Many card providers in the UAE offer travel insurance cover as part of overall card benefits. But how many of us know it even exists, or how it really works? Even those who hold a card with such benefits, may not know if it adequately covers them or not.

Usually offered as a complimentary feature of high-end credit cards, ‘free multi-trip travel insurance’ is a great perk to have, especially for frequent travelers. But there’s more to consider, for instance, would you be willing to pay a high annual fee in return for this benefit?

Here we take a look at what this free travel protection entails, and what you need to know to be able to benefit from it.

What exactly is covered?

These are some of the standard travel protection features that usually come with credit cards:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Travel accident cover
  • Delayed or lost baggage
  • Missed or delayed flights
  • Loss of personal belongings

You can contact the card provider or go through the credit card terms and conditions, to check exactly what is covered. If water sports, winter sports or other forms of adventure activities are on your holiday agenda, make sure you opt for a tailor-made travel insurance plan, since the travel protection on your credit card will most likely be quite basic. And since higher risk means higher premium, be prepared to shell out extra dirhams for extended coverage.

[Related: Don’t think you need travel insurance? Think again!]

What is the extent of cover?

Besides being aware of which features are covered and which are not, make sure you also read about the limit on maximum coverage for each of the sub-categories. This can vary from issuer to issuer, and in case you intend to apply for a credit card that offers travel insurance, don’t forget to compare your options. On top of that, there might also be an ‘excess’ payable when you make a claim, so spend some time going through the fine print.

How can you use it in practice?

Even though you are automatically covered under the travel insurance benefits on your card, you should obtain a certificate of insurance from your credit card provider before you travel. This certificate serves as proof of insurance in case you have to use it abroad. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to do this, since banks will require you to submit your personal and travel information beforehand and it might take them a few days to generate the certificate.

There are other cases too, where you may require this certificate of insurance ahead of time. For example, submitting proof of adequate travel insurance coverage, is a mandatory requirement when applying for a Schengen Visa.

Finally, if you’re counting on the travel protection on your credit card, remember to also check the following:

  • Are all supplementary cardholders, as well as your minor children covered too?
  • Who do you contact in case of an accident or other emergencies?
  • Do you have to buy flight tickets with this particular card to be eligible for insurance benefits? (This is most likely the case, though flights bought using reward points/miles earned on that card, should be covered.)
  • Are you required to meet other spend/usage criteria to be able to enjoy travel insurance benefits?
  • What is process of making a claim, and what are the exclusions to your cover?

[Related: Which travel insurance plan is right for you?]