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In this American Express Travel Insurance review, we’ll explore what plans they offer, what each plan covers, and which plan is best for different situations. Enjoy!
If a trip is on the horizon, it’s time to think about protecting your financial and physical health. Yup, I’m talking about travel insurance.
I know it’s not much fun to review coverage and premiums. You might even wonder if travel insurance is really worth it. While not everyone has the same needs, for most people traveling internationally, the answer is yes.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance protects the financial investment you make in your trip if your plans change. Emergency medical coverage ensures you won’t be left with a hefty medical bill if you get injured or sick while traveling. Convenience features like trip and baggage delay take the edge off pricey annoyances that can come with air travel. And as most travelers will tell you, those annoyances aren’t exactly rare occurrences.
Even if you know travel insurance is a good idea, you might not know where to start looking. Good news and bad news: You have tons of alternatives to choose from. Choice is great, but it can also be overwhelming. That’s why we do the research and break down popular travel insurance options for you.
When most people hear American Express (a.k.a. Amex), they think of credit cards. But did you know that Amex also sells travel insurance? And you don’t need to have an Amex credit card to buy it. It’s a totally separate product.
Today I’ll review the travel insurance options from American Express and help you decide if one of their products will meet your needs.
American Express Travel Insurance at a Glance
- Four single-trip plans to choose from
- Option to build your own plan
- Trip protection, emergency medical, and convenience coverage available
- No upper age limit on coverage
- Pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver
American Express Travel Insurance Products
American Express Travel Insurance includes four single-trip global coverage plans:
These non-customizable plans offer varying levels of coverage to suit your needs and your budget. As you might guess from the names, the Basic plan is, well, basic. Silver is the next step up, followed by Gold. The Platinum plan offers the most comprehensive coverage.
American Express Travel Insurance: What’s Included?
American Express keeps their travel insurance simple, offering six key benefits:
- Trip cancellation
- Trip interruption
- Medical protection
- Travel accident
- Baggage protection
- Trip delay
In addition, every plan includes access to a 24-hour travel assistance hotline that customers can call to access travel support before or during a trip.
American Express will cover trips lasting up to 365 days, although global medical benefits apply only to the first 60 days of any trip.
The table below shows coverage limits for each benefit, by plan.
|Types of Coverage||Basic Plan||Silver Plan||Gold Plan||Platinum Plan|
|Trip Cancellation||Up to $1,000||Up to 100% of Trip Cost||Up to 100% of Trip Cost||Up to 100% of Trip Cost|
|Interruption||Up to $1,000||Up to 100% of Trip Cost||Up to 150% of Trip Cost||Up to 150% of Trip Cost|
|Global Medical Protection||Medical - Up to $5,000|
Dental - Up to $750
Evac/Repatriation - Up to $5,000
|Medical - Up to $25,000|
Dental - Up to $750
Evac/Repatriation - Up to $100,000
|Medical - Up to $25,000|
Dental - Up to $750
Evac/Repatriation - Up to $500,000
|Medical - Up to $100,000
Dental - Up to $750
Evac/Repatriation - Up to $1,000,000
|Travel Accident Protection||N/A||24-Hour - Up to $50,000|
Common Carrier - Up to $100,000
|24-Hour - Up to $100,000|
Common Carrier - Up to $200,000
|24-Hour - Up to $200,000
Common Carrier - Up to $200,000
|Global Baggage Protection||Baggage Loss - Up to $250|
Up to $100 for 24+ Hour Delay
|Baggage Loss - Up to $500|
Up to $300 for 6+ Hour Delay
|Baggage Loss - Up to $1,000|
Up to $300 for 6+ Hour Delay
|Baggage Loss - Up to $2,500
Up to $500 for 3+ Hour Delay
|Global Trip Delay||N/A||Up to $150 per day ($500 max per trip)||Up to $150 per day ($750 max per trip)||Up to $300 per day ($1,000 max per trip)|
As you can see, the Basic plan offers the bare minimum. This might be an option for someone looking to beef up existing coverage or protect an inexpensive trip, but the medical coverage won’t be enough for most.
The Silver and Gold plans step it up to a level most travelers would at least consider. They both protect the full value of your trip, with the Gold covering extra for trip interruption. It also offers five times the coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation and doubles baggage loss protection. Both the Silver and Gold plans offer low levels of emergency medical coverage, though.
The Platinum plan includes a very reasonable amount of emergency medical coverage. It includes twice the evacuation/repatriation coverage that the Gold plan offers and rather outlandish baggage protection.
Build Your Own Plan
What if you’re torn about which plan to pick? What if you want the higher medical coverage the Platinum plan offers, but couldn’t care less about baggage protection or travel accident coverage? Do you buy the most expensive plan just for that one feature?
Good news: You don’t have to! Amex gives you the option of building your own plan.
Essentially, you choose which of the six benefits you want to include and which level of coverage you’re most comfortable with. You want Platinum-level medical protection but Silver-grade everything else? No problem! Did you book your flight using credit card rewards and plan to travel light? Maybe all you want is emergency medical. You can totally do that!
How Much Does American Express Travel Insurance Cost?
The cost of an American Express travel insurance policy varies based on multiple factors:
- The plan you select (or the benefits and coverage you select)
- Your age
- Your state of residence
- The value of your trip
- The length of your trip
The best way to price Amex Travel Insurance is to pop online and grab a quote. But for illustration purposes, I’ve included quotes for a hypothetical couple from Minnesota, aged 36 and 38. They will be traveling for two weeks, with a total non-refundable trip cost of $4,000.
Here’s how their quote looks:
- Basic: $118
- Silver: $198
- Gold: $244
- Platinum: $340
Since their trip costs $4,000, the Basic coverage probably wouldn’t work for them. It only covers a fraction of what they paid, meaning they would be out money if their plans changed suddenly.
The Silver and Gold plans only include fairly low levels of medical coverage, which would be a bit light, unless they already have medical coverage. Realistically, they should probably opt for the Platinum plan.
They might also consider building their own plan by customizing their coverage. If their main concerns are trip cancellation/interruption and decent medical coverage, they could buy the trip cancellation/interruption for $160 and the maximum medical for $64, putting their total at $224.
American Express Travel Insurance: What Isn’t Covered?
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions — If You Don’t Qualify for the Waiver
According to American Express, a medical condition is pre-existing if you’ve shown symptoms of, sought treatment for, or adjusted your medication for in the 90 days before your insurance policy comes into effect. That 90-day period is called the look-back period in insurance speak. And as look-back periods go, 90 days isn’t bad. Sure, some are as sort as 60 days, but they can also be as long as two years.
So, what does that mean for you? If you have a pre-existing medical condition, losses related to it will not be covered unless you qualify for the pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver. That means American Express will go ahead and cover your pre-existing conditions if you meet the following criteria:
- You’re medically able to travel on the date you buy your policy
- The policy premium is paid within 14 days of making your trip deposit
It’s actually pretty generous. The problem is that many people book travel months in advance but don’t think about travel insurance until the trip gets closer. By that time, they don’t qualify for the waiver.
Trips Booked on Points
Trip cancellation and interruption benefits do not protect trips booked using credit card rewards, frequent flyer miles, or anything other than cash equivalent. The only exception is American Express Membership Rewards Points used in the Pay With Points program. So if you want the other benefits but booked your trip using travel rewards, you can always build your own plan and skip trip cancellation and interruption.
Certain Adventurous Activities
This might not apply to many travelers, but be aware that American Express will not cover losses related to flying in any kind of aircraft other than an airline or common carrier flight. That means joyrides in a hot air balloon or helicopter won’t be covered. Riding or driving in any kind of race for which you could win money is also excluded.
Acts of War
As is the case with most travel insurance providers, Amex will not cover losses related to acts of war, whether declared or undeclared. You also aren’t covered if you choose to participate in any kind of riot, civil disturbance, or protest.
Travel to Countries Subject to U.S. Economic or Trade Sanctions
American Express Travel Insurance covers worldwide destinations except countries in violation of U.S. economic or trade sanctions. The Office of Foreign Assets Control maintains an up-to-date list.
American Express Travel Insurance: Who Can Be Covered?
American Express will cover residents of the United States, although coverage might not be available in certain states. Amex operates in other countries and might offer travel insurance solutions, but coverage could differ from what’s described in this review. There’s no upper age limit on coverage. I even got quotes for people over 100!
American Express Travel Insurance: Pros and Cons
|Four plans to choose from||Plans are on the expensive side|
|Can build your own plan||Basic plan is too basic|
|Short look-back period for pre-existing medical conditions||Very high levels of emergency medical coverage are not available|
|Pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver available||Emergency medical coverage only applies to the first 60 days of any trip|
|Emergency medical coverage is reasonably priced, even for seniors||Some benefits may be unavailable in certain states|
|No upper age limit on coverage|
Who Should Buy American Express Travel Insurance?
- Anyone Looking to Customize Their Coverage: Pre-packaged insurance plans can be an easy solution that meets the needs of many travelers. Sometimes, though, they don’t meet your needs. While American Express has four pre-packaged plans to choose from, you can also pick and choose the insurance categories and the level of protection you buy. That way, you aren’t forced to pay for benefits you don’t need.
- Travelers Looking for an All-in-One Solution: While customization can be useful, if you want all the features American Express Travel Insurance offers, the pre-packaged plans are a simple solution. They include trip protection, emergency medical coverage, and convenience features like trip and baggage delay.
- Seniors: Unlike most travel insurance plans, there’s no age limit on coverage, which means seniors of any age can enjoy full travel insurance benefits. This is refreshing to see after reviewing many products that offer seniors reduced or no medical coverage. What’s more, medical coverage for seniors is very reasonably priced.
Who Should Skip American Express Travel Insurance?
- Travelers Looking for High Levels of Medical Coverage: Whether you choose the Platinum plan or build your own coverage, high levels of emergency medical coverage aren’t available. Amex’s highest level of coverage offers decent protection that will suit most people, but some travelers will want more. If that sounds like you, check out Seven Corners.
- Families: I’m not saying families should flat-out reject American Express Travel Insurance. But families don’t get a break on premiums. Some other providers, such as Travelex, cover kids for free when they’re traveling with a covered adult.
- Long-Term Travelers: American Express will cover trips lasting up to 365 days. At first glance, that seems awesome. But unfortunately, the emergency medical coverage only applies to the first 60 days. So, if you’re planning to stay longer than that, you’ll need an alternate solution for medical coverage.
How to Buy American Express Travel Insurance
The easiest way to buy American Express Travel Insurance is through the website. Start by entering your trip details to get a quote, then choose the plan or benefits that work for you. You can contact Amex with any questions if you need help along the way.
How to Make a Claim
If you need to file a claim, you can contact American Express by phone or mail using the contact information listed in your certificate of insurance. You should do this as soon as you can. Certain benefits have different windows for how quickly you need to give notice that you’re filing a claim, so refer to your certificate of insurance to be sure. Once you reach out to American Express, staff will let you know which forms to fill out and what receipts to provide.
American Express Travel Insurance: Is it Worth it?
Real talk: I’m not convinced the American Express Travel Insurance plans are worth the price.
The Basic, Silver, and Gold plans offer relatively low levels of emergency medical coverage, which just isn’t enough for people who don’t have other sources of coverage. That leaves the Platinum plan, which includes a very reasonable level of coverage. The problem is that the Platinum plan includes high levels of travel accident and baggage protection, which drive up the price. Realistically, most people do not need that much baggage loss coverage.
However, the ability to build your own plan by choosing the benefits and coverage that work for you is a versatile and cost-effective option. I think most travelers will find they’re able to build a plan that suits their needs and their budget. I wish more providers would adopt this flexible “take what you want, leave what you don’t” approach. And Amex offers seniors of any age to get full coverage, which is unheard of with travel insurance.
In the end, American Express Travel Insurance plans offer a few things other companies don’t. That could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Have you purchased a policy from Amex Travel Insurance? Share your experiences with us below!