or lost baggage, flight delays, or rental vehicle excess expenses for up to 14 days while travelling within Australia.
To be eligible for the complimentary Citi credit card insurance, you must book tickets using your card or through the Citi Travel Program.
Does Woolworths Qantas offer any credit card insurance?
Credit cards can be useful for managing your expenses, but they also come with other advantages like credit card insurance. Your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card may offer a host of complimentary insurance options, which include:
- Travel insurance: Cover for your whole family when they travel with you, with unlimited overseas medical emergency cover and $500,000 accident insurance for accidental loss of life.
- Purchase security insurance: If you purchase an eligible product with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the cost of theft or damage that occurred within 90 days of the purchase will be covered, provided the amount doesn’t exceed the purchase price of the item or up to $2500 per event.
- Extended warranty insurance: If you purchase eligible goods with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, this complimentary insurance will extend the manufacturer’s Australian warranty by up to 12 months.
- Global hire car excess waiver: If you’re legally liable to pay an excess or deductible in the event of loss or damage to a rental vehicle that was booked using your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the costs will be covered.
To find out more about Woolworths Qantas credit card insurance, you can call them on 1300 10 1234.
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.
Does Macquarie Bank offer any credit card insurance?
Yes, Macquarie Bank may offer credit card insurance; it just depends on the type of Macquarie Bank credit card you have. There is a range of credit card insurance offers you can benefit from when you take out a Macquarie Bank credit card.
If you have a Macquarie Black or Platinum credit card, you have access to travel insurance for you, your spouse and any dependent children while travelling overseas. Under this travel insurance you receive:
- Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance, which provides cover for meals and clothing, depending on the delay
- Medical Emergency Expense Cover, which offers you unlimited cover for most medical expenses, and limited cover for dental treatment and emergencies caused by an act of terrorism
- Baggage, Money and Documents Cover, which is subject to certain sub-limits mentioned in the terms and conditions
As a Macquarie Bank credit cardholder, you could be eligible for Extended Warranty insurance, which provides an extension to the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products. To access this cover, you must have purchased the product using your Macquarie Bank credit card.
Select Macquarie Bank credit cardholders might also be able to take advantage of Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance. This insurance will cover you for any excess or deductibles that you’re liable to pay during the rental period.
Most Macquarie Bank credit cards also come with purchase protection insurance which protects you against fraudulent transactions. You should check the terms and conditions to find out more.
How do I file a Virgin Money credit card insurance claim?
To make a claim, you can either call Allianz Global Assist at 1800 072 791 or visit their claims page. If you’re making a claim related to any travel-related complimentary insurance, such as international travel or transit accident insurance, you may need to visit their travel claims website. Again, for filing a claim while travelling overseas, you can call Allianz at +61 7 3305 7499.
Before filing your claim, consider checking which complimentary insurances are available with your Virgin Money credit card. Customers who own a ‘no annual fee’ or ‘low rate’ credit card don’t get these benefits, while some other credit cards only come with guaranteed pricing and transit accident insurance.
Remember that you’ll need to submit proof that your credit card offers the complimentary insurance benefit which you are claiming. You can read the credit card complimentary insurance terms and conditions for details regarding the benefits available on your credit card.
What types of NAB credit card insurance are available?
If you hold a NAB Premium, Platinum or Signature credit card or a NAB Platinum Visa Debit card, you could be eligible for the bank’s free travel insurance. You may be covered for overseas travel and interstate flight changes, along with transport accidents, domestic hotel burglary, purchase protection, extended warranty and price protection.
It’s important to note that the NAB credit card insurance only kicks in after you’ve made an eligible purchase, so you won’t get the credit card insurance benefits if you haven’t used the card.
To make a NAB credit card insurance claim, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can check the eligibility of your claim or make a claim online as well.
If you have a travel incident and need to speak to someone regarding your NAB credit card insurance, contact 24x7 Emergency Assistance on +61 7 3305 7499 (reverse charges may apply). You can also send an email to email@example.com.
What is the American Express credit card insurance coverage?
Several American Express credit cards, including the Gold, Platinum and Green cards, come with international and domestic travel insurance, shopping and purchase protection and smartphone screen insurance. All you have to do to activate your American Express credit card insurance cover is use it to pay for eligible purchases, travel, and a smartphone.
The complimentary travel insurance requires you to be less than 80 years old with no pre-existing diseases and your travel must begin and end in Australia.
To make an American Express credit card insurance claim, you’ll need to lodge your request with Chubb Claim Centre within 30 days. Submit the form along with supporting documents like medical reports, original invoices and receipts. You can also contact Chubb on 1800 139 149 or file a claim via the Chubb website.
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 Bendigo Bank offer credit card insurance?
No matter which type of Bendigo Bank credit card you own, you may qualify for complimentary purchase protection insurance, extended warranties, and best price guarantee.
If you are eligible for one or more of these complimentary insurances, you won’t need to activate them separately. Consider checking the coverage limits as well as the terms of purchase to find out if they apply to your purchases. For instance, the annual coverage limit under Bendigo Bank’s purchase protection insurance for one type of credit card is $25,000. However, the coverage limit per item is $5,000, and you may have to pay an excess of $250 every time you file a claim.
Some Bendigo Bank credit card customers may also qualify for mobile device insurance, which covers the accidental damage to or loss of your phone. Again, the coverage limit varies for repairing or replacing your phone,compared to repairing accidental damage to your phone’s screen. Other complimentary insurance offered by Bendigo Bank on some credit cards includes coverage for overseas travel, domestic flight inconvenience, and transit accidents. If you rent a car using an eligible Bendigo Bank credit card, you may be able to get a waiver on the car rental excess as well.
What coverage does Coles credit card insurance offer?
Most customers who own a Coles credit card may be eligible for complimentary purchase protection insurance, but low rate card owners won’t receive this benefit.
Some premium credit cards issued by Coles include transit accident insurance and extended warranty cover in addition to purchase protection insurance. Covered items paid for at least partially with your Coles credit card usually qualify for purchase protection insurance.
However, you may only be eligible for transit accident and extended warranty coverage if the entire travel cost or purchase price is billed to the eligible card. Additionally, the extended warranty coverage matches the manufacturer’s warranty up to a maximum of five years. If your credit card offers extended warranty, but the covered item comes with a six-year warranty, you're unlikely to receive the benefit.
What does BOQ credit card insurance cover?
All BOQ credit cards come with purchase cover insurance and guaranteed pricing, which can be claimed by eligible customers without activation. Some premium cards may additionally cover international travel, transit accidents, and interstate flight inconveniences, as well as offering extended warranties in select circumstances.
For instance, any “covered item” bought using your BOQ credit card may be eligible for purchase cover insurance if its value doesn’t exceed $10,000. Again, covered items usually include most business and household or personal items but exclude things like computer software, perishable food items, and arts and antiques. You should check your credit card’s product disclosure statement (PDS) to find out which of these complimentary insurances you may qualify for if any.
Does St. George Bank offer any credit card insurance?
Depending on the type of card they hold St. George Bank credit cardholders can benefit from a host of various credit card insurance offerings including:
Complimentary overseas travel insurance, covering:
- Medical and hospital expenses incurred while travelling overseas, with the exclusion of pre-existing conditions
- Loss or damage to personal property
- Legal liabilities
- Loss or damage to rental vehicles
- Unexpected cancellation of travel arrangements or any other unforeseen expenses
Complimentary purchase security insurance may be available to level 1 cardholders for four months and three months of complimentary insurance accessed by level 2 cardholders. This type of insurance covers loss, theft, and damage costs to eligible products purchased anywhere around the world, provided that the product was purchased using the St. George Bank credit card.
Extended warranty insurance may be available to St. George Bank credit cardholders, which extends the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products purchased. For example, if you purchase a pair of headphones that comes with 11 months of warranty, St. George Bank will provide an extended warranty of 11 months, provided the entire purchase is charged to the St. George Bank credit card.
Select cardholders may be able to take advantage of St. George Bank’s rental vehicle excess insurance, which covers up to $5,500 for any excess or deductible which the cardholder is legally liable to pay during the rental period.
Who is eligible for Bankwest credit card insurance
Bankwest offers complimentary overseas travel insurance to its Gold MasterCard, Platinum MasterCard and World MasterCard cardholders. Eligible Gold and Platinum MasterCard customers are covered for up to 31 consecutive days of travel, while the World MasterCard holders are covered for six successive months.
To receive the complimentary Bankwest credit card insurance, cardholders need to:
- Be under 80 years old
- Be travelling to a foreign destination
- Not have a cancelled or suspended card.
The complimentary insurance is also available to spouses and children if they travel with you for the entire period. The level of cover depends on the type of card and its credit limit. Some of the standard types of cover include:
- Overseas emergency medical assistance
- Personal liability
- Accidental demise
- Baggage and personal goods.
It’s important to remember that pre-existing conditions are not covered by the complimentary Bankwest credit card insurance. Other terms and conditions also apply.
If you are an eligible cardholder and need to make a claim, it can either be done online or by calling +612 8907 5615.
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 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.
What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?
Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card.
Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well.
In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.
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.