Travel accident insurance is yet another travel protection benefit that many credit cards provide for free. I honestly have never paid attention to this benefit, because deep down, I really hope that nobody ever has to use it. It is what it sounds like: insurance against travel accidents. Most, if not all, travel rewards credit cards cover this, and the coverage limit is typically very high, up to $1,000,000 (1 million dollars!). Restrictions apply.
I’ve talked about risks associated with traveling in earlier posts in this series. Credit cards are amazing for protection against unfortunate events along your travels, and apparently they are helpful even if you cannot make your trip or cannot complete your trip for unforeseen reasons.
I don’t seem to have good luck with checked in baggage. For the approximately 20 one-way trips I have made with checked in bags, I have had baggage delay 3 times, all within the past 2 years. One of these times, on my flight from Seattle to Boston in December 2013, I had an opportunity to test out the baggage delay reimbursement feature of my credit card, the Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard (later name changed to the Arrival +).
For those of us that travel and drive often, rental car insurance is a pretty big concern. You hit the road with a car that you have never driven before, and drive hundreds of miles a day to see the Grand Canyon, the Yosemite, the Hoover Dam,….
Accidents are a real risk, and can ruin your trip, especially when you are thousands of miles away from home in unfamiliar territory. Rental car agencies understand the fear, and sell product that insures you against rental car accidents. Added together, these insurance products can be more costly than the cost of renting the car itself.
One of the most popular insurance products for rental cars is collision damage waiver, a policy that releases you from the liability for any damage taken on the car during the rental period. This service usually costs around $15 plus tax a day. It’s really not a bad idea to pay $15 a day for the peace of mind. But if you travel a lot, it adds up quickly.
Have you ever bought something from a website or a store and realized a month later that the exact same thing was being sold elsewhere for much cheaper? That TV you had bought from Best Buy the week before for $600 was selling for $500 on Newegg? In my college days, I hated it every time it happened.
And then I got a credit card, and I’ve never had to feel that way again.
So it’s Halloween, and a cunning elf breaks into your house and steals your Xbox One for his early Christmas gift. You are angry because you just bought it for yourself 3 days ago as your main entertainment through the end of the year. What do you do?
Well, you’d better have used your credit card to buy the Xbox One, because then you’d benefit from purchase protection.
In this time and age, e-commerce is gradually replacing physical store transaction as the preferred method of shopping. And with this comes the variety of online stores that sell everything under the sun. While reputable sites such as Amazon and Newegg have standard policies regarding product quality and warranty, others are not generous or clear about their policies. Do you trust the store enough to buy from them? What if you pay the money and they never ship the goods? What if you pay for one thing and they ship another? What if the goods come in broken?
Luckily, credit cards provide you with insurance against the undesirable situations.
I decided to make extended warranty the 2nd reason to use a credit card since this is the most applicable and most often overlooked benefit of credit cards.
Every single credit card known to me, and I know hundreds of them, offers free extended warranty on purchases.
Update: the recent Home Depot security breach kicked the importance of this up one notch.
Many young folks, especially those that haven’t been in the US that long, conflate debit cards with credit cards. Debit cards have almost nothing in common with credit cards despite their similar physical appearances.