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By Jason Steele / Credit.com
November 30, 2015
Johnnie Davis—Getty Images

Are you getting the most out of your credit cards? Most credit card users focus primarily on key terms such as the interest rate and annual fees, and rewards in the form of points, miles and cash back. But beyond these important terms and valuable rewards lies another realm of credit card perks that few customers bother to explore, such as those that protect your purchases and others that insure you against travel problems.

Here are eight credit card perks you may not be taking advantage of.

1. Rental Car Insurance

Representatives at rental car companies have become experts at convincing travelers to purchase the additional insurance that they sell. But not only is this additional coverage expensive, chances are most people who pay for their rental with a credit card are covered by their card. To be sure, check with your credit card issuer that your card offers this kind of policy, often called a collision damage waiver. In addition, be sure to find out what is excluded, such as certain types of trucks and luxury cars, and vehicles rented in some countries.

2. Purchase Protection

Many credit cards offer some form of purchase protection that covers eligible purchases against losses due to theft or accidental damage. For example, the Discover it card (full review here) will cover your eligible purchases for up to $500 if they are damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase. View your card’s guide to benefits to see if it offers similar protections, and note any excluded items such as parts for motorized vehicles and antiques.

3. Return Guarantee

Some credit cards offer a return guarantee policy that can protect you when a retailer will not accept the return of a covered item. For example, American Express offers a return protection policy on many of its cards that will cover eligible items within 90 days of the date of purchase.

4. Price Protection

When a covered item experiences a price drop after a purchase, your credit card may be able to refund the difference.

5. Extended Product Warranty

Many credit cards offers some form of extended product warranty coverage that can add an additional year to the manufacturer’s warranty of covered items. Typically, these policies will double the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year and add an additional year to warranties that are already one year or longer. Just be sure to save the receipt for your purchase and a copy of your credit card statement in case you need to file a claim.

6. Trip Cancellation Coverage

Many travel rewards credit cards offer some form of trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (full review here) can reimburse you for up to $5,000 of non-refundable costs if your trip should be canceled due to the illness or death of a cardholder or family member traveling with the cardholder. It also covers you in the event of delay or cancellation due to severe weather, jury duty or for a change in military orders.

7. Lost Luggage Coverage

This benefit can repair or replace your items that are lost or damaged while traveling on common carriers such as aircraft, buses and trains.

8. Global Entry Application Reimbursement

One of the most time-saving perks offered to travelers is membership in the Global Entry program, operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Members are able to quickly clear customs and immigration upon arrival in the U.S. by aircraft. In addition, being a member affords travelers access to the expedited security offered by the TSA’s Pre-Check program. Thankfully, there are several credit cards that offer a reimbursement for the $100 application fee.

These perks may exist on a credit card you already have or you may decide you want to apply for a new credit card in order to take part. For example, frequent fliers may find the trip cancellation coverage and Global Entry reimbursement attractive enough to add a new tool to their wallet. Before applying for any credit card, however, it’s important to know where your credit stands so you don’t apply for cards you’re unlikely to qualify for. You can check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

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.

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