Yes. In some cases, your credit card issuer will cover all or part of the cost of an item you report as stolen or accidentally damaged. Many of us wouldn't even think to ask our banks if they'll share the burden of bad luck with us. However, a few credit cards now promote their purchase protection programs as crucial benefits that set them apart from the competition.

For instance, American Express (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser) offers perhaps the most well-known and the most comprehensive purchase protection program among all major American credit card issuers. On eligible purchases made with your eligible American Express card if you accidentally damage an item or if it is stolen within 90 days of your original purchase the company will cover the cost of repair or replacement. You can use this benefit for claims up to $1,000 per occurrence provided your theft isn't also covered by another form of insurance. The company's credit cards, charge cards and PASS card offer you claim purchase protection for up to $50,000 in goods per year.

Visa Signature cardholders now enjoy a similar program, called Purchase Security. Eligible accounts now reimburse you up to $500 per incident, with the number of incidents per year determined by the agreement with your bank. Visa also extends this feature to a number of its prepaid debit cards, including TravelMoney, Payroll, and some Reloadable cards. 

Under MasterCard's Purchase Assurance program, issuing banks can choose whether they want to extend a similar purchase protection benefit based on card category or customer status.

As with any credit card benefit your bank may reserve the right to honor or reject your claim for just about any reason. For cameras, computers, and other electronic goods most likely to get stolen, you can speed up the process by keeping a list of serial numbers and accompanying receipt numbers in a secure place. That way, you can speed up your claim and purchase a replacement item without having to wade through months' worth of credit card statements.

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