By Josh Crouthamel,
Are you one of those travellers who thinks your gold card is enough to get you out of a jam when you travel? Think again. According to a new report released by Travel Insurance Direct the general cover offered by credit cards is "inflexible, impractical and contains a minefield of issues."
According to General Manager Ian Jackson "Sadly many holidaymakers don't realise this until they try to make a claim."
If any of you were unfortunate enough to be caught out by the Virgin Blue cancel-fest that grounded thousands this week, it is all too likely you learned that even on a quick domestic trip the stipulations around credit card insurance coverage can be very limited. And if you're (god forbid) injured abroad, you'll find yourself in a world of pain if you haven't pre-purchased travel insurance with unlimited coverage for accidents.
Here are some common examples of insurance restrictions imposed by credit card providers:
- A specified amount of your holiday price tag be paid for on the particular card
- Generally there's no coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or diabetes. Some credit card policies refuse to cover any pre-existing conditions while others require travellers to make a special application for additional coverage and pay a surcharge if approved
- Expect crazy conditions on claims. With one major card holidaymakers needing emergency medical assistance while overseas need to actually produce a copy of their credit card statement showing their return airfare payments before they can gain approval for support
- The length of your coverage will be limited — most have a strict 90-day limit for any one trip and will not allow policyholders to extend their coverage
- Business travel generally isn't covered
- If you plan on diving, skiing or doing anything adventurous, you more than likely aren't covered for your fun
"In the words of the Department of Foreign Affairs, if you can't afford travel insurance you can't afford to travel", says Jackson. "Consumers should always carefully evaluate any 'free' insurance offers and remember that wide-ranging travel insurance policies are actually very reasonably priced, particularly when you consider the peace of mind they deliver."
Having been burned before I can personally attest to the value of added cover (which starts at about $40 bucks). I'm still out of pocket for a credit card claim after being mugged on a trip to the US four years ago.
Keep reading - next article