Updated May 26, 2021 | Published Sep 13, 2019 • 8 min read
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At a glance
Credit card purchase protection offers an extra measure of safety if something you purchase breaks or is stolen. Terms vary by card, issuer, and network, but per-item coverage typically tops out at $500–$1,000, and coverage duration tends to extend from around 90–120 days after the item was purchased.
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If you’ve ever bought something only to have it break or get stolen, you know the disappointment and money it can cost if it’s not covered by a warranty.
All’s not lost, though, if you have a credit card with purchase protection. Read on to learn more about this benefit and how it can save you money when you’d typically be out of luck.
What Is Credit Card Purchase Protection?
It’s a benefit some credit cards offer to help protect eligible purchases against accidental damage, theft, and sometimes loss (depending on the card).
There are various guidelines as far as what’s covered, how long the coverage lasts, and the amount covered, which depend on the specific card used for the purchase. Most Amex, Mastercard, and Visa cards offer purchase protection of some type.
For most cards, to be eligible for coverage, you must charge some portion of the purchased item to your credit card account. Some programs require you to charge the entire purchase to your card.
The reimbursement method usually depends on the card and the issue with the item. Most likely, you’ll experience one of two methods:
Repair or replace the item. A damaged item may be repaired, rebuilt, or replaced wholly or in part. A stolen item may be replaced. You will be notified of the decision to repair, rebuild, or replace your item after making a claim.
Reimbursement for the original purchase price. You may be reimbursed for the covered item, up to the amount spent for the purchase. Any maximum coverage amounts will apply.
What Credit Cards Offer Purchase Protection?
The purchase protection coverage you get depends on your specific credit card issuer, network, and card.
Coverage usually ranges from approximately $500–$1,000 per item, up to $50,000 annually. When it comes to coverage duration, it’s often from 90–120 days after the date of purchase.
Up to 120 days in most states for accidental damage or theft
Up to 90 days in New York, Indiana, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Northern Mariana Islands
In addition to the above coverage, Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, and Delta Reserve cardholders also get up to 120 days for lost items (90 days in New York, Indiana, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Northern Mariana Islands)
File a claim within 30 days of the incident, or as soon as reasonably possible
Typically up to 90 days; check with your specific financial institution
File a claim within 60 days of the incident, or as soon as reasonably possible
Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.
How to Know If Your Card Has Purchase Protection
If you’re trying to figure out if your credit card offers purchase protection, you may be able to see your card benefit details via your online account dashboard (depending on your card issuer). Or, you can check your cardholder Guide to Benefits, which is typically sent to you along with your card.
You can also call the customer support number on the back of your card. They may be able to tell you whether or not your card offers it, or they may have to send you a Guide to Benefits.
Who Gets Purchase Protection Coverage?
Usually, primary and additional cardholders (like authorized users) who are U.S. residents (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) are eligible for purchase protection coverage. Gifts bought by a cardholder on an eligible card are often covered. Additionally, items purchased with rewards points are typically eligible.
How Long Does It Take to Close Out a Claim?
The length of time to get your funds (or a returned product) varies depending on the card and the details needed to process the claim (e.g. they may need to follow up with you and request more information). Usually once all the information is received and confirmed, and items are returned if necessary, claims are often processed within 5–15 days.
Do You Also Need to File an Insurance Claim?
If you have any applicable personal insurance (such as homeowner’s, renter’s, or automobile) related to the item, you may be required to file a claim with your insurance company, and to submit a copy of any claims settlement from your insurance along with your purchase protection claim form.
What’s Usually NOT Covered?
The exclusions sections of purchase protection programs are lengthy. So, before you buy something and expect it to be covered, it’s a good idea to review the details of your specific card. That way you won’t be in for a disappointing surprise later on.
Some common purchases that usually aren’t covered include:
Animals and living plants
Antiques and collectibles
Boats, aircraft, automobiles, and any other motorized vehicles and their motors, equipment or accessories, including trailers and other items that can be towed by or attached to any motorized vehicle
Jewelry and watches in your baggage unless they are hand-carried and under your personal supervision
Perishables and consumables
Collectibles like rare stamps or coins
Perfumes and cosmetics
Items with a limited life such as rechargeable batteries
Rented or leased items
Traveler’s checks, cash advances, tickets, gift cards
Used or pre-owned items
Business fixtures, including, but not limited to, air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters and/or any item that cannot be removed without causing damage to the structure
Items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use
Some damage and loss types that are usually excluded include:
Damages resulting from normal wear and tear
Items that mysteriously disappear, meaning they vanish in an unexplained manner
Items lost during any illegal behavior
How to Make a Purchase Protection Claim
If you have something break or get stolen and want to use your purchase protection, here’s what you’ll need to do. Again, purchase protection policies will vary by credit card and the process may differ slightly from what you see here.
You can always call the phone number on the back of your credit card to ask specific questions about your purchase protection eligibility, and learn how to get started filing a claim.
You don’t usually have to sign up or enroll for purchase protection. Usually, you’ll just need to file a claim. The general steps to take often include:
Filing a police report if an item was stolen.
Contacting your card issuer immediately when the theft, damage, or loss occurs.
Having your receipt as well as any incident or police report available when calling to make a claim.
Presenting a copy of your credit card statement to show the account number and that the purchase was made on the card with coverage.
If the item is damaged, keeping the item (as you may need to send it in to process the claim).
Completing the requested paperwork and forms as well as following up on any additional information requested.
Additionally, here are some details on how to start a purchase protection claim with different card issuers and networks.
American Express Purchase Protection Instructions
You can file a claim or check the status of a claim by:
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
$300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
$120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
$120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.
1X ThankYou point per dollar on all other purchases
80,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 in first 3 months (worth $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com)
You cannot receive the signup bonus points if you received a new cardmember bonus or have closed any of these cards in the last 24 months: Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®
Purchase protection is just one of the useful benefits you may get depending on which cards you have in your wallet.
Card issuers love to advertise the big flashy benefits, like travel credits and airport lounge access. When considering a new credit card, you’ll want to weigh all the features including the annual fee, APR, rewards, and those interesting perks.
Ellen Sirull is a writer with over 15 years of experience, covering topics from personal finance to identity protection to credit and credit cards. Her work has been featured on CNBC, New York Daily News, Fox News, Yahoo! Finance, AOL Finance, Experian and the Identity Theft Resource Center. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling as much as possible and is always thinking about how best to invest her own money for retirement and her family’s well-being.
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