Car Rental © CreditDonkey
Here is some information to help you educate yourself about car rental insurance, as well as a breakdown of the coverage to look for when evaluating credit cards. This information will help you identify a credit card that not only meets your purchasing needs but also provides reliable car rental insurance.
Know the Facts
Here are some basic facts that typically apply to most rental insurance coverage offered through credit cards. You’ll want to keep them in mind the next time you seek out a rental vehicle:
- Decline the coverage offered by the car rental company. Most credit card policies will require that you have declined the car rental company’s protection in order for your cardholder protection to kick in.
Questions to Ask
Many consumers assume that their credit card car rental insurance is going to kick in with any vehicle rental. But this typically isn’t the case. Before you book your vehicle, you’ll want to brush up on the details of your credit card’s insurance plan so you know the answer to the following questions:
- What types of cars are covered? (Some plans exclude pick-up trucks, antiques, exotic cars and even some SUVs and vans.)
When to Opt for Additional Coverage
credit cards not only offer the typical secondary coverage, but also have optional primary policies that can be purchased for the duration of your upcoming trip. If you don’t have personal auto insurance or if your plan is bare-bones, you may want to keep this benefit in mind when selecting a credit card with car rental insurance. This isn’t a widely offered perk, so you will have to research a bit to find a card with optional primary coverage. But you’ll be thankful for the coverage should you fall victim to an unfortunate travel event.
The additional coverage is typically offered for the fraction of the price charged by rental companies. And, it will provide more than just the collision coverage offered through the complimentary secondary car rental insurance. This means that if you are in an accident with bodily injury, or if there is non-collision damage (like someone keying the car), you’ll be covered.
Searching For a Card
Keep in mind that this benefit isn’t just tied to credit cards that are labeled as “travel cards.” Many other traditional, platinum, rewards and cash-back cards also provide this benefit. so you can still get the other perks that you prefer in your credit card.
Once you have located a card that fits your needs, you can contact the credit card issuer (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa) to get the rundown on the car rental insurance coverage.
Coverage not only changes from network to network but also may be tied to individual cards, so you’ll want to make sure you get the full details on each individual card. Many of the networks provide information directly on their website, but they also provide a phone number to call so you can get answers to your specific questions. For your convenience:
- Visa. Call (800) VISA-911
Editor's Note: be careful, a lot of blog post, summaries and tables you find online might be out of date. Actual policies are typically loaded with exclusions. It's best to contact the issuer to get a copy of the benefit policy/agreement to verify who is eligible, what is covered, how to activate the benefit, and what is not covered. Plus, in the event you need to file a claim, it's good to have a copy of the benefit policy/agreement on hand.