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What Is Credit Card Purchase Protection?

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If a package is stolen from your front porch, or you purchase an item that breaks as soon as you use it, you could unfortunately be stuck with the bill.

But certain credit cards offer a benefit that protects you against having to eat the cost. Credit cards with purchase protection can help you get your money back, or get a replacement, if your purchase ends up damaged or stolen.

How Does Purchase Protection Work?

If your credit card comes with purchase protection, you may be eligible for repair, replacement or reimbursement of lost or stolen items that you purchased with the card.

Coverage varies a lot between card issuers and specific cards, but generally it includes new items that are damaged, defective or stolen within 60 to 120 days of your purchase. Used items and objects that can expire, like antiques or batteries, are not generally eligible.

Purchase protection is secondary coverage, meaning it can only be used after you've exhausted all of the other coverage you have available. That could include renters insurance, homeowners insurance, car insurance and any reimbursement available from the vendor.

To take advantage of purchase protection, make sure you made your purchase with an eligible credit card. If you need to file a claim, you'll have to contact the creditor and file within a set timeline. You may also need to submit additional documentation, like receipts, photos of the damaged item or a police report for items that were stolen.

Who Offers Purchase Protection?

Purchase protection may be offered as a benefit through your credit card network, such as Visa or Mastercard. The amount of coverage for each card can vary, and certain credit cards may even be excluded, but here's what's generally available from major networks.

Purchase Protection by Credit Card Network
American ExpressDiscoverMastercardVisa
Which Cards Are Covered?MostNoneSomeMost
Duration of Coverage90 daysN/A90 days180 days
Coverage Limit
Per Incident
$1,000N/AVaries$1,000 to $10,000
Coverage Limit
Per Year
$50,000N/AVaries$1,000 to $20,000

Best Credit Cards for Purchase Protection

As you can see, the coverage you get with purchase protection varies. If you're looking for a card with purchase protection, be sure to consider coverage limits and the length of time you're covered. You'll also want to weigh other factors, like cash back, annual fees and travel rewards, that may also be important to you. Here are some cards that offer great, all-around benefits:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a solid rewards card that comes with purchase protection of up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account, for 120 days. As a new cardholder, you can earn 80,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (worth $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards). You'll also earn 2 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. The annual fee is $95.

American Express® Gold Card

Your purchases will be covered for 90 days on up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per year with this card. (If the loss is due to a natural disaster, however, you will only be able to claim $500 per event.) The $250 annual fee is hefty, but comes with enticing rewards: You'll earn 4 points for every dollar spent on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1 point per dollar), and 3 points for every dollar spent on flights booked with airlines or on amextravel.com. As a new cardholder, you can also earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 6 months. Terms apply. Find out if you're matched with this offer at Experian CreditMatch™.

Ink Business Cash® credit card

This business card has no annual fee, and you'll get 120 days of purchase protection on each eligible purchase, up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account. You can earn a $500 cash back bonus with this card when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. You'll also get 5% back on the first $25,000 you spend each year on office supplies and internet, cable and phone services combined; 2% cash back on gas stations and restaurants combined up to $25,000 per anniversary year; and 1% back on everything else.

How Is Purchase Protection Different From Other Coverage?

Purchase protection is just one of the benefits that can cover you for items you buy with your credit card. Your credit card issuer may offer other benefits that reduce your liability for purchases and travel too. Here are some similar but unique perks your card may offer on purchases you make with your credit card:

  • Extended warranty: If you own an item that breaks after the manufacturer's or vendor's warranty expires, extended warranty coverage might help reduce your loss. This coverage can provide you with a replacement or reimbursement for a set timeframe after your initial warranty expires.
  • Price protection: If you purchase an item and then the price drops, price protection can help you get money back. With price protection, your credit card issuer may offer you a refund for the difference between your purchase price and the current cost. Most credit card issuers no longer offer this coverage.
  • Return protection: This could cover you if you try to return an item after the allowed time frame for returns.
  • Cellphone coverage: If you pay for your phone with a credit card that offers this protection, you could be reimbursed for damage or theft of your phone.

Choosing Your Next Credit Card

When you're shopping for your next credit card, check and see if purchase protection and other benefits are available. Just like rates and fees, benefits will vary from one card to the next. Note that credit cards with lots of rewards and benefits usually require higher credit scores.

Not sure what your score is? Take a look at your free credit score and report from Experian before applying. Every application for a new credit card can cost your credit scores a few points, but you can limit the impact by comparing card features using comparison tools like Experian's CreditMatch™ before you start applying.

All information about the Ink Business Cash® credit card has been collected independently by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.