Credit card holders know that there are tons of things their card can do. A quick swipe or typing a few numbers is all it takes to let you make convenient purchases from just about anywhere. But there's one thing many people don't realize their credit card can do: provide them with insurance coverage.
When people compare credit card offers, they're usually focusing only on the interests and fees, and they rarely take the time to discover the additional perks that come with them.
Naturally, different cards will come with different perks, but here are some standard benefits that most credit card issuers offer.
1. Trip Cancellation Insurance
If you you need to cancel your trip because of an emergency, it's worth finding out whether your card offers trip cancellation coverage. If it does, you will be reimbursed for travel cancellations on non-refundable flights. Several cards also offer protection against travel delays (learn more in Travel Insurance: Do I Really Have To?)
2. Travel Accident Insurance
If you charge all your travel expenses to your credit card, you may get travel accident insurance. If you are injured en route to your destination, you will be eligible for medical expenses coverage. But this only applies while you're in transit – once you arrive at your destination, that's where the coverage ends.
If you love a bargain, then you'll want to know about this perk. If you buy something from a store only to find the same item somewhere else for a lower price within a 30- to 60-day period and your card has this perk, then your provider will refund you the difference.
There is usually a limit to the amount they'll refund you, but at least you won't have to worry about being overcharged for smaller purchases.
4. Guaranteed Returns
Some cards offer guaranteed returns for the items you purchased with it. So, if you buy an item and miss the window for returns, they will refund your purchase.
You cannot file a claim for a refund if the item is broken, of course. You have to ensure the item is in its original state, including its packaging, and still have the receipt in hand.
5. Extended Warranty Coverage
Most qualifying credit cards prolong the original product warranty on a purchase without additional charge. Your card can come through in terms of repairs or replacing a gadget if it breaks a few days after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. This could save you a lot of money because it usually covers expensive appliances and electronics, such as refrigerators and laptops.
You must provide paperwork that proves that you bought the item and it is non-functional or destroyed. You likely have to wait a couple of weeks for a payment, even if it’s something as small as a cell phone.
6. Cell Phone Replacement Insurance
Did you know that your credit card can buy you a new phone if yours gets stolen or damaged? Some cardholders get up to $250 for a new phone. The downside is that you have a $50 co-pay, which makes it pointless if you’re not using an expensive phone. You also have to pay your monthly cell phone bill with your credit card and you will need paperwork (usually a police report) that proves your phone was stolen. But if you forget it on the bus, leave it on a restaurant table, or otherwise lose it, your phone will not be covered.
7. Roadside Assistance
If your car breaks down, instead of calling the towing company directly, you might be able to get help through your credit card's customer service line. If they offer roadside assistance, they will arrange for a tow truck to come your way and help you out with locksmith, tire change, and jump starting services.
Depending on your card, you could save up to $100 due to a flat rate payment for whatever car problems you are facing. Some cards save you the hassle of needing to have cash on you by charging a pre-negotiated price for each service you use.
8. Entertainment Benefits
Some lucky card holders might even have access to pre-sale or preferred tickets, especially to exclusive concerts and sporting events. Not only will this help you make sure you don't miss out on your favorite band or team, but you'll also get the tickets at their best price.
9. Rental Car Insurance Coverage
Most people either don’t know that their credit cards offer collision insurance for rentals, or they simply do not think that the cards would actually cover the costs of rentals. The credit card coverage will even provide you coverage when your primary auto policy won't.
Usually, you get a loss-damage waiver when you rent a car; however, prices will vary. Be sure to check whether your card covers long-term rentals and if it is applicable in foreign countries as some have restrictions.
Moreover, coverage is limited to the type of car you are renting. Cars like campers, SUVs, and trucks are excluded. Additionally, you may pay for "loss-of-use" or towing fees even though your card covers damages (check out our 5 Rental Car Insurance Tips Worth Knowing for more).
It's time for you to dig through those papers your new card came with and see what kind of perks you might be missing out on. These benefits won't be worth anything if you don't know about them, so take the time look into it.