What is Theft and Damage Protection?

Ever have a brand-new purchase break or stolen? It’s not a good feeling and you might end up feeling cheated. Many products don’t come with insurance unless it’s offered at an additional cost. Luckily, credit card companies offer something known as “theft and damage protection,” which may help you get reimbursed for some or all of the value of the stolen or damaged goods purchased with your credit card.

Curious to find out more? Let’s take a look at how theft and damage protection programs work and how using Sift could help take the sting out of stolen or damaged goods. 

What is Theft and Damage Protection?

Also known as “purchase protection,” “damage protection,” or “purchase security,” some credit cards provide a form of insurance in case your item is stolen, lost, or accidentally damaged. The catch is that these events must meet certain conditions and occur within a given time period. These terms and conditions vary based on the credit card issuer’s policies.

It’s important to note that theft and damage protection is different from “extended warranty coverage,” which provides more comprehensive coverage for damages; however, it does not include theft protection. For more information on extended warranty coverage, click here.

How am I Covered?

To be able to be reimbursed by this benefit, read over your credit card’s benefit statement. The fine print may be confusing, but you should be able to get an idea of what purchases are eligible for reimbursement. Not every item you purchased with your credit card may be protected.

Additionally, if you have a primary insurance policy (i.e. homeowners insurance), your item may be covered under that protection. Theft and damage protection kicks in after an insurance claim has been made. Essentially, theft and damage protection is a supplement to your pre-existing insurance policies.

Comparison of Common Coverage

Theft and damage protection has become an industry standard to entice consumers to make purchases with their credit cards. Here’s how theft and damage protection benefits are similar:

Theft and damage protectionWithin 90 days of purchase
Reimbursement per claim$500
Maximum Reimbursement$50,000 (per year/cardholder)
Theft coverageIncluded
Damage coverageIncluded
Gift CoverageIncluded
Coverage termsCoverage is secondary to pre-existing warranty’s and insurance policies

Some companies also offer additional perks.Here’s how some credit companies differ:

  • MasterCard offers 120 days of theft and damage protection (90 days for NY residents only)
  • MasterCard and American Express offer $1,000-per-claim maximums
  • American Express covers lost purchases for The Platinum Card® and Delta Reserve Credit Card cardholders

Coverage generally differs based on the issuer and other qualifications. Here are a few examples of popular credit cards and the theft and damage protection they offer:

  • The Blue Cash Preferred® Card (from American Express): Theft and damage protection is available for all cardholders
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Theft and damage protection does not come automatically with the card. Instead, you must qualify for the Visa Signature program.
  • Discover it® Card: Theft and damage protection benefits come automatically with the card, no qualifications required.

Checklist for Eligibility

To make a claim with your credit card company, you’ll need some documents to ensure the legitimacy of your loss. Some of these include:

  • A store receipt including the item’s purchase
  • A credit card statement with the purchase
  • A copy of the claim settlement from your primary insurance company (if applicable).
  • A copy of your primary insurance declaration page (if applicable)
  • A police report (for theft)

Depending on the nature of your loss and the credit card company’s needs, they may ask that you provide other documentation to verify your claim.

Exceptions to Coverage

If you thought it would be easy to know what’s covered, here’s an example of the fine print for American Express:

Certain purchases are not covered which includes but is not limited to: travelers checks, tickets of any kind, negotiable instruments (including, but not limited to, gift certificates, gift cards and gift checks), cash or its equivalent; animals or living plants; rare stamps or coins; consumable or perishable items with limited life spans (including, but not limited to, perfume, light bulbs, batteries); antique or previously owned items; motorized vehicles and their parts or accessories, and watercraft, aircraft, and motorcycles or their motors, equipment, parts or accessories; stolen or damaged property consisting of articles in a pair or set. Coverage will be limited to no more than the value of any particular part or parts, unless the articles are unusable individually and cannot be replaced individually, regardless of any special value they may have had as part of a set or collection; items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use; permanent household and/or business fixtures, including, but not limited to, carpeting, flooring and/or tile; business fixtures, including, but not limited to, air conditioners, refrigerators, heaters; and hospital, medical and dental equipment and devices.

To find out more about each credit card issuer’s fine-print and FAQs, click on the links below:

If you’re confused as to whether your Keurig coffee maker is fully covered in the event of a malfunction, you’re not alone. That’s why the makers of Sift have included automatic features to update you on your item’s coverage eligibility and the amount of coverage for the item. This takes out the guesswork and uncertainty when you run into trouble!

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