My credit card offers travel insurance; do I need more? Tips for the Road – The Plain Dealer

Q: I’m going to Italy in the fall. I¬†have a Chase Sapphire credit card that includes trip insurance. Are the Chase benefits comprehensive and sufficient, or do I need a separate travel protection plan? My tour company offers one for $529.

— Marcia K., Beachwood

A: Alas, as with most answers to complicated questions: It depends.

The percentage of U.S. travelers who opt to purchase optional insurance has grown substantially in the years since the turmoil caused by 9/11. Today, about one-third of U.S. travelers purchase some kind of insurance before they leave home, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.

Should you be one of them? Only you can answer that question.

It depends on your trip, how much of it is pre-paid, how much you’re willing to lose in the event something goes wrong, how old you are, who you’re leaving behind, etc.

But before you consider what to buy, you’re right to first investigate what kind of coverage you’re already paying for. As a general rule, most U.S. medical insurance plans will cover you for medical expenses accrued overseas (though you’ll want to make sure. Medicare is a significant exception to the rule, though most supplemental plans do cover travel).

In addition, credit cards and organizations like AAA also often offer coverage.

But is it enough? It’s probably worth spending a few minutes trying to answer that question.

Think about the problems you may run into (remembering that insurance is designed to cover the unforeseen).

Are you leaving behind older parents at home? (If so, make sure you’re familiar with any insurance policy’s pre-existing conditions clause.) Might lousy weather affect some part of your trip?

Several independent websites, including¬† and, allow travelers to input their individual details to determine any holes in coverage. They’re also a great place to comparison shop for the cheapest, best policy.

In looking over some of the basic benefits offered by the Chase Sapphire card (not knowing which version you have), one thing it doesn’t appear to cover: emergency medical evacuation insurance (to a hospital or back home).

This is a substantial benefit that most independent policies offer. In the event of a serious accident or severe illness, any of us would probably want to be flown back home for treatment.

Depending on your age, where you’re going and the price of your trip, insurance generally runs about 4-8 percent of the total cost. Keep in mind that “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage will add to the price.

One final point: Most travel experts advise that you NOT purchase insurance from your travel provider. Insurance purchased from an independent provider will likely be less expensive and is more likely to cover your expenses if your travel provider goes out of business.

Tips for the Road is a new question-and-answer column by Plain Dealer travel writer Susan Glaser. Questions can be emailed to or mailed to her at The Plain Dealer, 1660 West Second St., Suite 200, Cleveland, 44113. Please note that Christopher Elliott, who writes the weekly Travel Troubleshooter column in The Plain Dealer, is the best source for consumer-oriented problems with a travel provider.

My credit card offers travel insurance; do I need more? Tips for the Road – The Plain Dealer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *