The funny thing about credit cards with travel insurance is that none of them are the same. They all offer similar insurance, but each one is just different enough that it’s impossible to say one card is better than the others.
Fortunately, most of the best travel credit cards in Canada come with a decent amount of travel insurance, but you need to read the certificate of insurance to find out what you’re covered for and when you can make a claim.
Since there are dozens of credit cards in Canada that offer travel insurance, it can be too time-consuming (and annoying) to read the policies of each card. I’ve looked at them all and I’ve narrowed down the list of the best credit cards with travel insurance to the following four.
American Express Platinum Card
- $699 annual fee
- 25,000 Membership Rewards points sign up bonus
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- $200 Annual travel credit
- Unlimited airport lounge access
- Special benefits at Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Hotel status upgrades
- Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits
- Exclusive dining experiences with the Global Dining Collection
- Comprehensive travel insurance package
- Buyer’s assurance
- Purchase protection
Although the American Express Platinum Card comes with just 15 days of coverage for travel medical insurance, it does have one of the highest maximum payouts of $5,000,000. The included flight delay insurance is also the highest of the 4 cards I’ve listed at $1,000 per person after a delay of just 4 hours.
The annual fee of $699 will turn some people off, but you get an annual travel credit of $200, unlimited lounge access, and a massive signup bonus of American Express Membership Rewards points (when using a referral link) which will appeal to frequent travellers.
BMO World Elite Mastercard
- $150 Annual fee – Fee waived in the first year
- Get up to 40,000 BMO Rewards points as a welcome bonus ($285 value)
- Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and travel purchases
- Earn 2 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Mastercard Airport Experiences membership provided by LoungeKey, plus 4 annual complimentary passes
- Comprehensive travel insurance package included
- Free global WiFi
The travel insurance included with the BMO World Elite Mastercard isn’t top of the class for any specific category, but it’s still pretty generous. You could argue this is the best credit card with travel insurance since you only need to charge a part of your ticket to your card for your insurance to apply. That’s right, according to the fine print, you could even charge just $1 of your travel expenses to your card and your insurance would be valid. Because of this clause, the BMO World Elite Mastercard is a great choice for those who often book flights on reward miles and still want a comprehensive travel insurance package. Oh, it helps that this card waives the annual fee for the first year (one of the few credit cards with travel insurance that does this) and the signup bonus of BMO Rewards is quite valuable.
Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card
- $139 annual fee
- No foreign transaction fees
- 20,000 Scotia Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
- Priority Pass Standard Membership + 6 free visits per year
- Earn 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on eligible grocery, dining, entertainment, and transit purchases
- Earn 1 Scotia Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual bonus of 10,000 points ($100 value) if you spend a minimum of $40K per year
- Included travel emergency medical, delayed and lost baggage, and trip cancellation / trip interruption insurance
- Rental car collision / Loss damage insurance included
- Hotel / Motel Burglary insurance included
Ever since the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card, I’ve felt like it’s the best all-in-one travel credit card since it gives you a generous signup bonus, a decent earn rate, airport lounge access with 6 free annual passes, and no foreign exchange fees. The travel medical insurance covers you up to 25 consecutive days per trip for those under the age of 65 and for 10 days if you’re 65+. What’s nice about this card that it includes every type of travel insurance possible which are cancellation/interruption, flight delay, lost luggage, car rental, hotel/motel burglary and travel accident.
National Bank World Elite Mastercard
- $150 annual fee
- Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on your first $40,000 in purchases
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases from $40,001 to $80,000
- Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases over $80,000
- $250 yearly credit for travel fees (seat selection, airport parking, baggage fees)
The National Bank World Elite Mastercard is one of the best credit cards with travel insurance because it covers those under the age of 55 for up 60 days of consecutive travel, 31 days if you’re between the ages of 55-64 and 15 days for those aged 65-74. As you can see, this card is quite generous when it comes to the number of consecutive days for all ages so it can be quite appealing for people who take long trips. One thing to note, you don’t get hotel/motel burglary or travel accident insurance with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard. That said, if you’re looking strictly at the number of days covered, this is the best travel insurance credit card.
What does credit card insurance cover?
If you look at the above chart, you’ll find exactly what does credit card insurance cover. For most people, they’re looking for travel medical insurance. This type of insurance would cover any costs if you had to make a quick trip to the doctor or an extended stay in the hospital. Since the cost of medical attention can be quite high outside of Canada, it’s recommended that you always travel with travel medical insurance. To be clear, your provincial healthcare won’t cover you if you leave the country.
The other types of credit card travel insurance include things such as trip cancellation, flight delay, baggage delay, car rental theft and travel accident. Not all of the best credit cards with travel insurance include all of these benefits so you should pick a card that includes what’s most important to you. Although this type of travel insurance is optional, I personally would never travel without trip cancellation, flight delay/interruption or lost/delayed luggage insurance. There has been more than one occasion where these types of insurance have saved my trips.
How to qualify for credit card travel insurance
With travel medical insurance, you get it just by being a cardholder. For all the other types of credit card travel insurance, there will be a few conditions. First off, to qualify, you need to charge a set amount of your travel purchases to your credit card to qualify. For example, American Express travel insurance applies when you charge all of your travel expenses including taxes to your card, whereas as with the BMO World Elite Mastercard, you can charge any amount.
It’s important to read your certificate of insurance as sometimes the charge requirement required may differ depending on the type of insurance you’re claiming. It’s possible that one credit card with travel insurance only requires 75% of your flight to be charged to your card for your trip cancellation to apply, but you may need to charge 100% of your car rental to your card if you want to be insured.
Is credit card travel insurance enough?
Deciding if credit card travel insurance is enough really depends on your situation. You’ll notice that most of the cards listed here only offer a few days of travel insurance those 65+. Even if you’re under the age of 65, some cards only cover you for a maximum of 15 days which isn’t a lot. The good thing is that you can purchase an extended policy if you call your insurance provider.
When it comes to the actual payout, I think the travel medical insurance included is enough since you’re covered for about $1,000,000 or more with most of the cards. Trip cancellation insurance can be enough, but some cards have a cap on them. This may not matter if you’re not taking an expensive trip, but for people who are doing something expensive, the cap may not even cover the cost of their flights.
Generally speaking, I think credit card travel insurance is enough. That said, if you’re 65+, I recommend purchasing an annual multi-trip policy as it’s relatively inexpensive.