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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.
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:
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 $50,000 annually. When it comes to coverage duration, it’s often from 90–120 days after the date of purchase.
|Card Network/Issuer||Purchase Protection Coverage ($)|
|Card Network/Issuer||Purchase Protection Coverage Duration (From the Date of Purchase)|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Some damage and loss types that are usually excluded include:
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:
Additionally, here are some details on how to start a purchase protection claim with different card issuers and networks.
Best American Express Credit Cards
Chase Credit Cards
Citi Credit Cards
Visa Credit Cards
These are some cards that offer the best purchase protection to cardholders:
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.
But don’t forget about the less exciting protections and insurances, like travel insurance, extended warranties, price protection, and return protection, which may end up saving you quite a bit of cash.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
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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