Best Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

Best Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

 

Which credit cards offer the best purchase protection policies?

Purchase protection refers to reimbursing you for an item you bought with a credit card, but which is then stolen, damaged or lost. As with all credit card protections, there are a few aspects to consider:

  • How a “Covered Incident” is defined
  • Exclusions
  • Coverage limit, per incident and per calendar year
  • How long you're covered, after purchasing the item with your credit card
  • How to get reimbursed, and how easy or difficult the process is

What to Do to Maximize Your Chance of Being Reimbursed

  • Keep Your Store Receipt: In general, most credit card purchase protection policies can require your original store receipt, so be sure to keep this receipt
  • Keep Valuable Items in Hand Baggage: This should go without saying, but you NEVER want to put any valuable items in your checked baggage, since theft from baggage not carried by hand and under your personal supervision is a common exclusion.
  • Promptly File a Police Report if Item Was Stolen: Chase cards generally require a police report filed within 48 hours of the theft

We have friends visiting us in NYC for Thanksgiving, and unfortunately, while they were out and about today, they lost a backpack containing an iPad mini, camera and other items. The iPad mini and camera were bought quite recently–are they covered? They could be, if our friends bought them within the past 90 days using an AMEX Platinum card. 

Here are my picks for the best credit cards for purchase protection:

1. AMEX Platinum / AMEX Centurion Personal and Business Cards

Covers: Theft, damage and loss: “Covered Incident means the loss or theft of, or damage, whether by accident or vandalism, to any one item of property purchased worldwide as a gift or for personal or business use and 
charged to Your Account.”

Exclusions: As with all credit card purchase protection policies, certain things are excluded. While I won't list all of them, some of the major excluded items are:

  • Travelers checks, tickets of any kind, gift certificates, gift cards, cash and cash equivalents
  • Animals, living plants
  • Consumable or perishable items with limited life spans (food, perfume, light bulbs, batteries and the like)
  • Antique and previously owned items
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Household and business fixtures, e.g. carpeting, flooring, tile etc.

Coverage Limit: $10,000 per Covered Incident and up to $50,000 for all Covered Incidents during a calendar year

How Long You're Covered: 90 days from the date of purchase

How to Get Reimbursed: AMEX in general is easiest of the major card issuers to get reimbursed by for purchase protection claims, and AMEX Platinum and Centurion cards are the best cards to have when it comes to these claims. Make sure to contact AMEX within 30 days of the loss:

Also see:


2. AMEX Premier Rewards Card (and Most Other AMEX Annual Fee Cards)

Covers: Theft or damage (does NOT cover loss)

Exclusions: Same as AMEX Platinum and AMEX Centurion, see above

Coverage Limit: $1000 per Covered Incident and up to $50,000 for all Covered Incidents during a calendar year

How Long You're Covered: 90 days from the date of purchase

How to Get Reimbursed: As above, contact AMEX via the online claim center or by phone within 30 days of the loss. AMEX tends to be very good about honoring purchase protection claims that are within 90 days of the purchase date.

 

3. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

Covers: Theft, damage or “involuntary and accidental parting with property.” The last is defined as “the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item's location is known but recovery is impractical to complete” which would seem to include loss, except see the exclusion of “items that mysteriously disappear” below.

Exclusions: Very similar to AMEX Platinum and AMEX Centurion, see above. Also explicitly excludes:

  • Computer software
  • Items that mysteriously disappear. “Mysterious disappearance” means the vanishing of an item in an unexplained manner where there is an absence of evidence of a wrongful act by a person or persons.
  • Rented or leased items

Coverage Limit: $10,000 per Covered Incident and up to $50,000 for all Covered Incidents during a calendar year

How Long You're Covered: 120 days from the date of purchase

How to Get Reimbursed: Call the Benefit Administrator at 1-888-880-4809 within 90 days of loss or damage. “Purchase Protection Claims must contain the time, place, cause and amount of the theft or damage” along with these documents:

  • Completed and signed claim form
  • Credit card receipt for the item
  • Itemized store receipt
  • Police report (made within 48 hours of the occurrence in the case of theft), fire report, insurance claim, or loss report sufficient to determine eligibility for benefits
  • Copy of your insurance declaration page where applicable
  • Documentation of any other settlement of the loss
Whew! That's a lot of paperwork, compared to the usually faster AMEX purchase protection claim process. 


4. United MileagePlus Explorer Card

Covers: Theft, damage or “involuntary and accidental parting with property.” The last is defined as “the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item's location is known but recovery is impractical to complete” which would seem to include loss, except see the exclusion of “items that mysteriously disappear” below.

Exclusions: Same as for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card, see above

Coverage Limit: $10,000 per Covered Incident and up to $50,000 for all Covered Incidents during a calendar year

How Long You're Covered: 90 days from the date of purchase

How to Get Reimbursed: Call the Benefit Administrator at 1-888-880-5844 within 60 days of loss or damage. “Purchase Protection Claims must contain the time, place, cause and amount of the theft or damage” along with the same documents noted above for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card

 
 
5. Ink Bold / Ink Plus Business Cards

Covers: Theft, damage or “involuntary and accidental parting with property.” The last is defined as “the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item's location is known but recovery is impractical to complete” which would seem to include loss, except see the exclusion of “items that mysteriously disappear” below.

Exclusions: Same as for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card, see above

Coverage Limit: $10,000 per Covered Incident and up to $50,000 for all Covered Incidents during a calendar year

How Long You're Covered: 90 days from the date of purchase

How to Get Reimbursed: Call the Benefit Administrator at 1-888-320-9956 within 60 days of loss or damage. “Purchase Protection Claims must contain the time, place, cause and amount of the theft or damage” along with the same documents noted above for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card

Interestingly, cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer lower coverage amounts: only $500 per claim for the Sapphire Preferred.

If you've used any of your credit cards' purchase protection benefits, what was your experience? I'm hoping our friends' purchases were made recently, so that they're eligible for reimbursement for the electronics in their lost backpack.

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