Many travel-oriented credit cards carry some form of travel insurance. The terms of that kind insurance are often crammed into several pages of fine print and many cardholders never read them. That can be a mistake. If something happens while you’re on the road, that insurance can be very useful. Even when you’re planning a trip you may need to know what coverage you have and what you’ll need to buy.
American Express is known for offering high-end benefit packages with its travel-oriented cards and many of their cards offer extensive travel insurance packages. Recently, American Express made changes to its insurance packages taking effect on Jan 1, 2020. Some benefits have been added to some cards, including insurance coverage for trip cancellation, interruption and delay. Let’s look at what’s new!
What Is Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay Insurance?
Travel often requires substantial upfront expenses: tickets, hotel reservations and more. Travel insurance often includes coverage that protects you if your plans are changed by unexpected circumstances:
- Trip interruption insurance applies until the traveler leaves home to embark on the covered trip. Once you are on your way to the point of departure for the trip, trip interruption insurance applies.
- Trip cancellation insurance covers you against costs incurred if you have to stop a trip and return home for unexpected reasons.
- Trip delay insurance covers unexpected expenses caused by trip delays above a certain number of hours. Some potential causes of delay may not be covered.
Most travel insurance policies provided by credit card companies apply only to costs that were booked on the credit card that carries the policy. These policies are also often secondary in that they cover costs over and above what your other travel insurance policy covers if you have one.
Benefits and coverage offered by trip cancellation and interruption insurance may vary with the card you use and will be constrained by the issuer’s terms and limitations.
Which American Express Cards Offer Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance?
American Express introduced rip cancellation, trip interruption and trip delay insurance starting on Jan 1, 2020. This coverage was not previously offered by American Express. Not all American Express cards include this coverage.
These American Express cards include trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance.
|American Express Green Card||$150||Trip Delay|
|Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card||$250||Trip Delay|
|Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card||$250||Trip Delay|
|American Express Gold Card||$250||Trip Delay|
|American Express Business Gold Card||$295||Trip Delay|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card||$450||Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay|
|Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express||$450||Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay|
|American Express Corporate Platinum Card||$550||Trip Delay|
|Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card||$550||Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay|
|Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card||$550||Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||$550||Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay|
|The Business Platinum Card from American Express||$595||Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay|
The benefits offered by these cards may vary. The more expensive card will typically offer a wider range of coverage and higher maximum coverage amounts.
What’s Covered (and What’s Not)
Like most insurance policies, the coverage applies to some cases and may not apply in others. American Express trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance applies to delays and cancellations for these reasons:
- Accidental Illness
- Changes in Military Orders
- Terrorist Acts
- Jury Duty or Court Subpoena
- Any Event that Renders the Traveler’s Home Uninhabitable
- Medical Quarantine
There are also specified cases that the insurance will not cover, including these.
- Pre-Existing Conditions
- Suicide or Self-Inflicted Injury
- Declared or Undeclared War
- Mental or Emotional Disorders That Do Not Cause Hospitalization
- Events Caused by Participation in a Professional Sporting Event
- Events Occurring While the Traveler is Intoxicated or Under the Influence of Any Drug Not Prescribed by a Doctor
- Events Occurring While the Traveler is Involved in Any Illegal or Criminal Act
- Events Occurring While the Traveler is Engaged in Skydiving or Vehicle Racing, or Another Speed-Based Sport
- Incidents Occurring Due to the Traveler’s Incarceration
- Loss Due to Intentional Acts by the Traveler
- Non-Emergency Medical Care
- Events Due to Financial Insolvency of a Travel Agency, Tour Operator, or Travel Supplier [All Above: 8]
There are other events that are not covered: check your card’s policy or this summary from American Express for full details.
Travel delay insurance from American Express typically covers delays due to weather, terrorist action, carrier equipment failure, or loss or theft of passports, or other documents.
How to File a Claim
You must inform American Express of your claim within 60 days of the event that caused the claim. You must also notify the supplier involved with the claim, if any (for example, the airline that caused a travel delay) and complete its claim procedure.
You can open a claim with American Express by calling 1-844-933-0648. American Express will tell you what documentation will be required to process your claim. You may need these or other documents:
- Copies of tickets or travel supplier receipts.
- The billing statement of your eligible American Express card that shows the charges for the trip that led to the claim.
- Proof of covered loss, such as a court subpoena or a medical report.
- A copy of a travel supplier’s cancellation policy, if applicable.
Remember that you can only make claims for trips that you paid for with your eligible American Express card. If you have a card that provides this coverage, be sure to use it. [Section source: 8, 9]
How Much Loss is Covered?
American Express trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance coverage are valid up to these limits.
- Trip cancellation costs are covered up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 in any given 12 consecutive month period for each eligible card.
- Trip interruption costs are covered up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 in any given 12 consecutive month period for each eligible card.
- Trip delay expenses are covered up to $500 per covered trip. Only 2 claims per eligible card can be made in any 12-month period.
These are the maximum coverage amounts. Some cards may offer lower coverage amounts.
All American Express trip cancellation, trip interruption and trip delay coverage is secondary. This means that it covers expenses left after benefits provided by other coverage, such as that provided by your carrier or travel service provider, are paid. [Section source: 10]
American Express Baggage Insurance
Baggage insurance is not a new addition to the American Express travel insurance package, but lost baggage is a common enough problem that it’s worth a quick review. If you use an eligible American Express card to book your ticket, you are entitled to receive compensation from American Express as well as from your carrier.
Baggage insurance coverage may extend to these individuals:
- The Cardholder
- The Cardholder’s Spouse or Domestic Partner
- Dependent Children Under 23 Years Old
Reimbursement limits may vary with your card. The coverage is also secondary: it covers losses over and above the compensation provided by your carrier. Some high-value items may have separate coverage under your card’s policy. [Section source: 11]
Most business and pleasure trips come off without incident, but if you travel regularly, you’re likely to run into a problem sooner or later. When that happens, travel insurance can provide a vital lifeline.
The insurance provided by eligible American Express cards may not be a substitute for a travel insurance policy, but it can provide valuable protection against loss. If you have several credit cards, it’s worth making the effort to use the one with the best insurance coverage to book your tickets and travel services. Knowing what coverage your cards have can help you choose the best card to use for travel and may help you decide what level of additional insurance you need.