|by Jason Steele|
A reader asks:
If I signed up for a United Mileage Plus Visa credit card would I be able to get travel insurance from that card and is this different from United’s Access America travel insurance one can get online when purchasing a flight reservation from United?
The answer is no. The United Mileage Plus Visa from Chase provides a variety of benefits under the Visa Signature program, but none of them are comparable to the insurance product that Access America sells. The Visa benefits include travel accident insurance, lost luggage compensation, auto rental collision damage waiver, and various travel, emergency and roadside assistance referrals, not insurance. You can read a complete guide to the Visa Signature benefits here.
The Access America plans sold by United have some overlap with the Visa Signature benefits. For example, they cover lost and delayed baggage as well as some rental car protections. In addition, they provide trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage as well as medical transport coverage.
The most important thing you can do is to study the details of both the Visa Signature benefits and the Access America plan you may be considering. In each case, there are numerous limitations to each benefit. Too often, travelers merely assume they are covered based merely on the description of the benefit, not the actual details of the policy itself. Like so many things in life, the truth lies hidden in the details, and travelers discover that they were not covered only after they have incurred expenses.
For example, many of the Visa Signature benefits only apply when the full cost of the travel has been paid for with your card. Using a frequent flier award ticket, or a rental car award will invalidate the coverage, even if you put all sorts of taxes and fees on your Visa.
Regardless of if you are relying on the Visa benefits, or if you have purchased additional insurance, you should always contact the provider before outlaying money for what you believe are covered expenses. Obtaining advanced approval from your insurer is the key to ensuring that they will reimburse you after the fact.
Good luck in your travels.