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What exactly does my credit card insurance cover?

When I booked my latest trip I decided to check the insurance provided by my credit card. I have a credit card from one of Canada's big four banks. for which I pay a healthy annual fee, so I thought I was covered.

I was shocked to see how little coverage was provided. For example, I did not know I had to pay out of pocket for all claims made until the insurance company had approved my claim. Carrying such a balance on my credit card could leave me on the hook for major interest charges.

I also did not know my coverage for cancellation topped out at $1500, that I had no coverage for flight cancellations, that I would not be covered in a country under a travel advisory and that my coverage only lasted 21 days (4 days had I been older than 65).

As it turns out, credit card insurance coverage varies greatly from card to card. Some come with restrictions on the traveller’s age, trip length, and limits to medical costs. Several cards do not offer trip cancellation or baggage coverage. To ensure you have the proper protection, these are the questions you should ask your credit card company. 1. Do I have to purchase my trip on your credit card to activate the insurance coverage? 2. How many days am I covered for? Can I benefit from this coverage if I stay longer? Do you allow extensions? 3. Am I covered for all emergency/hospital expenses? For what amount? Does my age, my medical history, medication, or pre-existing condition affect the coverage? 4. Am I covered if an air ambulance is required to bring me back to Canada? 5. Do you provide coverage for emergency (Mountain and Sea) rescue? 6. Are there any sports excluded under this coverage? 7. Will you pay direct or guarantee payment to the medical facility? Do I have to pay a deductible? 8. Will you co-ordinate with my provincial plan or do I have to submit the balance of my claim to you? 9. Are my benefits cancelled if I miss a credit card payment while I’m away on my holidays? 10. Do you provide a 24 hour, 7 days a week toll-free assistance telephone number? If so, is this service operated by you or a contracted assistance company? 11. Am I covered for cancellation of my trip entirely, that is: air, hotel, transfers, tax and services, before my departure? 12. Am I covered for cancellation or interruption of my trip if my travelling companion gets injured or sick? 13. Am I covered for trip cancellation if my principal place of residence has been rendered uninhabitable because of unforeseen circumstances (fire, flood, tornado, ecological disasters)? 14. What is the Family Member definition? What could happen if my elderly mother suddenly became ill? Would I be covered if I had to cancel? 15. Am I covered for cancellation or interruption if a new travel advisory is issued for my destination?

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