Canadians are lucky to have publicly funded health care, but did you know if you travel outside of Canada that your provincial health plan doesn’t follow you? The cost of medical attention can be quite high in some countries. Think hundreds of dollars for a quick trip to the doctor, or thousands if you need to visit the emergency room. Fortunately, as long as you have travel insurance, you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket.
Usually when people speak about travel insurance they’re referring to travel medical, which covers you in situations where medical care is required abroad. However, other types of travel insurance you may need include travel accident, trip cancellation and interruption, delayed baggage, and lost baggage. It may seem excessive to have that much insurance when travelling, but trust us, you’ll be glad you have it if you ever need it.
The good news is that many premium credit cards offer a comprehensive travel insurance package as a standard benefit. To qualify for coverage, your accounts needs to be in good standing and a portion or the entire cost of the transportation ticket must be paid for using the credit card.
Here are four of the best travel credit cards that include comprehensive insurance:
Scotiabank Gold American Express
- Travel medical: up to $1 million for 25 consecutive days (10 days for age 65+)
- Travel accident: up to $1 million
- Trip interruption and delay: $2,500 per person, $10,000 per trip
- Lost baggage: $1,000 per trip
- Delayed baggage: $1,000 per trip (4+ hour delay)
- 75% of trip expenses must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
The travel insurance included with the Scotiabank Gold American Express is mostly positive, but the $1 million travel medical insurance is considered low compared to other cards. On the positive side, 25 days is the longest coverage you’ll get. Ten days of coverage for those over the age of 65 is more than double than what some of the other cards offer. Your insurance also includes hotel burglary insurance up to $1,000 per person. See full insurance details here.
BMO World Elite MasterCard
- Travel medical: up to $2 million for 21 consecutive days (under the age of 65)
- Travel accident: up to $500,000
- Trip interruption and delay: $2,000 per person
- Lost baggage: $750 per person, $2,000 per trip
- Delayed baggage: $200 per person (12+ hour delay)
- The full cost of transportation must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
At first glance, it’s disappointing that the BMO World Elite MasterCard offers no included insurance for people 65 or older, but the optional insurance is actually quite good. For an annual fee of $249, those aged 65-69 get 31 days of medical protection while those aged 70-74 will have to pay $349. Despite the fact that you get $200 per person in delayed luggage insurance, there must be a 12+ hour delay before you can make a claim which is much longer than many other insurance policies. See full insurance details here.
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
- Travel medical: up to $1 million for 15 consecutive days (4 days for age 65+)
- Travel accident: up to $2 million
- Trip interruption and delay: $5,000 per person, $25,000 per trip
- Lost baggage: $1,000 per person
- Delayed baggage: $1,000 per person (6+ hour delay)
- The full cost of travel expenses must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
Although the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite offers the fewest days of travel insurance, it does have one of the highest amounts offered for trip interruption and delay. The flight delay insurance gives you $500 per person after a four-hour delay while delayed baggage gets you $1,000 per person after a six-hour delay. If you’re renting a car, there’s no need to add insurance since $65,000 of car rental insurance is included as a benefit of this card. See full insurance details here.
National Bank World Elite MasterCard
- Travel medical: up to $5 million for up to 60 consecutive days (under age 55), 31 days (age 55-65), or 15 days (age 65-75)
- No travel accident insurance offered
- Trip interruption and delay: $5,000 per person
- Lost baggage: $1,000 per person
- Delayed baggage: $500 per person (6+ hour delay)
- A portion or entire cost of the trip must be charged to the card for insurance coverage
This card’s trip interruption and delay, lost baggage, and delayed baggage coverage is on par with the other cards listed here, but the National Bank World Elite MasterCard stands out for its medical coverage. It has the highest benefit amount (up to $5 million) and longest coverage period for travel medical for all ages, including 15 days of coverage for people age 65-75. However, it doesn’t offer any travel accident coverage — this means you aren’t protected if you sustain bodily injury while occupying a common carrier, or while at the airport, terminal or station at the beginning/end of your trip. See full insurance details here.
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