You never know what’s going to happen when you travel. There could be an emergency or you could be hit with an unexpected delay. Obviously, your hope is that your trip goes off without a hitch, but it’s also good to be prepared if one of those unexpected situations occurs.
Consumers have all kinds of protections available to help protect them from issues while they travel. EMV credit card chip technology has become standard even in the United States, which makes it much more difficult and expensive for criminals to create a copy of your card. Lost baggage insurance protects you if your airline loses your belongings. Trip insurance reimburses you if you aren’t able to go on your trip.
While you may use a travel rewards credit card to get the most points during your trip, these cards usually also offer excellent travel protection. Here are two of the top cards on the market when it comes to protecting you during your trips:
Citi Prestige Card: Better the More You Spend
The Citi Prestige Card is an excellent option when it comes to earning travel rewards. When you use the card to purchase airline tickets or hotel stays, you earn 3 points for every dollar you spend. On purchases in dining or entertainment, you earn 2 points per dollar spent, and all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. If you spend $4,000 using the card within the first three months, you’ll earn bonus of 40,000 points.
You can redeem points for cashback, gift cards, merchandise and more, but the smart move is to redeem your points for travel rewards. You’ll get the most value out of each point when you point it towards flights or hotel stays.
What about the card’s travel protections? They are quite extensive, starting with travel and emergency assistance. Citi can help you solve travel issues and make arrangements for you in case of an emergency. You’ll have worldwide travel accident insurance and lost baggage protection with a coverage per person of up to $3,000 each trip if your baggage ends up lost, stolen or damaged.
If you have any expenses because of an unplanned delay, your trip delay protection will cover you on that. This card does have a steep annual fee of $450, but there’s an annual airline credit of $250. You won’t pay any foreign transaction fees using this card, and it allows you to access some elite travel benefits.
Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express Card: Excellent Protection for Wells Fargo Customers
This card doesn’t quite have the points bonuses of the Citi Prestige, although in all fairness, it’s also much less expensive. With the Wells Fargo Propel, you earn 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations in the United States. Purchases in restaurants in the United States earn 2 points per dollar spent, and all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.
The signup bonus is 20,000 points for spending $3,000 within the first three months. Redemption options are the same, except you’ll be going through American Express’s Member Rewards program, which has quite a few transfer partners available to you.
The card has auto rental collision and liability insurance, so if you rent a vehicle in the United States or Canada, you’re covered in the event of damage or a total loss. If your luggage is lost, your card issuer will reimburse you for any essential items you need to purchase. You’ll have travel accident insurance and a 24/7 hotline you can call for assistance with any travel emergencies.
You can also call a concierge line 24/7 for travel assistance, including booking trips, interpreting and finding attractions. This card has a $45 annual fee that the card issuer waives the first year, and it offers no foreign transaction fees. For any of your points that didn’t earn a bonus, meaning you earned 1 point per dollar spent and not 2 or 3, Wells Fargo offers a points bonus which can be 10, 25 or 50 percent.
If you’re looking for your next travel card, both of these cards are excellent options in a crowded credit card marketplace.
Credit cards come with a ton of different perks designed to sweeten the deal to potential applicants. Anyone who is looking to acquire a new credit card has hundreds upon hundreds of different offers to choose from. Credit card companies add a little marketing to their deals. Bonus protections are among the special things offered to applicants. Sometimes, so many different protections are presented with one card that the applicant forgets he or she even has them.
“Baggage delay protection” surely falls under the category of credit card perks capable of slipping people’s minds. After all, how often does an airline make a mistake and delay the delivery of a passenger’s bags? Well, the problem does happen now and then. Why not have the protections in place in order to access some money saving benefits when baggage ends up misplaced, delayed, or otherwise not delivered where it should be and when it should be?
More Than Inconvenient
The delay of a bag by 16 hours can be a lot more than inconvenient depending upon the itinerary of someone’s trip. A person who flies into a major city’s airport for a weekend fishing trip may arrive at 10 PM. The traveler needs to get on a train to go to the fishing spot that is five hours away and do so immediately.
What happens if all the traveler’s fishing gear is in the delayed luggage? The person is stuck buying a lot of expensive gear for the weekend, gear he/she really doesn’t need. Baggage delay protection could definitely help out in this situation.
A Form of Insurance
Baggage delay protection is more than just a perk. This is a type of insurance that a cardholder can use to file a claim. If the card offers “up to $500 in protection”, someone who is stuck paying $295 out of pocket due to a baggage delay may be able to get a full reimbursement from the credit card company.
Terms and Conditions
No, baggage delay protection is not going to come with a blanket payment for any and all lost items. Each individual credit card issuer is going to present certain terms and conditions that must be met prior to a payout. There may be a time requirement prior to being able to file a baggage protection claim. For example, the bags may need to be delayed for a minimum or 12 hours or more before the claim can be filed.
Also, the maximum amount may be further limited by daily distributions. A minimum of $75 per day to a maximum of $300 is possible. And then there may be a clause for essential items. This clause means certain obvious essentials such as toiletries and clothes may be covered, but items such as fishing gear would need pre-authorization.
Getting pre-authorization means the purchase could be approved or denied. Gaining an approval or denial at 3 AM on Saturday morning is not going to be likely either. The pre-authorizations may need to be done during normal business hours.
Baggage delay protection is definitely nice, but no one said that it was perfect. Maybe certain credit companies are more perfect than others.
Shopping Around for Baggage Protection Insurance
One credit card company may be a lot more generous with baggage protection policies than others. Instead of 12 hours as the minimum threshold for a delay, the minimum may be reduced to six hours. The total amount of money on the reimbursement might be a lot higher as well.
Travelers who want the best possible protections in place really do need to compare the perks and protections presented with numerous different cards. This way, the right selection on the best card can be made. Reading reviews and checking out websites the highlight the perks of particular cards would be good moves.
Don’t Forget The Airline
Due to federal regulations, airlines are prompted to reimburse travelers baggage check fees when delays occur. Internal customer service policies may require the issuance of a small amount of money for delays on baggage. The payouts may not be a lot, but they help. It might not hurt to write the corporate headquarters of the airline if losses exceed the amount paid. Maybe the airline will pay more money to cover the expenses.
With all the rewards travel credit cards on the market, using frequent flyer miles to book airline tickets is more popular than ever, and for good reason. By using miles to purchase tickets, you’re getting a return on your spending. And if you know how to maximize your credit card rewards and shop around for the best award tickets, you can get some excellent deals.
One common concern when booking award tickets is whether you can get trip insurance that covers your flight if you don’t pay for a ticket in cash. Here’s what you need to know when you book a ticket with your rewards:
General Trip Insurance Probably Won’t Help
With general trip insurance, the provider most likely won’t cover you for your award flight. The reason is that a trip insurance policy covers you for your out-of-pocket expenses and doesn’t go off how much the flight retails for. Since you’re paying for your flight with rewards, you’re technically paying $0 for it, so your insurance provider isn’t going to cover you for a higher dollar amount than what you paid.
This was true with all the top general travel insurance providers, which all had policies that provide reimbursement for trip costs on prepaid, non-refundable payments. Tickets booked with travel rewards don’t qualify.
Since you still pay taxes on award tickets, you may be able to get a refund on those, although this will depend on the airline you booked the ticket through and if you canceled the flight early enough. Your other travel insurance coverages will still apply on flights booked with rewards, so if you have a medical emergency, lost or stolen baggage, delayed bagged, a delayed flight or a missed connection, you can use your travel insurance for that.
Getting a Refund on Your Miles
You have the option of getting your frequent flyer mile back in your account, but airlines charge you a fee to do this. The fee varies for each airline and may depend on your status with that airline. The average fee amount was just under $120, as of 2014.
As far as mile-refund fees go, Airtran charges $150 and Alaska Airlines charges $75 for online reservations and $100 for phone reservations. American Airlines charges $150, but if you need any additional tickets under the same account refunded, its $25 each. Delta charges $150 and you must cancel at least 72 hours before your flight’s departure time.
Frontier charges $75, JetBlue charges $50 to $100 and Hawaiian charges $30 to $150. Southwest doesn’t charge you anything. United charges $200, although if you have status with them you’ll only pay $125 or less. US Airways charges $150 and Virgin America charges $100.
Purchasing Insurance on Your Travel Rewards
If you’re going to book a flight using your travel rewards, one option to protect yourself is obtaining award flight trip insurance. This insurance coverage will pay for your refund fee if you need to cancel your flight and get your miles refunded.
Make sure you check with the travel insurance provider to see which airlines it covers and the coverage amount. For example, if you purchase travel insurance through Allianz, you can add award insurance for between $13 and $17. This covers you for refund fees of up to $200 if you booked an award ticket on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United or US Airways. You’ll also have up to $500 in coverage for any trip interruptions.
You won’t be able to get travel insurance that reimburses you for the dollar amount of any tickets that you booked with travel rewards. It’s still smart to book award tickets, though, because you can get some big savings.
If you need to cancel an award ticket, it’s worth it to recover your miles since you could save hundreds of dollars by using them for another ticket. Ideally, you’ll have award flight trip insurance to cover your refund fees or be flying on Southwest where there is no refund fee. If not, it’s worth the money to pay the refund fee yourself so you can get your miles back.
If you have rented a car, then you may be wondering whether it is necessary to get rental car insurance. You have three rental car insurance options if you are traveling to Europe.
You should contact your car insurance company. Most carriers will not cover you if you are in Europe. However, you may be able to get coverage from your credit card company. This coverage is free. Call your credit card company and ask about the deals they have for European car rentals.
Keep in mind that if you get insurance from your credit card company, then it may not cover the cost of accident injuries. That is why you should check with your car insurance company and ask if you can get umbrella liability coverage for out-of-country travel.
If you opt to get rental insurance from your credit card company, then you will need to make sure that you are the listed driver. You will also need to use the same credit card to pay for the rental car. Some credit card companies will exclude luxury cars. If you are involved in an accident, then you may have to pay out-of-cost for the accident and wait to get reimbursed.
If you cannot get coverage through your credit card company, then you have other insurance options. You can get trip insurance. Not only will this insurance cover your car, but it will also cover trip interruption and trip cancellation. You can also find low car rental insurance rates through Insuremyrentalcar.com
Buy Insurance at the Rental car Counter
You may not want to get rental car insurance after traveling around the globe. It is typically the most expensive option. However, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you have adequate coverage. This is also a great option for people who are unsure about their credit card coverage.
You may also be uncomfortable using your credit card because the charges will end up on your statement. This means that you will have to temporarily have to foot the bill. You will have to wait a while in order to be reimbursed by the credit card company.
Insurance is an expensive option, but it is a necessity. You want to make sure that you do not have any issues if you are traveling in a foreign country. You can always buy your car rental insurance at the counter, but you can save money and time by buying it online or using your credit card.
It is likely that you will encounter robbery in a foreign country if you let your guard down. Such street crime is not organized skillfully but rather improvised depending on the situation in which you put yourself at a particular moment. Once you appear as a target by lazily swinging your handbag or pulling out your wallet in public, you will be robbed. Therefore, this post is meant to give you tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of robbery abroad.
1. Protecting yourself
It is important that you perform a little research on your vacation destination before embarking on the journey. Dig up information about potential robbery hotspots to avoid them when you reach your destination. Also, learn about the laws native to the country you’re visiting, customs and a bit of their language. The latter will enable you to ask for help from locals and the police in cases of distress.
Make sure to make copies of vital documents such as passports, travel reservations, visas and identification cards. Keep a copy with you and give another to a trusted person at home. To speed up the recovery of a stolen credit or debit card, photocopy the card clearly showing the emergency number. However, make sure to keep such vital information away from reach.
Try to blend in
Once you are abroad, try not to look like a foreigner. Observe the trends of the locals, how they walk, clutch their bags, handle their electronics and how they carry themselves along the streets. You should stay sharp to adapt to every changing environment to avoid standing out and becoming a target. For instance, find out how the locals handle their expensive goods when in public gatherings.
Always be alert
Crowded areas such as parks are potential areas in which you can get robbed. Therefore, stay aware of your surroundings. Excessive drinking will leave you vulnerable especially in an unfamiliar company. Consequently, turn down any drinks from strangers especially if you didn’t see it being poured. Pickpockets and thieves may approach you requesting for money or directions. Such acts are meant to distract you as their partners reach for your goods.
Expensive electronic equipment like cameras, phones, tablets or PCs should only be used if need be. If you would like to take a picture, have your camera strapped in place and tuck the straps in the jacket in a way they can’t be pulled over your head easily. Avoid using PC on cafes or roadside grab-and-go restaurants.
Never play the hero
If armed robbers approach you, it is critical that you comply with their needs to save your life. Rush decisions can put you in harm’s way. Seek help from the police afterward when you are no longer in danger.
2. What to do after a theft case
Contact the police
Make sure to contact the police imminently to file a report of the occurrence. The report helps identify your goods in case they are retrieved. Besides that, it is an important tool to help you claim insurance compensations. Document the specific details of the robbery such as the location, time, and the stolen goods.
Reach your embassy or consulate
This is a vital step particularly in the case of stolen or lost passports. The consulate will offer you with a new passport if your report holds up.
Contact your card providers
When your wallet gets stolen alongside with your debit/credit cards, contact your card provider to cancel them and to apply for new ones. Since the process of renewing a credit card can go for days, it is important that you always have an alternative access to money for your upkeep until you get the new cards. One way to access money is to contact a friend from home to send you some cash via money transfer methods.
File for insurance claims
To file an insurance claim, make sure you have all the receipts that can help estimate the value of money stolen from you. Such receipts include currency conversion receipts, medical bills, replaced items and other travel payments. The police report will also help you big time at this point.
If you’re going on a trip soon, it’s a good idea to consider purchasing a travel insurance policy. On inexpensive trips this isn’t as important, but for expensive reservations, it’s nice to have protection.
There are many different types of travel insurance available. Here’s what you need to know as you shop for plans.
Travel Insurance Policies
It’s common for policies to include coverage for cancellations, delays and interruptions of your trip. These are all self-explanatory: trip cancellation coverage applies for your expenses if your trip is canceled, either because of you or outside reasons. Trip interruption and delay coverage cover your costs for either of those occurrences.
Baggage coverage reimburses you if any of your bags or personal belongings end up damaged, lost or stolen. It could also cover you if your baggage gets delayed.
There are multiple medical coverage options available depending on the length of your trip. You can purchase coverage for emergency medical assistance, which will typically include medical evacuation to get you to a hospital and medical repatriation if you need to go home early for health-related reasons. If you’re going to be traveling for months, you should go with major medical insurance, which is like a health insurance plan that you can use abroad.
If you rent a car, you can get travel insurance to cover any damage to the vehicle.
There is also accidental death and dismemberment insurance. If you die in an accident while traveling, your policy will pay a set amount to the person you select as your beneficiary. If you suffer certain major injuries, such as losing a limb or your eyesight, the policy will pay a portion of that set amount to you.
Always Read the Contract
The most important thing to remember with any type of travel insurance is that you read your contract so you fully understand what your insurance does and doesn’t cover. Every policy will have its own exclusions and restrictions.
For example, if you have travel insurance that covers trip cancellation, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be covered for a canceled trip. Your provider may exclude trip cancellations for a pre-existing medical condition, or cancellations where you just decided not to take the trip.
With baggage coverage, your provider will cover you up to a certain amount, with $1,000 being a common coverage limit. If you have belongings worth more than that, you should look for a plan with more coverage.
Purchasing Travel Insurance
Figure out what coverage you need before you go shopping for travel insurance so you don’t miss anything. While you can get free quotes online directly from travel insurance providers, it’s better to go on a travel insurance comparison site which will show you plans from multiple providers. Options include InsureMyTrip and SquareMouth.
How much can you expect to pay for travel insurance? On average, you’re looking at about 4 to 8 percent of your trip’s total cost. Longer, more expensive trips will cost more, and of course, your price goes up the more coverage that you purchase. Your destination also plays a role. Visit an area with higher medical costs and you can expect to pay more for medical coverage.
Don’t Forget About Your Credit Cards
Before you buy any insurance, check what type of protection you already have through your credit card. Many credit cards already cover you for trip cancellations and rental car damage, as long as you use the credit card to book the flight or the car. You can’t get comprehensive coverage through a credit card, but it’s free.
Making Your Decision
Travel insurance isn’t necessary for all trips. You’ll need to think about the potential risks of your trip and how much they can cost you to decide if travel insurance is right for you. If you’re going to purchase a policy, check out a comparison site to make sure you get the best deal.