Thursday, May 16, 2024

Which Credit Cards Offer Rental Car Insurance

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Primary Vs Secondary Rental Car Coverage

Major credit card companies provide free rental car insurance

Whats the difference between primary and secondary CDW coverage from your credit card?;

Primary coverage protects you without the need to file a claim with your auto insurance. Secondary coverage, while still helpful, only kicks in after your own insurance. It typically picks up any costs not covered by your insurance, such as the deductible. Because secondary coverage requires you first to file a claim with your personal auto insurance, this option can lead to higher insurance rates for years to come after a covered claim.

Many credit cards offer secondary CDW coverage for no extra cost. When you have this coverage, you can skip the costly car rental agency option. Both primary and secondary coverage usually have a maximum amount they will cover that either meets or exceeds the entire rentals total cash value.;

Its helpful to know that there are two scenarios where secondary coverage becomes primary. First is if you dont own a vehicle . Second is if you travel outside the U.S., where your personal auto policy doesnt apply.

In The Event Of An Accident When Should I Submit My Claim

You must submit your insurance claim to Visa as soon as possible or, at max, within 45 days of the accident. If you do not submit a claim within 45 days you may void your eligibility for rental car insurance through Visa, leaving you to foot the bill on your own.

If you decline CDW from the rental company and opt for insurance through your credit card, you will be responsible for providing Visa with the required documentation to file a claim in the event of an accident, which will include:

  • Official Visa claim form
  • Any other documents requested by Visa;

Am I Still Covered If I Use Reward Points To Purchase My Rental

Certain Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, for example , allow cardholders to use rewards to cover their rental fee while still receiving insurance. Conversely, some cards may require you to use your card to pay for the rental in full before becoming eligible for insurance. Always check with your issuer to fully understand the terms and conditions .

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Best Personal Amex Credit Cards For Car Rental Insurance Coverage

Most American Express credit cards come with complimentary secondary CDW coverage and allow you to purchase optional Premium Car Rental Protection.

This means that American Express credit cards are basically created equal when it comes to CDW coverage.

As a result, it makes sense to use an American Express card that delivers premium travel benefits and earns flexible points or hotel rewards when renting a vehicle. Heres what we suggest:

  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

UP’s Bonus Valuation*:$2,200Must Reads: For more info on the Amex Platinum, see our thoughts on the cards incredible benefits and perks, which includes travel insurance coverage, car rental insurance and so much more. Check out our full review to see why it’s one of the best travel credit cards.

For luxury travel benefits, its difficult to beat the Amex Platinum card.

Plus, youll receive special benefits, discounts, and elite status;with Hertz, Avis, and National Car Rental.

Airline tickets and hotels earn 5 valuable Membership Rewards Points per dollar spent, and points can be transferred to travel partners.

Use the complimentary secondary CDW that comes with the card, or opt for Premium Car Rental Protection for primary coverage.

Hot Tip:;Dont miss our dedicated article for more information on the car rental and insurance benefits of the Amex Platinum card.;

What Makes Credit Cards Good For Car Rentals

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The best credit cards for car rentals give consumers an array of benefits, although individual card offerings can vary. Most travel credit cards offer some level of auto insurance coverage for starters, and many offer additional travel insurance benefits like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay coverage, and travel accident insurance.

Travel credit cards in this space often let you earn valuable rewards for each dollar you spendand the potential for bonus points on car rentals or other travel expenses.;

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Some Countries Are Excluded

Although the exact list of excluded countries varies from card to card and issuer to issuer, the most common exceptions Ive noticed are Australia, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica, Northern Ireland and New Zealand. Regardless of where youre traveling, its best to call the customer service number on the back of your card to ensure your destination is covered when renting a car outside the United States.

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What To Watch Out For

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If you want to take advantage of your credit cards card rental insurance, there are several conditions and exclusions you should be aware of prior to renting a vehicle:

  • You must be a Canadian citizen with a valid drivers license.
  • You must charge the full amount of the rental to your credit card.
  • Some types of vehicles are usually not covered, such as pick-up trucks, commercial vans, antique cars, motorcycles, and luxury cars .
  • Travel in some countries may not be covered by your credit cards car rental insurance, e.g. in countries for which the Canadian government has issued a formal travel advisory.
  • Your credit card account must be in good standing.
  • 31-48 days of rental is the maximum that your credit card will likely insure you for.
  • If you book your car rental as part of a travel package, youre still required to charge the full amount of the rental to your travel credit card.
  • If your car rental is provided due to winning a contest, your car rental insurance would apply if you have a history of paying your car rentals with the credit card that includes car insurance.
  • In most cases, if you book your car rental with points, then your car rental insurance would apply assuming the points you use come from the credit card that offers credit card car insurance.

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If you have credit card debt, transferring it to;this top balance transfer card;secures you a 0% intro APR into 2023! Plus, youll pay no annual fee. Those are just a few reasons why our experts rate this card as a top pick to help get control of your debt.;Read The Ascent’s full review;for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

United Explorer: Best Airline Credit Card

I-Team: Top Three Credit Cards for Rental Insurance

Double your points on travel and dining while flying while you earn miles to redeem in the United MileagePlus program. The card adds the primary rental car insurance coverage, a free checked back, and even discounts for in-flight purchases. Whether you fly domestic or international, youll land huge savings.

Recommended Credit Score;


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Thats $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.


  • Miles may be worth more than competing cards
  • Extra Miles for hotels, restaurants, and delivery services


  • Only the first year has no annual fee.


  • Get 25 percent back as a statement credit on food, beverages, and Wi-Fi aboard United flights.
  • Save up to $140 per round trip with a free first checked bag.
  • Get two complimentary United Club one-time passes per year.

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Best Airline Card: United Explorer Card

Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.

$0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, eligible delivery services, on hotel stays, and on United purchases. Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary.
Foreign transaction fee
  • Why We Chose This Card:
  • Pros & Cons:
  • Highlights:

The United Explorer Card makes it easy to earn miles redeemable for flights in the United MileagePlus program, but youll also qualify for some excellent travel benefits as a cardholder. These include primary auto rental coverage good for up to the cash value of your rental for most rental agreements within the U.S. and abroad. If you want to use one card with benefits for flights and rental cars, this is a good one to consider.

  • Miles are worth more than most other major U.S. airline’s, according to our calculations

  • Lots of great travel perks, such as lounge passes and free checked bags

  • Extra miles can be earned on more than just flight purchases

  • Annual fee is waived the first year, but its still a notable cost

Does Your Credit Card Offer Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Insurance

Many credit cards, including all Bank of America consumer credit cards, offer some insurance for car rentals.1 Call your card issuer, or review your card benefits guide, to find out about the specific terms, conditions and exclusions. For example, certain kinds of vehicles may not be covered.

To be eligible for your credit cards coverage, you must generally make and pay for the car reservation with the card. You must also decline the rental agencys collision damage waiveras well as any offers for coverage, which you might get from third parties when you book the car.

Some rental agencies request a letter of eligibility when you use your credit card for coverage. Check with your card issuer to determine how you can get one if its needed. Also confirm how the coverage works if someone else is driving the car. Most coverage through a credit card extends to all drivers authorized by the car rental company, but you should check to be sure.

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How Does Coverage Vary For International Rentals

Rentals in some countries may be excluded. For example, standard Visa and Mastercard coverage excludes rentals in Israel, Jamaica and Ireland. American Express wont cover in Italy, Australia and New Zealand. Aside from excluded countries, the good news is that if your personal auto policy doesnt cover you outside the United States, your secondary credit card coverage could become primary coverage automatically.


Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite

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This premium travel rewards card from Scotiabank comes with a $139 annual fee. It is one of the best no foreign transaction fee cards in Canada.

Car Rental Insurance

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite protects you against rental car damage and theft for up to 48 consecutive days and a maximum of $65,000.

Other benefits of the card include:

  • 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 or more in the first 3 months
  • 2 Scotia Rewards points per $1 spent on groceries, dining, entertainment and transit
  • No FX transaction fee
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption and flight delay insurance
  • Delayed and lost baggage insurance
  • Travel accident insurance against loss of life or dismemberment
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty

Learn more about the card in this review.

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How Rental Car Insurance On Credit Cards Works

To take advantage of rental car insurance from your credit card, decline the collision damage waiver from your rental car company.; If you damage your rental car, you need to submit a claim to your credit card company if you have primary coverage, or submit a claim to your auto insurance, then a claim for any left over expenses to your credit card company.

What Types Of Rental Vehicles Are Not Covered

The following vehicles are not covered by Auto Rental CDW: expensive, exotic, and antique automobiles; certain vans; vehicles that have an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles.

  • Examples of excluded expensive or exotic automobiles include: the Aston Martin, Bentley, Bricklin, Daimler, DeLorean, Excalibur, Ferrari, Jensen, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Porsche, and Rolls Royce. However, selected models of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered.
  • An antique automobile is defined as any vehicle over twenty years old or any vehicle that has not been manufactured for ten years or more.
  • Vans are not covered, with the exception of those manufactured and designed specifically as small group transportation vehicles people including the driver).

For questions about a specific vehicle, call the Benefit Administrator at 1-800-348-8472, if you are outside the United States call collect at one of our toll free numbers.

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How To Make Sure Youre Covered

Car rental insurance isnt automatic. The details may vary by policy, but in general, to qualify youll need to do three things:

  • List your name as the primary driver
  • Pay for the rental with the credit card that has the CDW policy youd like to use

If you ever do need to file a claim, call the benefits administrator for your card. You can contact them by calling the number on the back of your credit card. Theyll walk you through the process of filing a claim.

Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Rental Car Insurance: What your credit card does and doesn’t cover

The Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver is coverage that reimburses you for damage to your rental car or theft of the car while the vehicle is in your custody.

It can also cover loss of use of the rental car, which car rental agencies can charge you if the vehicle is damaged or stolen.

Car rental companies require you to purchase CDW/LDW coverage before you take possession of the rental car, unless you have the coverage elsewhere.

Several credit cards provide CDW coverage at no extra charge, and if you have this coverage you can decline the expensive car rental company option.

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Other Things To Know About Primary Rental Car Insurance

  • You should pay for the rental with your credit card and decline the rental car agencys CDW to activate your cards policy. You may have to book the rental with your card as well.
  • Your cards CDW only covers theft and damage to your rental car it will not cover damages to property or another car, or injuries to yourself or another person.
  • Certain countries as well as certain vehicle types may be excluded from your cards rental car coverage check your cards terms and conditions closely for exclusions.
  • In case of an accident, be sure to hold onto all documentation including the accident report and a copy of your rental agreement and report the incident to your benefit administrator as soon as possible. There may be a time limit on the policy.

While these are some common limitations, your cards benefits guide will contain a detailed list of limitations. You should familiarize yourself with your benefits guide before you rent a car.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

The Capital One Spark Cash for Business card may no longer be available.

Does Discover Card Cover Rental Car Insurance

Nobody wants to pay more for a rental than they have to, especially when add-ons like insurances may already be available through your Discover card car rental insurance policy! You can potentially save big without sacrificing coverage by taking advantage of benefits provided through Discover. The only question is; does your Discover card cover rental car insurance? Use the information below to get an idea of whether or not you qualify so you can get the best rate possible on your next rental. ;

Discover Card Rental Car Insurance
Card Type
Off-road vehicles, pickup trucks, mini-buses, antique/exotic vehicles and any coverage > $50,000 Yes Italy, Ireland, Northern Ireland

IMPORTANT:Terms vary by issuing bank and there are some restrictions that may apply depending on the specifics of your rental that could violate the policy under your Discover car rental insurance coverage. See the tips below to get a better idea of whether or not you’ll qualify for coverage and always call your card provider directly for the most accurate information.;

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How To Use Credit Cards For Rental Car Insurance

Some rewards credit cards offer primary rental car coverage, which you can use in place of your own insurance. When your credit card offers primary rental car coverage, you can decline the paid coverage at the rental counter and rest assured youre covered up to the limits of your policy.

You should also note that car rental insurance, which is often called a Collision Damage Waiver, can be primary or secondary. While primary coverage kicks in before other coverage you have, secondary coverage can only be used after you file a claim and exhaust benefits from any other insurance you have, including your own auto insurance policy.

To get the most out of car rental coverage offered by a credit card, you need to know what kind of coverage you have, understand any limitations and use your credit card to pay. You also have to be clear that youre declining the paid coverage offered by the rental car company and that you list everyone who might drive the car on the rental agreement.

While any credit card that offers car rental insurance can be useful, some cards offer a better rental car benefit than others. The following cards offer the best primary coverage among travel credit cards on the market today.

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