How it compares:
Out of the credit card travel insurance offers we compared (NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, St George, ANZ and American Express), NAB's was strong in the areas of income protection and overseas medical/dental coverage.
However, if you have a pre-existing medical condition of any sort (or any past medical problem that a new condition could be traced back to) this insurance is absolutely not for you -- it flatly excludes all pre-existing medical conditions.
NAB Platinum's rental car excess coverage is good, though you can only hire ordinary passenger cars. Bad points include lackluster coverage for lost/stolen/damaged items and weak rebates for transport delays (with the amazing exclusion that nothing will be paid for delays due to a carrier rescheduling services!)
Not all travel is covered: you have to pay for 100% of the trip's overseas travel tickets on the NAB Platinum card. If you pay a cash deposit at a travel agent, for example, your trip would not be covered by the insurance.
The cardholder, their spouse and dependent children for overseas trips up to six months of consecutive travel after leaving their Australian home. There is also limited domestic travel insurance, and domestic hotel burglary insurance.
Good or bad? Average for platinum cards -- though the domestic hotel burglary insurance is a stand-out that other cards don't have.
When the policy kicks in:
In order for the insurance cover to be activated, 100% of the cost of the trip's overseas travel tickets must be charged to the NAB Platinum credit card, or paid for with NAB Rewards points. (Prior to May 2011, NAB only required 50% of the trip costs to be charged to the card, but required all itinerary items to be charged, not just the overseas travel tickets).
Good or bad? The 100% paid-on-card requirement is restrictive, though at least you only have to charge the overseas transport cost to your card; other costs throughout the trip can be paid with other means. ANZ Platinum is better overall -- it only requires $250 worth of trip costs to be charged to the card to activate the insurance.
If you run into trouble on your trip, and need to use the policy, you'll have to pay $200 per claim type. (However, there's no excess for expenses due to travel delays, resumption of trip after returning to Australia due to illness or injury, rental car excess reimbursement, accidental death, hijacking, missed connection, kidnap, funeral expenses, if you need replacement of travel documents, credit cards, travellers cheques, or the emergency replacement of your clothes and toiletries due to delayed baggage.)
Good or bad? It's an average excess amount for platinum card travel insurance -- though there are quite a few claim types with no excess as outlined above, which is good. Some insurers are much better though -- Westpac Altitude Platinum and St George Platinum only charge one $200 excess per "event" which can include multiple claim types. An independent travel insurance policy from Travel Insurance Direct would only charge $100 per claim, and it would only cost you $25 at the time of purchasing the policy to remove the excess entirely.
Unlimited coverage of "reasonable" medical costs, and a cash-in-hospital allowance of $100 per day, up to a maximum of $15,000. Unlimited emergency dental treatment -- to relieve urgent pain only.
Good or bad? Excellent -- it's good that dental treatment is unlimited, as this is almost always limited to a fairly low dollar value in travel insurance policies. The cash in hospital maximums are the highest of all the cards we looked at.
Pre-existing medical problems:
This insurance policy curtly states: "This coverage does not provide any benefits for pre-existing medical conditions."
Good or bad? Very bad -- if you have had any medical problem in the past (or currently) which could be linked to an illness that you get overseas, you won't be covered for medical costs. NAB is the only credit card issuer in the ones we looked at that flatly excluded any pre-existing medical conditions.
This policy also pays loss of income benefit for people who are injured during an accident overseas of up to $1,000 per person per week for up to 13 weeks. The payments will only start four weeks after you were meant to go back to your job, though, and the insurance doesn't cover illness -- only accidental injury. This is about 75% of the average annual salary of $1,250 per week, so it won't cover everyone's salary, but it will certainly help enormously with essential bills.
Good or bad? Excellent - some credit cards like Westpac and American Express Platinum Edge don't offer it at all, and most cards that offer income protection have lower limits than NAB offers -- up to $13,000 per person who can't go back to work due to accidental injury while overseas.
Death while travelling:
The policy provides $500,000 for the death of a cardholder or spouse in a transport accident, or $20,000 for the death of a child.
Good or bad? Average for a platinum card, though Commonwealth Bank Gold or Platinum cards pay $1,000,000 if the cardholder dies in a transport accident (though only $150,000 for their spouse), while ANZ Platinum cards offer great coverage for both, offering $750,000 for death of the cardholder or spouse.
Accidental death (not related to a transport accident, up to 12 months after some other sort of related accident) are $150,000 for the cardholder and $75,000 for their spouse, or $50,000 dependent children who die.
Good or bad? Excellent -- the best non-transport accident accidental death cover in all the cards we looked at.
Up to $20,000 in total for a whole family for property loss or damage while travelling, or up to $15,000 per person. Per item limits of $2,000 apply though (or up to $6,000 for a laptop). There is no coverage for cash or tickets.
Good or bad? Bad. Although the per person limit of $15,000 is about average for a platinum card insurance policy, the low per-item claim limits mean you might not get your money back for valuables like jewellery, and this is one of the few credit card travel insurance policies that provides no cover at all for lost or stolen cash.
$5,000 while overseas. NAB's policy says you must only drive a hatchback, 4WD, sedan or stationwagon (however, that does cover most passenger cars). There's also a $1,250 rental car excess cover for Australia.
Good or bad? Good - the limit is generous, and most rental car excesses will be below $5,000. Just don't hire a mini-moke, campervan or some other unusual kind of car! $1,250 within Australia is something that's not seen on most credit cards, but most rental car excesses are much higher -- so it may not help you much, but could take the sting out of a larger excess if you had to pay it.
After 6 hours' delay, the insurance will pay out up to $250 per person, to a total maximum of $500. After another 12 hours, you get the same benefit again. If you miss a connection, NAB will also reimburse up to $3,250 per family in expenses.
Good or bad? Bad - ANZ Platinum, Westpac Altitude Platinum, St George Platinum, and American Express Platinum Edge cards will reimburse $400-$500 per person after a four-six hour travel delay. However, it is good that NAB offers extra coverage for missed connections -- with a generous limit, because some cards don't offer this.
Toll free number:
You can call the insurer reverse charges from anywhere in the world, so you won't have to pay for international phone calls, in case of emergency while overseas.
Good or bad? Good.
What they don't cover:
You need to read the whole policy to see everything that's not covered, but some things that particularly stood out to us were: unreasonable medical/dental costs, cash, anything you haven't taken "reasonable precautions" to protect; any fragile or brittle item (except cameras, binoculars, spectacles and contact lenses); any damage caused by 'atmospheric conditions' or floods; clothes while being laundered; anything to do with someone else's psychiatric condition; cancellation/delays by travel carriers rescheduling services; anything related to terrorism; anything caused by strikes by staff of any entity; any time you expose yourself to danger; any civil insurrection or uprising against the government; many adventure sports; a travel provider going out of business;
Good or bad? All insurance has a lot of exclusions. The key is to read up on them before leaving on your trip, and plan around them (though obviously there are some things, like terrorism, that nobody can plan to avoid). The one that worries us in this policy is the use of the word "reasonable" in association to the unlimited medical cost coverage. This leaves what level of care you get in a medical emergency up to what the insurer considers is reasonable.
NAB's platinum credit cards with travel insurance:
- NAB Qantas Platinum Card
annual fee $290.00, interest rate 20.24% purchases / 20.24% cash advances
NAB's website about platinum credit card travel insurance:
Full NAB Platinum Credit Card travel insurance policy PDS document:
This article was written based on the product disclosure statement available on the NAB's website on 1st December, 2010. Insurers can change the wording of policies they are selling at any time, so be sure to read the product disclosure statement yourself before signing up. Additionally, this article should not be taken as formal financial advice. You should consult a qualified financial planner.
Dan is a tech enthusiast who frequently qualifies for enhanced airport security screening due to the number of cords and gadgets stuffed into his cabin bag.