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Travel insurance on credit card? Check terror cover

September 12, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Free travel insurance, offered by banks and financial institutions as part of the perks for premium customers who hold platinum, gold or black credit cards, may be useless if travellers are caught up in a terrorist incident.

An investigation and report by the Australian newspaper says that hundreds of thousands of Australians are heading off on their holidays under the impression they are covered by free travel insurance through premium credit cards. They are unaware that if they are hit by an act of terror, they may have no coverage at all.

The Australian found that nearly 70% of the cards offer zero terrorism cover. Nearly 80% offer no hospital and evacuation cover. Travellers holding the cards could face medical and evacuation costs totalling hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars if the worst happened, the report said.

The paper found that while most regular travel insurance policies provided hospital and evacuation cover for victims of an attack, credit card coverage was not so generous.

The situation, and the Australian’s exposure of it, has shocked politicians and cardholders, apparently prompting some of the banks to do a re-think. Westpac is reportedly moving to include some terrorism cover for its premium credit card customers.

The Australian’s investigation covered almost 100 credit cards offered by 18 of Australia’s most prominent banks and financial institutions.  It found that 12 of the insurance schemes associated with the cards offered no coverage for terrorist attacks, cards offered by Westpac, Citibank, Suncorp, Bank of Queensland, St George Bank, Bank SA, Bank of Melbourne, Bendigo Bank, HSBC, Bankwest, Virgin Money and Heritage Bank.

With two other institutions, American Express and Macquarie, the high-end cards offered no terrorism cover other than limited compensation for injuries from terror-related transport accidents, the paper reported.

On the positive side, the Australian’s probe found that the premium cards of four institutions – ING, NAB, CBA and ANZ – offered significant hospital cover in the event of a terrorist attack, though they didn’t necessarily cover associated costs such as travel delays and flight cancellations.

Written by Peter Needham

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