Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Do I need travel insurance even if I have an American Express credit card?

If you are an American Express cardholder, you may still need travel insurance. The card offers some benefits to customers, but it does not cover medical bills while away from home.

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To have the right protection in place while you are traveling, check out the travel insurance plans offered by several companies and then buy the one that is right for you.

Review the basics of travel insurance, the American Express benefits for travelers, and how to find a policy that meets your needs.

Travel Insurance Basics

There are many different types of travel insurance that you can select from.

  • Medical: If you are away from home and need to see a doctor or go to a hospital for treatment for an illness or injury, your regular health insurance plan won’t cover you. If you don’t have travel insurance coverage in place, a foreign doctor or hospital will expect payment when treatment is provided. You will be expected to put up an up-front deposit at the very least.
  • Evacuation: Travel insurance coverage can pay for these types of expenses when you are away from home. This type of policy also provides a benefit that pays for the cost of medical evacuation to a better medical facility. Your travel insurance may pay for transportation costs in bringing you home if you become ill or are involved in an accident while away from home, including having a qualified attendant travel with you. Another common benefit offered under a travel insurance plan is the cost of transporting a body home if the policyholder dies while on his or her trip.
  • Accidental death and disability coverage is part of the package of benefits offered by a travel insurance company.
  • Compensation for lost luggage and trip delay or cancellation is very popular. If you are unable to leave at the designated time because of a mechanical issue, severe weather or labor disruption, the travel insurance company will provide funds to pay for overnight accommodation and meals.
  • Trip cancellation coverage pays out when you are unable to travel due to illness, an injury or death (yours, an immediate family member or your business partner).

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Some travel insurance companies offer other benefits to their policyholders, such as replacing lost travel documents, including passports, and prescription medications. A toll-free number is provided for policyholders to call if they need a referral to a local doctor or dentist. The insurer can assist with replacing lost or stolen tickets, and can provide emergency cash if required.

Another benefit that may be provided by a travel insurance company is legal assistance if a policyholder runs into trouble while away from home. The company can provide a referral to an attorney, as well as lending bail money if required.

Travel safety assistance is a new benefit being offered by companies. Policyholders can receive up-to-date information about potential threats when they are away from home. The individual may choose to change or cancel their travel arrangements, if necessary.

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American Express Card Travel Benefits

American Express cardholders have coverage that will pay for the cost of an emergency evacuation to the nearest “adequate medical facility” for treatment. The company will also help a cardholder find a doctor while traveling. It will also help the cardholder arrange for an air ambulance if one is necessary. The cardholder is responsible for paying for the cost of this service, though.

If this is all the coverage you want, then you do not need to obtain travel insurance. If, however, you desire any of the other options mentioned you will need to find a policy.

Shopping Around for Travel Insurance Coverage

Before you buy travel insurance coverage, take the time to consider your options carefully. A good strategy is to make note of the types of services that are most important to you, as well as the ones that fall into the “nice to have” category.

Once you have a clear idea of the kinds of benefits that are most important to you, go online to check out different travel insurance companies. You can also visit a web site that offers a quote tool so that you enter your information once and get pricing from a number of companies at once.

Once you have several quotes in hand, review them carefully. You want to make sure you are looking at the same level of coverage before you start to consider pricing. Going with the company that offers you the lowest rates isn’t the best decision if the travel insurance company doesn’t give you the level of benefits you need.

You still need to consider buying travel insurance even if you are an American Express card customer. The company provides limited benefits to its customers, but it doesn’t offer insurance that pays for medical bills while the cardholder is away from home, trip interruptions, cancellations or luggage issues.

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