Lost luggage? Stolen cellphone? Rental car accident? Your credit card can help. For free.

When you apply for a major credit card based on a low-interest introductory rate, sign-up bonus, or other special offers, you may be so excited to get those perks that you overlook the card’s many other benefits.

Did you know that many credit cards come with travel and shopping protections or additional benefits that can make your life better and easier while saving money along the way? Below are seven credit card benefits you may want to start using right away.

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1. Purchase Protection

Purchase Protection

If an item you buy with a credit card gets stolen or damaged, you may be able to get some of your money back through the credit card company’s purchase protection benefit.

For example, some credit cards offer purchase protection against damage or theft on items you bought with the card for up to 120 days after. American Express offers purchase protection on its cards for up to 120 days and $1,000 per incident, up to $50,000 per year.

2. Extended warranty

Extended warranty

Next time you purchase an expensive appliance or device, you may want to charge it on your credit card. That’s because many credit cards offer extended warranty protection.

For example, when you use a covered Visa Signature card for eligible purchases, the card’s warranty protection doubles the term of eligible U.S. manufacturers’ warranties up to one additional year on warranties of three years or less.

3. Primary auto insurance coverage

Primary auto insurance coverage

Most car rental companies try to sell you a collision damage waiver (CDW), secondary auto insurance on the rental vehicle for the amount not covered by your personal insurance if you’re in an accident during the rental period. However, a couple of credit cards come with primary coverage, which means you don’t have to file a claim with your personal insurance provider for an accident with the rental vehicle.

For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserved card benefits include primary (no liability coverage) car rental insurance. If you have an American Express card, you have the option to purchase primary auto rental insurance for a flat rate ranging from $12 to $25 per rental period (not per day) to cover theft or damage to a rental vehicle.

4. Travel and luggage insurance

Travel and luggage insurance

If you cut your vacation short or cancel due to sickness, severe weather or other covered situations, the credit card you used to purchase the trip may cover reimbursement.

Some credit cards offer reimbursement of prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses up to as much as $20,000 per trip, depending on the card.

5. Complimentary concierge services

Complimentary concierge services

Ever wish you had a personal assistant to book a hotel in just the right location, make dinner reservations and do the legwork to score tickets to sporting events and concerts? You may already have this service through your major credit card.

For example, Visa Signature cards offer free concierge services to manage the details of everything from everyday entertainment to exotic vacations. Select Citi cards also offer a concierge service benefit.

6. Cell phone protection

Illustration of mobile phone

You may not have to purchase insurance from your wireless carrier for that expensive smartphone if you pay your monthly bill with a credit card that offers cell phone protection.

Several credit cards offer up to $600 protection (minus a deductible) for eligible claims on cell phones that are damaged or stolen.

7. Better access to events and concerts

Better access to events and concerts

Next time you’re ready to purchase concert or event tickets, check your credit card benefits first for advance access to ticket sales, along with food and beverage discounts.

For example, certain Chase credit cards have Chase Select Experience, a benefit that offers preferred seating, pre-event receptions at select events and exclusive dining experiences.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC