Written by Barry Choi
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Credit cards, if used wisely, can be useful tools to help you manage your budget and expenses, and some also come with additional benefits. What benefits you get will vary depending on the credit card you have, so be sure to check for what your card offers. You could be missing out!
Not everyone likes to pay an annual fee each year for their credit card, but the benefits you get might be worth more than what you pay for that annual fee. That's not to say some credit cards without an annual fee don't also offer amazing perks, you just need to read the details to see what you're entitled to. And don't forget there are no-annual fee cards that also have benefits for things you may not use.
Keep in mind that you usually need to charge the full amount (or the majority) of your purchase to your credit card for your benefits to be valid.
Here are some of the most common credit card benefits. For full details of the insurance coverage, including definitions and benefits, always refer to the Certificate of Insurance provided with your card. If you have any questions after reading the Certificate of Insurance, be sure to call the insurance company's toll-free number listed in the document.
If your purchase is lost, damaged or stolen in the first 90 days, purchase assurance will cover you for any repairs or a replacement.
Your manufacturer's extended warranty is automatically doubled (up to one additional year) with this benefit for most items purchased with your credit card.
Credit cards that offer price protection will credit you the difference of a purchase you made on your credit card if the price of the same item drops within a set amount of days (usually 30) from your date of purchase.
Travel Emergency Medical Insurance
Travel emergency medical insurance is arguably the most valuable benefit that credit cards offer, since it may cover you for an unforeseen medical emergency when travelling away from your province of residence. Credit cards offering travel emergency medical insurance will each have different benefits, terms and exclusions, including a pre-existing condition exclusion. Depending on your age, you may have coverage for anywhere from 0-31 consecutive days of travel, per trip. You don't need to charge your travel expenses to your credit card to be covered for this benefit.
Travel insurance covers you for things such as trip cancellation/interruption, delayed/lost baggage, hotel/motel burglary, and common carrier travel accident insurance. Even though your credit card has travel insurance, it may not include every type of insurance listed here.
Car Rental Insurance
If you're renting a car, your credit card insurance can cover you for theft, loss and damage (up to a certain manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP)). It's important to note that in order for your credit card car rental insurance to kick in, you must decline the car rental company's insurance and charge the full car rental cost to your card. Your credit card coverage will not include third party liability insurance, so keep that in mind when considering your insurance needs.
Airport Lounge Access
Airport lounge access generally has two parts that you need to be aware of. First, you may need to be a member of the lounge, which may have a fee with that membership. You may also need to pay for each visit. Some credit cards offer just the airport lounge membership as a benefit while others also include a certain number of free annual passes. These passes are generally non-transferable, but you can use them for guests travelling with you.
Mobile Device Insurance
A few credit cards will now insure your mobile device from loss, theft or damage up to $1,000 if you pay for it using your credit card. The amount of the benefit depends on the purchase price of your phone, how long you've had it and the deductible amount. Your coverage typically kicks in 30 days from the date of your purchase, so you'll want to be careful with your phone until you're covered.
Zero Liability Protection
If your credit card is used for a fraudulent purchase, most credit cards will have what is called “zero liability protection" – this means you will not be responsible for an unauthorized transaction on your card. That said, you do need to ensure your credit card information, such as your PIN and password, are secured and not shared by you. Any suspicious transactions should always be reported to your credit card provider immediately.