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Credit card insurance – one of those things that’s nice to have in your back pocket, in case you ever need it.
But what is it actually worth?
Unless you’re an actuary, most people can only guess the dollar value of their credit card insurance coverage.
So we’ve done some behind the scenes calculations, and produced a dollar value for all 17 types of insurance coverage included with at least 179 credit cards we track. And the results may surprise you.
- Credit card insurance value
- Top 5 most valuable insurance
- Most common insurance
- Top 5 most rare insurance
- Insurance worth LESS than you think
- Insurance worth MORE than you think
- Credit card insurance value by bank
- Our methodology
What’s your credit card insurance worth?
Ranging from a measly $2 to a high of $140, there’s a big gap in the average dollar values of all 17 types of credit card insurance coverage.
Surprisingly, half of the travel insurance coverages listed below are valued at less than $10 ‒ and the ubiquitous Extended Warranty (82% of credit cards we track include this coverage) has the 3rd highest dollar value at $78.
Depending on the type of coverage, using correlation analysis with Bayesian regression, we calculated these dollar values based on:
- reasonable usage assumptions, and
- the typical annual premium you’d pay an insurance provider.
Top 5 most valuable credit card insurance coverage
Let’s go over the most valuable types of insurance on our chart in detail ‒ but first, here’s a quick overview:
|Most Valuable Credit Card Insurance Coverage||Average Dollar Value|
|Rental car theft and damage||$140|
1. Rental car theft and damage
Average value: $140
There’s no contest – having rental car theft and damage generally provides the best value for your insurance coverage.
Instead of having to pay for the collision damage waiver the rental car company charges, your credit card will cover you in case something happens to the car.
This fee can run up to $30 per day when purchased from a rental car agency. Use your credit card’s coverage and you can keep that all for yourself.
Our estimated value assumes that you rent a car 7 days per year, and save $20 per day.
Credit card based rental car insurance has one minor downside – if something does happen to the vehicle, you’ll have to pay what the rental car company wants in damages on your card. You’ll then make a claim with the insurer and get refunded afterwards. If you go with the rental car company’s insurance, you wouldn’t have to pay anything out of pocket at all.
But, that’s a minor inconvenience to save yourself some potentially big bucks.
As an example, Ruben (our in-house math genius) took advantage of this insurance last year. Using his
he saved on the damage waiver, which for his 12 day rental would have cost him $280.
He also sustained some damage to the car – a chip on the windshield. He had to pay the rental car company to get it fixed, but was able to get it back through insurance. This repair would have cost $240.
This insurance is available on 54% of the credit cards we track.
Want to learn more about rental car insurance? Here’s a deep dive on how it works.
2. Emergency medical coverage
Average value: $119
Away from home and need to see a doctor? If you’re inside Canada, you’re generally covered through your home province’s health care.
Outside the country? That’s another story. Provincial health care plans provide very little coverage outside of Canada.
And that’s where emergency medical coverage comes into play. There are 2 variables with emergency medical coverage – the length of coverage in days, and the maximum amount you can claim.
Our amounts are based on the trip length in days for an annual insurance package with an unlimited number of trips.
Here’s what this coverage is worth:
Once you get to a certain length of coverage, you don’t see any increase in value. If you were going to buy emergency medical insurance coverage with a 60 day trip maximum, the cost isn’t much higher than buying it for a 15 day trip maximum.
Keep in mind: The packages we’ve seen from insurance providers only go up to 30 days. It seems that only credit cards offer a 60 day trip maximum, which is probably because if someone wanted to purchase such a package from an insurance provider, they would be high risk and the cost would be significant.
This also means that you might get even more value from a longer trip coverage if you take multiple long trips per year.
One point to note about the coverage length – for most cards, it’s only for those under the age of 65. Most credit cards don’t offer coverage over this age. And if they do, it’s for a reduced amount of time.
How common is this insurance? Not overly. Only 30% of cards we track include it.
For the 30% of cards that include emergency medical coverage, here’s the breakdown by length of coverage:
3. Extended warranty
Average value: $78
Extended warranty coverage is one of the most popular coverages included with a credit card – a whopping 82% of credit cards include it.
It’s also a very valuable insurance. Most cards that offer the insurance provide an extra year of coverage, but there are some that give 2 years.
Though you might have discounted it at first blush, extended warranty is actually worth up to $144. Think of anything you buy – most stores will sell you an extended warranty on even things like small kitchen appliances.
Instead, you can save this money for yourself. And the insurance covers big ticket items like TVs which can easily run $100 or more to extend your warranty an extra year.
It’s savings and peace of mind for things you buy.
4. Price protection
Average value: $72
Another purchase insurance that can be quite valuable is price protection. If items you purchase go on sale for a lower price than you bought them, and within a certain time frame, you can get the difference refunded.
There are some restrictions on what can be claimed, however – your insurance certificate will have the full details. Restrictions and exclusions are mostly common sense, like holiday decorations that go on clearance after the holiday is over, and things like plants and other perishables.
It’s also a very rare type of insurance, only 6.5% of credit cards include it.
How much is it worth? Our estimated savings you could see with it is $72 a year.
Want to see the best credit cards for purchase protection? Here are the best credit cards to protect your purchases.
5. Mobile device
Average value: $53
The last coverage with high value is mobile device coverage.
When you buy a new phone, you can be sold an insurance plan that will reimburse you for damages you cause to your phone. Whether it’s dropped, lost, or stolen, these plans can reimburse you for the cost of replacing your phone.
Instead, credit cards that come with mobile device insurance can save you this fee, which typically starts at around $9 per month.
Most credit cards that have this insurance provide coverage for up to $1,000, but a few provide different amounts.
With all that said, it’s not common insurance coverage. Only 13% of the credit cards have mobile device coverage.
What’s the most common credit card insurance?
How often are these 17 types of insurance coverage included in a credit card?
You might think low value insurance would be found everywhere and high value insurance would be rare – but that’s not always the case.
You already know that extended warranty is included in 82% of the cards we track. But top of the list is Purchase Protection at 84%. Then there’s Travel Accident (59%), Rental Car Theft and Damage (54%), and Baggage Delay (41%) rounding up our top 5.
Here’s the breakdown:
This chart also shows you the least common coverage, which we’ll get into next…
Top 5 most rare credit card insurance coverage
Now for the rare coverages. There are lots of great insurance coverages out there, but some of them aren’t provided with many credit cards.
|Rare Credit Card Insurance Coverage||% of Cards With This Coverage|
|Event ticket cancellation||2%|
|Rental car accident||14%|
1. Event ticket cancellation
Average value: $8
Event ticket cancellation is the rarest of the rare insurance coverage – provided by only 2% of our cards.
In fact, Brim Mastercards are the only ones that provide it.
What does it cover? If you can’t attend an event you have a paid ticket for (ie sporting event, concert, theatre show), you can be reimbursed, up to a certain amount. Just note you need to have a covered reason to get your money back – for example a medical emergency.
For Brim cards, you can get up to $1,000 back in coverage.
With that said, it’s not overly valuable. Ticketmaster sells a similar insurance for their tickets, and it only costs $8 for $1,000 in coverage.
2. Personal effects
Average value: $23
It’s not only a rare coverage, but it’s also not well known. Personal effects insurance provides coverage if any of your belongings are lost, stolen, or damaged at any time during your trip.
It’s only available on 5% of our credit cards.
Personal effects coverage also provides a decent value of up to $24 ‒ much better than many of the other travel insurance coverages.
3. Price protection
Average value: $72
Price protection is not only a valuable insurance as seen above, it’s also a rare insurance with only 6% of cards having it.
There’s a couple of different issuers who offer it, but MBNA is the standout for this category. It’s offered on all of their World and World Elite Mastercards.
4. Mobile device
Average value: $53
Another coverage that is both valuable and rare, mobile device insurance helps protect one of the most expensive things you carry around every day – your phone.
5. Rental car accident
Average value: $19
One of the 3 types of rental car insurance is quite rare – rental car accident. This isn’t additional liability insurance, nor does it provide additional coverage for the rental car itself.
This insurance provides lump sum payments in case of a car accident that results in specific injuries or a death to the passengers in a rental car.
To get this coverage, you would typically need to pay $19 per year, with a little variation depending on the amount of coverage.
As for how many cards carry it? Only 14% of cards have it.
Rental car accident coverage is provided on:
- most MBNA credit cards (including their no fee Mastercards),
- BMO World and World Elite Mastercards, as well as
- all Brim cards.
What credit card insurance is worth LESS than you think?
Perceptions, for better or for worse, play a part in how we value things.
But what if we take perception out of the equation?
Specifically, let’s look at 3 types of insurance coverages that are less valuable than you might initially think. (Though generally speaking, many of the various travel insurances fit the bill here.)
1. Travel accident
Average value: $9
Travel accident coverage, for instance, is only valued at $9 on average. There are big amounts involved if you need to make a claim. But, that’s predicated on either an airline, train, or bus crashing and severely injuring you, or resulting in your death.
Seeing how airplanes rarely crash and result in injuries, it’s not that expensive to get.
It’s provided on quite a few credit cards we track as well – 60%.
2. Flight delay
Average value: $6
Then there’s flight delay with an average value of $6. While a seemingly great insurance to have (who wants to pay for a hotel somewhere because you’re stuck and can’t get home), it doesn’t cost that much to get.
And only 30% of cards we track include this coverage, which might contribute to its high perceived value.
3. Lost or stolen baggage
Average value: $2
Finally, there’s also the lost or stolen baggage coverage valued at $2. Almost 40% of credit cards we track provide this insurance.
It’s also not very valuable at all: we’ve determined that you can get it for a mere $2. When you think about it, how often do the airlines actually lose luggage these days?
The airline itself also typically offers compensation for lost bags, so it isn’t often that an insurance company will need to pay out here.
What credit card insurance is worth much MORE than you think?
On the flip side, which ones stand out that are worth much more than you might think?
Rental car theft and damage stands out with an average value of $140. It’s a common insurance found on many credit cards, but also has real, tangible savings every time you go to rent a car.
Then there’s price protection coverage with a $72 average value. A rare coverage, you’ll never have to worry whether or not you got the best price for any item you buy. If you see it come on sale within your card’s allotted time period, you can get a refund for the price difference.
Mobile device coverage has already been mentioned twice. It can be a useful coverage that actually costs quite a bit (more than our valuation) if you want to pay for this coverage out of pocket.
Finally, personal effects insurance is also an underappreciated coverage. You can get coverage in case something happens to your belongings at any point during your travels, and not just if they are stolen at your hotel or if the airline lost your bags.
Which bank offers the best credit card insurance coverage?
So which banks offer great insurance on their credit cards?
Here’s the list of major issuers in Canada, and the average value of insurance they provide on their credit cards.
There are a few highlights we’ll point out.
Brim Mastercards provide top insurance coverage across the board
The issuer with the highest average amount of insurance coverage is Brim Financial.
They only issue 3 cards, but they all have above average value.
There’s our #1 rated insurance card, the
Their World Mastercard, the
And their no fee card, the
National Bank Mastercards have great emergency medical insurance
National Bank may be a little lower in the list above, but let’s look below the surface. Their 3 travel cards provide emergency medical insurance ‒ with a high average value of $119 and only available in 30% of credit cards.
And if you can’t meet typical World and World Elite Mastercard income requirements, the
MBNA offers solid insurance on their no fee credit cards
While it’s farther down the list, MBNA deserves a mention as all of their no annual fee Platinum Plus Mastercards provide 7 types of insurance coverage – including all 3 types of rental car insurance (rental car theft and damage, rental car accident, and rental car personal effects).
And, there’s quite a few of them:
For no annual fee, you’re getting a lot of insurance coverage. And if you upgrade to one of their World or World Elite Mastercards, you get the same level of coverage, but also get price protection on top.
Top BMO credit cards offer a little bit of everything
BMO would have been higher on our list, but they have 5 different versions of their no fee AIR MILES card, which brings down their average.
But their World and World Elite Mastercards offer a wide variety of coverages. Their World cards include 12 types of coverage, and their World Elite Mastercards offer:
– 13 types – 14 types – 14 types
Credit card insurance valuation: our methodology
Valuation of insurance is a tricky process because its realized value can vary substantially, requiring us to make some assumptions about average behaviour. Methodologies in valuation depend on the type of insurance being considered:
- Extended Warranty valuations were obtained through researching the typical added costs of extended warranties. They typically cost anywhere between 1% to 5% of the purchase price depending on the warranty terms and the items in question. The final estimate was on average 2% of the purchase cost. Based on consumer buying patterns, we estimate that on average, people purchase $3600 worth of items a year that could reasonably be covered by this.
- Purchase Protection was much more difficult as this is not a standard market offering. They are instead buried beneath lump sum credit card fees. Nevertheless, the offerings serve as a complement to extended warranties and are also based on the same eligible purchases ($3600/year). Bayesian regression was used on credit card fees to determine the value per dollar, which yielded a result of about 1%.
- There are two types of Emergency Medical insurance offered by banks and insurance companies: (1) Single Trip and (2) Multiple Trips within a year. Emergency medical insurance for credit cards was based on Multi-trip insurance packages as this is the kind of insurance package offered by credit cards. These packages allow an unlimited number of trips per year, but stipulate the maximum allowable coverage length for any given trip. When insuring for a single trip, the cost is linearly dependent on trip length. For a package, the risk is spread across all different trip lengths; because there are many fewer trips that are longer than 30 days than there are trips longer than 5, increasing the coverage length doesn’t substantially increase the price for allowable trip durations beyond 2 to 3 weeks.
- Travel Accident, Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Flight Delay, Baggage Delay, and finally, Lost and Stolen Baggage, tend to be add-ons that are lumped together in enhanced travel insurance packages. Most enhanced packages include 5 or more out of these 6 features and it is difficult to single out the contribution of each feature. Between credit card fees and package offerings we could obtain a base lumped value of the package. In order to appropriately allocate the value for each feature, we also had to evaluate the risk of including each feature based on the probability of a payout vs the severity of the payout.
- Mobile device insurance is an offering that is available from many different carriers. Typical costs are about $50 – $100 based on the cost of the phone (usually around 5 – 10% of the purchase price of the phone which indicates the risk the carriers are willing to accept).
- Event ticket insurance is a relatively new offering available through ticket vendors such as TicketMaster. The price of this insurance is usually about $8 per $1,000 of coverage.
- Price protection is an offering that is strongly affected by user habits. For a savvy deal hunter, this feature can offer immense value. However, it requires the availability of a good deal and for you to be able to find it. It is assumed that you can save about 20% of the value on 10% of available purchases, but it is definitely possible to do better if you are diligent.
- Rental car accident insurance is similar to travel accident insurance in that it mainly covers severe events like death and dismemberment. For this type of insurance, claims are likely going to be the maximum amount, so the value of the insurance is roughly proportional with respect to the coverage amount. Because the probability of such an accident is higher for personal rentals (about four times per hour) than it is for commercial carriers, the coverage values for rental accidents tend to be lower.
- Rental car theft and damage insurance can have a value that is also strongly affected by user habits. The value stated assumes that you rent a car on average for 7 days a year and would have to pay $20 for a damage waiver. The value a cardholder saves is directly proportional to the number of days per year someone rents a car. If you rent a car for two weeks, your value will double.
Credit card insurance is more than meets the eye. There are potentially big savings to be found just by using the right credit card for your travel and general purchases.
Do you have any credit card insurance savings stories you could share?
Let us know in the comments below.
Which credit card has the best insurance coverage?
The Brim World Elite Mastercard has the best insurance coverage available, with a total of 15 types of insurance.
What is the best credit card for car rental insurance?
In general American Express cards provide the best coverage, covering a vehicle MSRP of $85,000. However, MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercards offer all 3 types of rental car insurance, and most of these cards have no annual fee.
What is credit card mobile phone insurance?
Mobile phone insurance provides coverage if you accidentally break your phone, lose it, or have it stolen. The amount of coverage you receive can vary, as depreciation of your device is taken into account when making a claim.
Does my credit card have travel insurance?
To find out if your credit card has travel insurance, locate your card on our site using our search page. On your card’s creditcardGenius page, click on the “Insurance” tab, and you’ll see the full list of insurance coverage your card provides.
How can I find the right credit card for me?
To find the best credit card for you, take our challenge. Answer our 3 minute quiz, and we’ll let you know which credit card is best for you. And if we do, you’ll be able to refer your friends, and earn up to $25 in referral bonuses.