Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance

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In my post “Keep or cancel Sapphire Reserve?” I estimated how much I value each of the card’s benefits in order to decide whether or not to keep the card beyond the first year.  As several readers pointed out, I didn’t originally include the value of the Sapphire Reserve card’s substantial travel insurance benefits.  That was an oversight.

In order to estimate how much to value these benefits, I first reviewed them.  I have to admit, I haven’t given these benefits much thought before now, but I’m impressed.  The Sapphire Reserve offers valuable travel insurance coverage far beyond that offered by the similar Sapphire Preferred card.

Below you’ll find a summary of each of the Sapphire Reserve’s Travel Insurance benefits. For full details of each of these benefits, review the Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefit Guide.

I’ve also included information about how each benefit compares to coverage from Chase’s other travel card: the Sapphire Preferred.  Specifically, the Sapphire Reserve includes the following benefits that the Sapphire Preferred does not have:

  • Primary rental insurance for expensive and exotic rentals (up to $75K)
  • Free Roadside Assistance (when you are 50+ miles from home)
  • 6 hour Trip Delay reimbursement (Sapphire Preferred is 12 hours)
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation (up to $100,000)
  • Emergency Medical and Dental coverage (up to $2,500)

In most cases, immediate family members on the same trip are covered.  Chase defines Immediate Family Member as “your Spouse or Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or step-children; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandpa.”

Also, in most cases, with the notable exception of rental car insurance, coverage kicks in even if you pay only part of your trip with your Sapphire Reserve card.  This is an awesome benefit for those of us who frequently use points and miles or even gift cards to make trips less expensive.  For example, in the emergency evacuation details, Chase’s documentation states that you are covered when:

…a portion or the entire cost of the Trip, is purchased with Your Chase credit card account (“Account”).

Does this mean I don’t have to buy supplemental travel insurance?

Personally, I’ve never bought travel insurance anyway, so the coverage provided by the Sapphire Reserve card is great just for the additional peace of mind.  For those who do usually buy travel insurance, the Sapphire Reserve could be a great way to save money by declining that insurance in the future.  The question is whether it covers enough?

Most of the coverage seems to me to be more than adequate for my needs, but everyone should judge for themselves how much risk they are willing to take on.  I could imagine people wanting more coverage for emergency evacuations, for example.  If you need to be flown internationally via a medical transport, I expect that it will cost far more than the covered $100,000.  Similarly emergency medical and dental work is likely to far exceed $2,500.

What about other premium cards?

In the future I’ll summarize coverage from other premium cards (Citi Prestige and Amex Platinum, for example) to see how they compare to the Sapphire Reserve.  Off the top of my head I know, for example, that the Citi Prestige card offers better trip delay insurance (3 hours vs. 6 hours with the Sapphire Reserve).

And now, a summary of each Sapphire Reserve benefit…

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver (Auto Rental CDW)

Primary rental car coverage, up to $75K.  You must pay for the entire rental with your Sapphire Reserve card and you must decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver (CDW or LDW).  Both the cardholder (named on the Sapphire Reserve card) and any additional drivers permitted under rental agreement are covered.

You are eligible for coverage when: You “1) Initiate and complete the entire rental transaction using your card that is eligible for the benefit. 2) Decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver or similar provision if it is offered to you.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Sapphire Preferred excludes “expensive” and “exotic” rentals such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Bricklin, Daimler, DeLorean, Excalibur, Ferrari, Jensen, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Porsche, and Rolls Royce.  Selected models of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance covers flat tires, fuel delivery, dead battery, lockout assistance, towing, etc., up to $50 per service, up to 4 times per year.  You are covered by Roadside Assistance when driving any vehicle you own or lease, and when you drive a vehicle that is furnished to you by the owner, while traveling away from home.

You are eligible for coverage when: “you drive any vehicle you own or lease, and when you drive a vehicle that is furnished to you by the owner, while traveling away from home.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: If you use the Sapphire Preferred card’s Roadside Dispatch service, you’ll pay $59.95 per service.  With the Sapphire Reserve, service is free, up to $50.

Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption

This benefit reimburses you for change or cancellation fees if your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to injury, death, sickness, severe weather, military orders, a terrorist action, jury duty or subpoena, etc.  Coverage limit: $10K per per person per trip, up to $20K per trip (occurrence), and $40K in a 12 month period.  Coverage includes trips paid partially with points or miles.  You, the Primary Insured Person, and your Immediate Family Members are automatically covered.

You are eligible for coverage when: “Any pre-paid tour, trip or vacation when some portion of the cost for such travel arrangements […] has been charged to your Account: while the insurance is in effect, to a destination of greater than one (1) mile from your primary residence, and is for a time period that doesn’t exceed sixty (60) days in duration.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Same.

Trip Delay Reimbursement

This benefit reimburses you for reasonable expenses incurred when your trip is delayed by more than 6 hours.  Coverage limit: $500 per ticket.  Coverage includes trips paid partially with points or miles.  You, the Primary Insured Person, and your Immediate Family Members are automatically covered.

You are eligible for coverage when: “A portion or the entire cost of the Common Carrier fare, is purchased with your Chase credit card account (“Account”).

“A Common Carrier is any land, water, or air conveyance that operates under a valid license to transport passengers for hire and requires purchasing a ticket before travel begins. It does not include taxis, limousine services, commuter rail or bus lines, or rental vehicles.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Coverage kicks in only after a 12 hour delay with the Sapphire Preferred.

Lost Luggage

This benefit reimburses you for lost or damaged luggage, up to $3,000 per person.  Certain items are limited to $500 (jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders, and other electronic equipment).  You, the Primary Insured Person, and your Immediate Family Members are automatically covered.

You are eligible for coverage when: Traveling on a Common Carrier “when some portion of the fare for transportation has been charged to your Account issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates. It’s also travel on a Common Carrier when free flights have been awarded from frequent flier or Rewards programs, provided that all of the miles or Rewards points were accumulated from a Rewards program sponsored by Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates.”

Common Carrier is defined as “any motorized land, water or air Conveyance, operated by an organization other than Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates, organized and licensed for the transportation of passengers for hire and operated by an employee or an individual under contract.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Same.

Baggage Delay

The benefit covers up to $100 per day for up to 5 days for emergency purchases of essential items (clothing, toiletries, charging cables, etc.).  You, the Primary Insured Person, and your Immediate Family Members are automatically covered.

You are eligible for coverage when: “Some portion of the fare for transportation has been charged to your Account issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates.” or “”when free flights have been awarded from frequent flier or Rewards programs, provided that all of the miles or Rewards points were accumulated from a Rewards program sponsored by Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Same.

Travel Accident Insurance

This benefit pays up to $1,000,000 for accidental Death, Dismemberment, Loss of Speech, Sight, or Hearing.  You, the Primary Insured Person, and your Immediate Family Members are automatically covered.  Coverage includes trips paid partially with points or miles.  You are also covered when paying entirely with points as long as “the award was made from frequent flier or rewards programs provided that all of the miles or rewards points were accumulated from a rewards program sponsored by Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates.”

You are eligible for coverage when: “You charge some portion of a Common Carrier fare […] to Your Account”

Common Carrier means any motorized land, water or air Conveyance, operated by an organization, structured and licensed for the transportation of passengers for hire and operated by an employee of such organization or an individual under contract.

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Sapphire Preferred accident insurance is limited to $500,000.

Emergency Evacuation and Transportation

The evacuation benefit provides emergency evacuation and transportation if you are injured or become ill during your trip and it results in a necessary emergency evacuation.  Evacuation must be pre-approved by the Benefit Administrator.  Coverage limit: $100,000.  The emergency transportation benefit pays for a round trip economy ticket for a friend or relative to visit your bedside when you are hospitalized for more than 8 days.  This insurance also covers repatriation of remains, up to $1,000.  You, the Primary Insured Person, and your Immediate Family Members are automatically covered when you pay for a portion of the trip with your Sapphire Reserve card.

You are eligible for coverage when: “You charge a portion of the cost, or the entire cost of a Trip, made via a Common Carrier, to Your Account.”

A Common Carrier is defined as “any motorized land, water or air Conveyance, operated by an organization other than Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates, organized and licensed for the transportation of passengers for hire.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Sapphire Preferred does not provide Emergency Evacuation and Transportation coverage.

Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit

This benefit reimburses certain emergency medical expenses incurred during a trip.  Covered trips are more than 5 days long, but less than 60 days and must be more than 100 miles from your home.  Max coverage: $2,500 with $50 deductible.

You are eligible for coverage when: “You, a person to whom a United States (U.S.) credit card has been issued (“Cardholder”), and Your Immediate Family Members when a portion or the entire cost of the Trip, is purchased with Your Chase credit card account (“Account”).  This benefit applies when You use Your Account to pay for a Trip via a Common Carrier that is greater than five (5) consecutive days but less than sixty (60) consecutive days, and is in excess of one hundred (100) miles* from Your place of Residence.”

A Common Carrier is defined as “any motorized land, water or air Conveyance, operated by an organization other than Chase Bank USA, N.A. and/or its affiliates, organized and licensed for the transportation of passengers for hire.”

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Sapphire Preferred does not provide Emergency Medical and Dental coverage.

Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

This is like an emergency concierge who can arrange things for you.  Examples include: medical referral, legal referral, emergency transportation assistance, pre-trip assistance (required visas and immunizations, for example).  This service doesn’t cover the costs of any of these things, just the person on the phone to help.

How this compares to Sapphire Preferred coverage: Same.

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