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Credit cards and travel insurance

Why should I consider travel insurance if I already have a credit card? Here are the questions to ask.

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Credit cards can come in handy during your travels, whether you’re short on Indian rupees or Russian rubles. But should you rely on your credit cards for travel insurance? The answer often depends on who you ask, with some nomads feeling comfortable with coverage provided by their card, and others wishing they’d invested in full coverage from a travel insurance company such as World Nomads. Here, we break down the intel.

How to evaluate credit card coverage

When you use a credit card to pay for a flight, you may receive some level of travel insurance through the card issuer. Because each credit card company has a different policy, it can be like comparing apples to mangosteens. Make sure to dig into the legalese and figure what protections you actually have. Here are some questions to ask your card issuer:

Do you need to pay for the entire trip on your card to be covered by the issuer's insurance? Let’s say you book your flights to Ulaanbaatar on one card but pay in cash for your horseback ride across the Mongolian steppe once you’re there... and then sprain your ankle. Since you didn’t use your credit card for that particular adventure, you may not be covered for medical costs. Another note: frequent flier miles may not count towards a purchase on your credit card.

Are there limits to your trip length? Sometimes, when you read the teensy fine print in a credit card policy, you might find out only shorter sojourns are covered like, less than a month. If you’re spending the whole summer in Italy, it may be worth considering travel insurance.

Is my family covered? If you’re bringing your whole brood, credit cards may not cover them, since they weren’t the ones plunking down their plastic for the journey. Travel insurance companies, such as World Nomads, on the other hand, offer plans that may include you, your partner, and a certain number of dependents.

Are emergency medical and evacuation covered? Maybe you land in Spain but get food poisoning after a round of tapas. Or slip on a muddy step in Machu Picchu, knock your noggin, and need to be air-lifted to a hospital. ‘Yikes’ moments like these can happen, and when they do, credit card insurance alone may not foot the bill. Some issuers can exclude medical evacuation altogether, so you’ll want to carefully study the travel benefits provided by your credit card and the limits.

Nomads tips

  • Travelers, take note: some credit card travel protections only apply to domestic trips, not far-flung adventures.
  • Read your credit card policy, then read it again. Coverage can vary from card to card. For example, some cover medical expenses up to $2,500 when traveling more than 100 miles from home, and some don't cover medical expenses at all.

Should I consider additional travel insurance if I have coverage under my credit card?

Even James Bond sometimes calls for backup. Longtime travelers know that anything and everything can happen when you’re on the road, and travel insurance can bring much-needed confidence when you’re exploring the world on your own. Here are just a few of the many ways that World Nomads travel insurance can help if there are gaps in your credit card coverage.

Your entire family can sign up for the plan. World Nomads offers family plans that cover two adults and up to nine dependents, depending on your country of residence.

Our plans may be used for long-term trips. Globetrotting for as long as you can? World Nomads has a maximum coverage of six months for U.S. plans, and 12 months in other regions, including an option to extend the coverage or buy a new policy if the original one has expired, depending on your country of residence. (Hey, sometimes you just don’t want to get on that return flight.)

Adventure activities are supported. Unlike some credit card policies, World Nomads knows you travel to live large and may want protection for it. Coverage for many adventure activities is included (an additional premium may apply), so go ahead and book that guided hike through Greece's gorgeous Samaria Gorge. Note that participation in extreme sports, such as BASE jumping, are not covered, so proceed with those at your own risk.

Our plans include emergency medical benefits. World Nomads policies may be able to help with everything from emergency evacuation to a hospital back in your home country (if medically necessary) to ambulance services, up to the maximum benefit specified in your policy. World Nomads is ready to assist policyholders 24/7 with our Emergency Assistance Team.

This is only a summary of coverage and does not include the full terms and conditions of the policy. You should read your policy wording in full so you understand what is and isn’t covered. That way there won’t be any surprises if you need to use it. If you have any questions, customer service is here to help.

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you*

Trip Cancellation

Been working hard for your trip?

We'll work hard to protect it.

Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalized?
  • Got into an accident?
  • Travel companion sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Expenses

Feeling fit and healthy? What if you get sick or injured?

Take the pain out of medical or dental costs.

Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?
  • Need medication?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Transportation

Know where the nearest hospital is?

Don’t stress, we’ll get you there quickly.

Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Hurt abroad?
  • Need to get to a hospital urgently?
  • Medevac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Love photography, filming or sport?

Cover your bags, tech or gear.

Protect your gear
  • Passport stolen?
  • Luggage lost?
  • Tech trashed?

Help starts here.

  • Emergency Overseas Medical & Dental Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption
  • 24-Hour Assistance Services
  • Baggage
  • And more (depending on your country of residence)
*This is a general summary only. Restrictions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Coverage may not be available for all countries, states or provinces. Benefit limits may vary depending on the plan chosen. Get a quote for full details.

24/7 emergency assistance

Whether you need medical assistance or emergency evacuation, our teams are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year before and during your trip.

Are you in need of emergency assistance right now?

Contact the team
Wherever you are, we’re here 24/7 to help you in any emergency.
Aurelie's portrait photo
Aurelie Menard,
Emergency Assistance, World Nomads

Travel insurance. Simple & flexible.

Travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. So be prepared and get your travel insurance today.

World Nomads Travel Insurance was reviewed on Trust Pilot on 1st August 2017 and rated 4 stars