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The best credit cards for travel insurance

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 account 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’s a breakdown of the types of credit card travel insurance we cover in this post.

Type of Credit Card InsuranceWhat Does It Cover?
Travel medical insuranceHealthcare costs in the event you (the cardholder), your spouse or dependents suffer an injury or illness while abroad that requires professional medical attention.
Travel accident insuranceSerious bodily harm incurred on a common carrier, such as a flight or train (i.e. medical costs associated with permanent hearing loss experienced while on an airplane).
Trip interruption insuranceReimbursements of purchases made during travel in emergency cases (i.e. if a connecting flight is cancelled due to a natural disaster and you require to book return flights, some or all of this cost may be reimbursed).
Flight delay insuranceCovers purchases that must be made during travel due to short-term flight delays (i.e. if a connecting flight is cancelled due to poor weather and you require a place to stay, some or all of your accommodations may be reimbursed).
Lost baggageThe loss of your luggage by a carrier, such as an airline or cruise line. Coverage is often capped and will not apply to all items.
Delayed baggageIn the event your checked-in baggage does not arrive on schedule, you may be reimbursed some or all of the cost of essential items you purchase in the meantime.

Here are eight of the best travel credit cards that include comprehensive insurance:

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: $2,000 per person
  • Flight delay: $500 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

Card details

  • Annual fee: $150 (waived for the first year)
  • Earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 spent on travel, dining and entertainment purchases. 2 points for all other purchases
  • Earn 35,000 bonus points (value: $250) when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • VIP lounge access with the included Mastercard Airport Experiences membership, plus 4 complimentary passes per year
  • No blackout dates; points can be used to cover taxes/fees

Read more (+/-)

Scotiabank Gold American Express

  • Travel medical: up to $1 million for 25 consecutive days (3 days for age 65+)
  • Travel accident: $500,000
  • Trip interruption: $1,500 per person
  • Flight delay: $500 per person
  • 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

Card details

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Earn 5 points per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment
  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas, public transit, and streaming services
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Welcome Offer: 20,000 bonus points for new Scotiabank cardholders who spend at least $1,000 within the first three months

Read more (+/-)

Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

  • Travel medical: up to $1 million for 25 consecutive days (10 days for age 65+)
  • Travel accident: $500,000
  • Trip interruption: $2,500 per person, $10,000 per trip
  • Flight delay: $500 per person
  • 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

Card details

  • Annual fee: $139
  • Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points on every $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment purchases, and transit purchases
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • Welcome Offer: Get 30,000 bonus points ($300 value) with your first $1,000 in everyday purchases in the first 3 months
  • Includes Priority Pass airport lounge membership with 6 free visits per year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Read more (+/-)


Meridian Visa Infinite Cash Back Card

  • Travel medical: up to $5 million for 48 consecutive days (under age 60), 23 days (ages 60-64), 15 days (ages 65 to 75)
  • Travel accident: up to $1 million
  • Trip interruption and delay: $2,000 per person and unlimited coverage in the case of emergency returns after departure
  • Lost baggage: $1,000 per trip
  • Delayed baggage: $500 per trip (6+ hour delay)

Card details

  • Annual fee: $99 (waived for first year)
  • Earn 4% cash back on gas and groceries, 2% cash back on drug store purchases and recurring bill payments, and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Emergency travel and mobile device insurance

Read more (+/-)


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

Card details

  • Annual fee: $150
  • Earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend up to $40,000 annually, two points for every dollar you spend up to $80,000, and 1.5 points if you spend beyond $80,000

Read more (+/-)


Scotiabank American Express

  • Travel medical: up to $1 million for 8 consecutive days (3 days for age 65+)
  • Travel accident: $250,000
  • Trip interruption: $2,500 per person, $10,000 per trip
  • Lost baggage: None
  • Delayed baggage: None
  • 75% of trip expenses must be charged to the card for insurance coverage

Card details

  • No annual fee
  • Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point per dollar on all purchases
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points with your first $500 in purchases in first 3 months (offer applies to new accounts opened by February 28, 2019
  • Redeem for travel, merchandise, gift cards, or statement credit

Read more (+/-)


RBC Visa Infinite Avion

  • Travel medical: Unlimited for 15 consecutive days (3 days for age 65+)
  • Travel accident: $500,000
  • Trip interruption: $5,000 per person, $25,000 per trip
  • Lost baggage: $500 per person up to a maximum of $2,500
  • Delayed baggage: $500 per person (4 hours)
  • 75% of trip expenses must be charged to the card for insurance coverage

Read more (+/-)

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