[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Citi Prestige and American Express Premier Rewards Gold cards. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If your credit card has been stolen or used without your consent to make purchases, you’re usually protected. Under federal law, consumers who report credit card fraud or theft cannot be held liable for more than $50 (and often aren’t even faced with paying that penalty, depending on the circumstances). If the credit card isn’t present at the point of sale of the purchase(s) in question, the cardholder cannot be held liable for any damages. When it comes to credit card theft or fraud, you should be covered in most cases as long as you catch the activity fairly quickly.
But what if you’ve been ripped off or incurred property loss in other ways? What if your property was damaged or stolen, or a retailer sold you faulty goods or won’t honor a return? In short, what if you suffer losses after the point of an intentional purchase?
In these situations, purchase protection that comes with many credit cards may be able to help. Purchase protection plans can cover your purchases against accidental damage, theft or even price gouging.
Here are four of the best purchase protection cards on the market. (Note: These plans only apply when you use that card to make the purchase.)
1. Citi Prestige Card
The Citi Prestige card (which you can read our review of here) comes with a long list of benefits, and an advanced purchase protection policy is one of them. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, as well as American Express and Chase, advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) It offers damage and theft protection for all purchases up to $10,000 per item, with total coverage at $50,000 per year. It even extends manufacturer warranties for 24 months on qualifying items. If you try to return an item within 90 days and the merchant won’t accept the return, you could even be reimbursed the purchase price.
Citi Prestige even offers a search feature that looks for lower online prices for certain registered items you buy. If they find the same item within 60 days of the purchase date, you could be reimbursed the difference. And, if you can’t attend a sports or entertainment event you purchased tickets to using your Citi Prestige credit card for a number of reasons — including your ticket being stolen or the event being cancelled with no refund — the plan could have you covered.
With the American Express Premier Rewards Gold credit card (which you can read a review of here), you’ll be protected if any of your purchases are accidentally damaged or stolen for up to 90 days from when you bought them, for $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per year. Unlike the Citi card, American Express also covers jewelry. American Express has a few purchase protection policies, so if you have a different American Express card, you may want to consider looking at your terms and conditions to see if you have any purchase protection coverage.
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card (which you can read a review of here) has excellent travel rewards and comes with purchase protection.
With this card, you may be able to receive a replacement (or be reimbursed) for lost or damaged items for up to 120 days, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account annually. They may also reimburse you if a product your purchased is advertised for less, in print or online, up to $500 per item and $2,500 total per year.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also extends eligible warranties by an additional year. If a merchant won’t accept a return within 90 days of purchase, Chase may reimburse you for the purchase, up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year.
4. United MileagePlus Explorer Card From Chase
The United MileagePlus Explorer Card (which you can read a full review of here) is another credit card option for travelers. You can be reimbursed for certain items if a retailer won’t accept returns, within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year. The card may also reimburse you for stolen or damaged purchases for 120 days, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year.
This card offers extended warranties for an additional year and offers price protection up to $500 per item and up to $2,500 per year.
Most of these credit cards have a long list of excluded items and scenarios covered by the purchase protection policy. If you ever do need to file a claim, most cards will require you provide specific paperwork, including original receipts, insurance claims and even police reports in the case of theft. You may want to carefully review the details of any purchase protection plan before you choose a credit card.
Applying for a New Credit Card
If you’re looking to add a new piece of plastic to your wallet, there’s a lot to consider, like what you want your card to offer you and if you can afford an annual fee. To start the process, you may want to get an idea of what types of cards you can qualify for. To do this, you can take a look at your credit scores, as many premier credit cards are only available to those with good or excellent credit. (You can see two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.) If, after you review your credit, you discover your scores aren’t quite where you’d like them to be, you may want to consider doing what you can to repair them. This includes things like paying down debts, disputing any errors you discover on your credit reports and limiting the number of inquiries on your credit until your score rebounds.
At publishing time, the Citi Prestige and American Express Premier Rewards Gold cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.