Whether you need to rent a car to get you around town while yours is in the shop, or you rent a car while on vacation, your rental car needs to have insurance. Some credit cards offer rental car insurance that will cover the car while you’re driving it. This can make it easy to get the coverage you need for peace of mind while you’re behind the wheel. Take a look at what credit card rental car insurance is all about and how it works.
How Does Credit Card Rental Car Insurance Work?
The most important thing to know about getting credit card rental car insurance is that you need to pay for the rental costs plus any fees with the card that offers the benefit. You can start by reserving the rental with the card, and then when you show up at the rental agency to get the car, use the card to pay.
If the car rental company offers their insurance or a collision damage waiver, some credit card companies require that you decline it because they will provide it. This waiver is an extra charge that you would pay to the rental car agency that covers any damage to the rental vehicle. Declining this coverage doesn’t mean that the rental car doesn’t have coverage; it just means that your credit card will provide coverage if you get into an accident.
How Do I Know If My Credit Company Provides Car Rental Insurance?
The best way to find out if your credit card company provides car rental insurance is to call them or log into your account online and look for a link that explains your benefits. Since benefits may change over time, you’ll want to check to make sure you still have coverage every time you rent a car.
The list of benefits will clearly state whether or not the credit card company provides car rental insurance, and it will tell you what types of coverage you have, and it should explain the coverage limits.
What Kind of Coverage Do I Get With My Credit Card?
Credit card companies can provide one of two types of rental coverage:
- Primary Rental Car Insurance. If your credit card provides primary insurance, you can file a claim directly to the card company’s benefits department if you get into an accident. This type of coverage is a good benefit to have because you don’t have to go through your personal auto insurance policy and pay the deductible. It also prevents you from having an accident on your insurance record, which often increases your premium.
- Secondary Rental Car Insurance. Secondary coverage is more common. This type of coverage kicks in after your personal auto insurance. After you file a claim with your regular auto insurance company, if any covered expenses exceed your coverage limits, the credit card company will pay. Some companies will also reimburse you for any deductible that you have to pay on your regular policy.
What Coverage Is Excluded From Credit Card Rental Insurance?
If your credit card company offers car rental insurance, it’s a good idea to take advantage of it, but is also important to know that it’s not full coverage. Certain coverages are not included:
- Liability insurance. Some credit card companies provide a small amount of liability insurance, but the limits are low, and it often won’t cover medical expenses for anyone involved in an accident. There are two types of liability coverage. Bodily injury liability insurance covers medical expenses, lost income due to injury, and ambulance. Property damage liability insurance covers damage to other vehicles and property damage.
- Personal accident insurance. Your credit card will not cover personal accident insurance. This coverage pays hospital bills for you and the passengers in your car and other medical expenses.
- Coverage for certain luxury or sports cars. Most credit cards exclude high-end sports cars and luxury or specialty vehicles, such as limousines, from their rental coverage.
- Extended rentals. If you need to drive a rental car for an extended period of time, it most likely will not be covered by your credit card.
What Are Some Credit Card Companies That Offer Car Rental Insurance?
Many of the top credit card companies offer car rental insurance. For instance:
- Chase Freedom Flex. The primary cardholder of the Chase Freedom Flex card can get rental car coverage, as can any authorized user on the card. It’s secondary coverage, but Chase does offer reimbursement for your deductible.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card offers similar coverage to the Freedom Flex, but the damage waiver is primary coverage. This means you can file a claim for damage to the rental car right through Chase.
- Capital One Venture Rewards. This card offers secondary coverage for up to 15 consecutive days on a rental car. It will pay up to the actual cash value of a vehicle. You can get this coverage by paying a $95 annual fee.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to rent a car, they will provide up to $75,000 of primary insurance. You can also earn up to 10X points on rentals, and they cover rentals in most countries.
Key Takeaways for Credit Card Rental Car Insurance
Now that you know what credit car rental insurance is and what it covers, there are some things you need to keep in mind before you rent a car for your next road trip, so you can get the most out of your coverage.
First, remember to pay for your rental in full with the credit card that offers the rental car insurance. If you don’t use the card, the rental will not be covered. For example, if you have a rental because you were in an accident and your insurance company paid for it, you won’t receive the credit card rental car insurance benefit.
You usually can’t double-dip. This means that if your credit card provides the same coverages as the rental company’s collision damage waiver, you can’t have both. Find out what your card company covers before you head to pick up the rental.
Credit card rental car insurance is a helpful benefit offered by some companies. If you rent a car, you can take advantage of the extra coverage, but keep in mind that you might still have to use your regular auto insurance as well.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.