That depends on your definition of "free." Plenty of credit card issuers have bundled comprehensive travel insurance benefits into their accounts. However, the scope of benefits usually grows with the size of your annual fee.
Let's compare credit cards with strong travel insurance benefits at a variety of tiers:Economy Class: Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
At no annual fee, this Citi travel rewards card offers comprehensive travel insurance benefits that rival accounts with significantly higher service charges. This card's auto rental insurance lets you confidently decline your agency's collision, loss, and damage waiver. Visa Signature's concierge team can help you rebook missed flights or refer you to emergency doctors and lawyers while you're on the road. Purchasing airline, train, or cruise tickets with this card earns you Hilton HHonors points, while automatically enrolling you in basic travel accident insurance.Business Class: Chase Sapphire Preferred
With an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95, Chase ups the ante with travel delay insurance that can cover the cost of unexpected meals and emergency lodging if your plane or cruise leaves you stranded for more than 12 hours. Chase will also pay for covered essential items when your airline loses your luggage for more than 18 hours. Your Sapphire Preferred card can even reimburse you for a trip that gets cancelled due to covered cancellations and emergencies when you purchase tickets with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.First Class: The Platinum Card from American Express
Although you're paying a $450 annual fee, this card offers extraordinary purchase protection and travel emergency assistance. Unlike most credit cards, you can use the Platinum Card as primary auto insurance for your car rental. That means American Express will pay out up to $75,000 in damages on a rented car, even if the car gets stolen. The Platinum Card from American Express also protects your checked baggage, reimbursing you for lost or stolen items beyond your airline's usual allowance. The Platinum Card also provides your loved ones with up to $500,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance tied to your flight, cruise, or train journey.
Of course, the best kind of insurance is the kind you'll never have to use. Nobody wishes for an accident or a travel delay, but the right travel credit card can give you the peace of mind to enjoy your next trip.
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