Credit cards for the absentminded

Earlier this week, I lost my fourth fitness tracker. That’s right. Not one, not two, not even three, but four Misfits and Fitbits have inexplicably vanished from my person in the last year alone. Two were forgotten at TSA checkpoints at opposite ends of the country. The others are probably floating about in urban sewage by now.

I’m an idiot, I know.

Luckily, I purchased all four fitness trackers with a credit card that offered purchase protection for lost items. So every time I screwed up, my credit card generously credited the full price of of the lost item(s) to my account. They weren’t even mad when I lost my tracker again, and again, and again …

We know that most credit cards offer purchase protection for damaged or stolen items. But a few go above and beyond to also cover things you just lose.

I’m working on a more comprehensive list, but here are two credit cards I know offer this extraordinary coverage:

American Express – Platinum Charge and Delta Reserve Cards

  • Covers “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.”
  • Coverage period: Up to 90 days after purchase
  • Maximum per claim: $10,000
  • Maximum per calendar year: $50,000
  • Annual fee: $450
  • Exclusions apply. Read the full terms and conditions here or call the number on the back of your card for more information.

I’ve only ever had to file purchase protection claims for lost items with American Express, and they’ve pulled through for me every single time. The claims process was entirely electronic and pleasantly frictionless.

American Express is one of the few (if not only) credit card companies that underwrite benefits through a wholly owned subsidiary, as opposed to an outside contractor, so it makes sense that filing a claim with American Express is so seamless.

Chase – Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred Cards

  • Covers “theft, damage or involuntary and accidental parting with your property.”
  • Involuntary and accidental parting with property means “the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item’s location is known but recovery is impractical to complete.”
  • Coverage period: Up to 120 days after purchase
  • Maximum per claim: $500
  • Maximum per calendar year: $50,000
  • Annual fee: $0 for Sapphire, $95 for Sapphire Preferred

Exclusions apply here too (and probably in every credit card benefits agreement in the universe). Consult the “Purchase Protection” section of your benefits booklet or call the number on the back of your card for more information.

On a related note, I’m not exactly sure what to make of Chase’s oddly specific definition for loss. What does it mean to know the “item’s location”? What does it mean for a recovery to be “impractical” to complete?

For example, I’m pretty sure I’d be covered when I lost two FitBits at airport security. I called and emailed the TSA to see if they had found it, but that shockingly did no good. At that point, I’d say recovery was indeed “impractical.”

But what about the other two times when I lost while walking around outside? Is “outside” a sufficiently descriptive “location” to file a claim? Would Chase want to know about the routes I walked or jogged? I can’t be sure, and I also don’t really want to find out. If anyone has experience working with Chase benefits services, please leave a comment below.

I don’t want to be a clumsy idiot, but it’s nice to have this benefit when I am.

Although these credit cards are wonderful and awesome for covering general absentmindedness, I try not to become too dependent on this benefit. After all, I’m not exactly proud to lose stuff so frequently, and I don’t want to become someone who is just okay with losing stuff all the time.

Also, I think it’s important to note that purchase protection is no substitute for real insurance. Real insurance covers you as long as you pay for it. Purchase protection is a free benefit that covers items only a few months after purchase. In this regard, you should think of this benefit more as protection against the shitty feeling of losing something right after you bought it, rather than more comprehensive coverage like renter’s insurance.

And as I’ve said before, fraud is bad. American Express and Chase will know. They always know. Anyways ..

While I don’t hope you ever have to use this benefit, it’s nice to know you have this option if you do. Let all the absentminded, forgetful, and otherwise clumsy cardholders among us rejoice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This