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2024 Complete Guide to American Express Travel Insurance

  • American Express offers two main forms of travel insurance: complimentary benefits for cardholders and standalone travel insurance policies.
  • Complimentary travel insurance benefits for eligible cardholders include coverage for trip cancellations and interruptions, car rental loss and damage, baggage insurance and more.
  • The top cards that offer Amex travel insurance are the Platinum Card? from American Express, the American Express? Gold Card, and the Blue Cash Preferred? Card.
  • You can also purchase standalone travel insurance from Amex with any major credit card. There are four types of policies: basic, silver, gold and platinum.
  • Depending on the type of coverage you select, you may be eligible for medical protection, travel accident protection, baggage protection and reimbursement for trip cancellation.
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR) insurance is not included, and medical coverage tends to be low unless you purchase a premium package. If you need additional coverage, you can compare quotes from other travel insurance providers.

American Express offers a variety of travel-related benefits. If you have an Amex card, you may already have access to numerous travel perks, such as trip cancellation and baggage insurance. You can also purchase standalone coverage from Amex for more comprehensive protection.

We created this guide to help you determine if you should rely on free travel insurance from American Express or purchase a standalone insurance policy before your next business or leisure trip.

We’ll cover:

Advertiser Disclosure

The Platinum Card? from American Express

The Platinum Card? from American Express
LEARN MORE Rates & Fees / Terms Apply on Bankrate's secure site
Key Information
Earn 5X Membership Rewards? points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and 1X points on other eligible purchases. $695 annual fee.
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The Business Platinum Card? from American Express

The Business Platinum Card? from American Express
LEARN MORE Rates & Fees / Terms Apply on Bankrate's secure site
Key Information
Earn 5X Membership Rewards? points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels through American Express Travel, 1.5 points per dollar on eligible business expenses and purchases of $5,000+ (up to $2 million yearly), and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases. $695 annual fee.
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American Express? Gold Card

American Express? Gold Card
LEARN MORE Rates & Fees / Terms Apply on Bankrate's secure site
Key Information
Earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on other eligible purchases. $250 annual fee.
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How does American Express travel insurance work?

American Express offers two forms of travel insurance:

While the complimentary Amex travel insurance perks may be enough for your trip, you should consider purchasing a standalone policy if you want more comprehensive coverage that includes medical insurance.

If you’re not an American Express cardholder, you can purchase one of four standalone travel insurance packages using any major credit card.

All four standalone travel insurance packages include:

The high-end packages also include travel accident protection and coverage for global trip delays.

Complimentary Amex travel insurance

Many American Express credit card comes with six types of complimentary travel insurance:

Let’s dive more into each of these types of travel insurance and what they cover.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

American Express offers 13 credit cards with complimentary trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance.

If you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason, American Express will reimburse you for any nonrefundable expenses paid to an airline, hotel or other travel supplier using your Amex card.

Here’s how it works. Imagine you used your American Express Platinum Card to book a $10,000 vacation to the Bahamas. Included in the $10,000 total was a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit. If you have to cancel your trip due to a medical condition, American Express will reimburse you $9,000 — the original cost of your trip, less the $1,000 nonrefundable deposit.

If your trip is interrupted for a covered reason, American Express will reimburse you for:

The following are considered American Express covered reasons:

The trip coverage does have some limitations, including:

1

It doesn’t cover cancellations or interruptions caused by a pre-existing condition.

This is an illness or injury that began in the 60 days prior to your purchase of a covered trip. That means if you purchased your trip to the Bahamas on April 1, you wouldn’t be eligible for reimbursement if you had to cancel due to a medical condition that developed between January 31 and April 1.

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2

Additional transportation expenses can’t cost more than an economy-class airline ticket by the most direct route.

Amex won’t cover business class tickets for you to return home or join your common carrier. In travel lingo, a common carrier is a transportation provider that offers its services to the general public.

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3

Additional expenses to purchase new tickets can’t exceed the difference between your original fare and the economy fare for your rescheduled trip.

American Express checks the most direct route to determine how much to refund. For example, if your original ticket cost $500 and an economy ticket for your new departure date costs $750, you’ll receive the $250 difference. Amex doesn’t refund the entire ticket price.

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4

Amex travel insurance only covers $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per eligible credit card per 12-month period.

This applies to trip cancellations and trip interruptions.

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5

American Express won’t refund any expenses covered by other travel suppliers.

This includes refunds, vouchers, credits, goodwill payments or other benefits provided by airlines, cruise lines, tour companies and other travel providers. For example, if you have to miss a theater performance due to a trip interruption, American Express won’t cover the cost of the tickets if the theater gives you a full refund.

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Trip delay insurance

American Express offers 20 cards with free trip delay insurance, from the Amex Platinum Card to the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card.

This type of travel insurance covers trip delays due to:

For example, if your flight is canceled due to a mechanical problem with the aircraft, you may be eligible for reimbursement under trip delay insurance.

Car rental loss and damage insurance

American Express has more than 50 cards with complimentary car rental loss and damage insurance. This type of insurance covers vehicle damage or theft of a vehicle from a covered territory.

If your rental car is damaged, Amex will pay the lowest amount of the following:

For example, if the rental company purchased your vehicle for $25,000, the vehicle is worth $18,500 today and it will cost $7,500 to repair the vehicle, your insurance will pay $7,500 since it’s the lowest amount.

To activate this type of insurance, you must reserve and pay for your rental with an eligible Amex credit card, such as the Platinum Card or Cash Magnet Card.

You must also decline these optional coverages at the car rental counter:

Finally, you must sign the rental agreement as the person responsible for taking control of the vehicle. Therefore, you can’t use your rental loss and damage insurance on a vehicle rented by your spouse, parent, child, sibling or friend, even if you have a Platinum card or other eligible credit card.

Baggage insurance

American Express has more than 40 cards with baggage insurance benefits, including the Amex Gold Card and the American Express Executive Business Card.

Amex covers lost and damaged bags under the following circumstances:

Amex has different coverage limits for high-risk items, such as sporting equipment and jewelry, so make sure you understand what’s covered before you pack your bags.

Premium Global Assist

If you have an American Express Card with Premium Global Assist, you’ll have access to a variety of travel assistance services any time you travel more than 100 miles from home.

These Premium Global Assist services include:

The Premium Global Assistant service also helps with pre-trip research and planning. With this service, you can get information about customs requirements, foreign exchange rates, vaccination requirements, local weather, travel warnings and visa requirements.

Global Assist

Global Assist provides many of the same benefits as the Premium Global Assist coverage included with the Platinum card and other high-end Amex cards. The main difference is that Premium Global Assist provides better coverage for medical emergencies.

For example, Global Assist will not cover the cost of returning your minor child to their principal residence if you’re unable to continue traveling with them due to a covered illness or injury. If you have a Platinum Card with Premium Global Assist, you may get this protection.

Our picks for American Express cards with travel insurance

Advertiser Disclosure

Best Overall for Travel Insurance

The Platinum Card? from American Express

LEARN MORE
Up to 5X Reward Rate

Earn 5X Membership Rewards? points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and 1X points on other eligible purchases.

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Annual Fee
$695
Welcome Offer
80,000 points
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The American Express Platinum card, although a bit on the pricey side with a $695 annual fee, boasts a multitude of premium travel perks. If you’re a luxury traveler who knows how to make the most of a credit card’s offerings, this card can reward you well.
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Card Details

Travel Insurance Details

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: $10,000 per covered trip or up to $20,000 in a 12-month period
  • Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays over 6 hours
  • Car rental: Secondary
  • Lost/damaged baggage coverage: Up to $2,000 per person for checked bags and $3,000 per person for carry-ons (up to $3,000 per person total)
  • Global Assist: Yes, Premium

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/?benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Pros
  • Excellent rewards rate for travel purchases
  • Qualify for $1,500+ in statement credits
  • Very generous welcome offer
Cons
  • High annual fee of $695
  • Many statement credit offers are too specific and hard to use
  • Non-travel-perks aren’t spectacular
Bottom Line

This is quite a spectacular card with incredibly valuable benefits, but the annual fee is objectively very high.

Best for Businesses

The Business Platinum Card? from American Express

LEARN MORE
Up to 5X Reward Rate

Earn 5 Membership Rewards? points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels through American Express Travel, 1.5 points per dollar on eligible business expenses and purchases of $5,000+ (up to $2 million yearly), and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

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Annual Fee
$695
Welcome Offer
150,000 points
Regular APR
19.49% to 28.49% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The Business Platinum Card? from American Express is a top-tier credit card for business owners looking to earn travel rewards on their business expenses. Although it boasts a hefty $695 annual fee, its rewards make up for it if used to their full extent.
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Card Details

Travel Insurance Details

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: $10,000 per covered trip or up to $20,000 in a 12-month period
  • Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays over 6 hours
  • Car rental: Secondary
  • Lost/damaged baggage coverage: Up to $2,000 per person for checked bags and $3,000 per person for carry-ons (up to $3,000 per person total)
  • Global Assist: Premium

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/?benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Pros
  • Excellent welcome offer
  • Easy to earn points
  • Great travel benefits
Cons
  • No intro APR offer
  • Hefty $695 annual fee
  • High spending requirement for welcome offer
Bottom Line

The annual fee certainly has a shock factor but for the premium business traveler, this card’s luxury perks could make it well worth it.

Best for Basic Coverage

American Express? Gold Card

LEARN MORE
Up to 4X Reward Rate

Earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on other eligible purchases.

Show More Show Less
Annual Fee
$250
Welcome Offer
60,000 points
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The American Express? Gold Card is perfect for travelers who spend a lot of money on dining out. It offers high rewards for eligible purchases, a substantial welcome offer, and an annual fee that can be easily offset by utilizing the card’s benefits.
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Card Details

Travel Insurance Details

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: N/A
  • Trip delay: Up to $300 per trip for delays over 12 hours
  • Car rental: Secondary
  • Lost/damaged baggage coverage: Up to $500 per person for checked bags and $1,250 per person for carry-ons (up to $$1,250 per person total)
  • Global Assist: Yes

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/?benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Pros
  • Generous welcome offer
  • High rewards potential
  • Many transfer partners available
Cons
  • High annual fee
  • Complicated statement credits
  • Good or excellent credit recommended
Bottom Line

If you like to dine out frequently, the $200+ worth of dining-related annual statement credits can easily help justify the yearly fee.

Standalone American Express travel insurance plans

You don’t need to have a Platinum Card or another high-end American Express Card to get travel insurance. All you have to do is purchase a standalone plan with any major credit card.

The company offers four standalone insurance plans: Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Basic travel insurance plan

The basic plan is a good option if you want cheap travel insurance. While it includes various types of coverage, these levels tend to be low.

Basic plan benefits:

Silver travel insurance plan

With the silver plan, most coverage levels are much higher than with the basic plan. For example, trip cancellation will cover up to 100% of the total trip cost instead of up to just $1,000.

However, medical coverage is still low compared to most travel insurance plans at just $25,000.

Silver plan benefits:

Gold travel insurance plan

The gold plan is very similar to the silver plan. The main differences are the increases in medical evacuation limits, accident protection and baggage loss.

Gold plan benefits:

Platinum travel insurance plan

This is the most comprehensive plan. It covers up to $100,000 for medical expenses, which is similar to other insurance providers. However, it still does not include cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage.

Platinum plan benefits:

Should I use the complimentary benefits or purchase a standalone policy?

For most people, the complimentary benefits available with the Platinum Card and other types of American Express travel credit cards are more than adequate.

However, the company doesn’t offer medical coverage with any of its free insurance benefits. If you have a chronic health condition, consider purchasing a standalone policy from Amex or another insurance provider.

You should also consider a standalone policy if you’re concerned about getting into an accident during your trip, as the free insurance options don’t include any kind of travel accident coverage.

Note: Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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How to file an Amex travel insurance claim

If you need to file a travel insurance claim, you must contact your benefits administrator.

Here’s what to do for each type of claim:

Amex travel insurance FAQs

Is American Express travel insurance worth it?

If you already have an American Express Card with complimentary travel insurance benefits, these perks are absolutely worth it since you pay nothing extra to access several types of insurance coverage.

Paying for a standalone Amex travel insurance plan may be worth it if you’re going on a long trip or a trip with multiple stops. These trips are more complex, so it’s more likely you’ll encounter a problem, making good insurance coverage essential.

However, Amex travel insurance is lacking when it comes to medical coverage and cancel for any reason (CFAR) insurance. For more comprehensive travel insurance that includes the types of protection, we recommend comparing travel insurance policies from other providers to find one that suits your needs.

Do I get travel insurance with my American Express card?

Each Amex credit card comes with some type of travel insurance. The amount of coverage depends on the type of credit card you have.

Do all American Express cards offer travel insurance?

Every Amex credit card comes with rental car loss and damage insurance. You may qualify for additional insurance benefits if you have the Platinum American Express Card or another high-end credit card from American Express.

In addition to travel insurance, some Amex credit cards come with additional travel benefits, such as airline credits or a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership.

Do I have to have an American Express credit card to get American Express travel insurance?

No. You can purchase an Amex travel insurance policy with any major credit card, including Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Does American Express travel insurance cover COVID?

It depends on the circumstances. If you choose to travel after the government issues COVID-related travel restrictions, your travel insurance won’t cover any medical or quarantine costs related to COVID-19.

If you qualify for Amex insurance, it may cover the following:

  • Your destination has new travel restrictions that were imposed after you’d already booked your trip.
  • Your flight is canceled due to COVID-19.
  • You develop a COVID-19 infection and can’t travel.
  • Your origin country advises against nonessential travel after you’ve already booked your trip.

Does American Express travel insurance cover pre-existing conditions?

No, this type of travel insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. These are medical conditions that develop within 60 days prior to booking your trip.

Leigh Morgan
Leigh Morgan Personal Finance

Leigh Morgan is a seasoned personal finance contributor with over 15 years of experience writing on a diverse range of professional legal and financial topics. She specializes in subjects like navigating the complexities of insurance, savings, zero-based budgeting and emergency fund development.

In the last five years, she’s authored over 300 articles for credit unions, digital banks, and financial professionals. Morgan is also the author of “77 Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” a book focused on helping caregivers protect the elderly from financial scams.

In addition to her writing skills, she brings real-world financial acumen thanks to her previous experience managing rental properties as part of a $34 million real estate portfolio.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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