Credit Cards » Credit Card Guides » What is Credit Card Rental Car Insurance And How It Works?
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What is Credit Card Rental Car Insurance And How It Works?

Rental car insurance offered by many credit cards usually covers damages to, theft, or any other covered disaster to a rental car.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Lorraine Smithills
Lorraine Smithills

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Table Of Content

What is Credit Card Rental Car Insurance?

Rental car insurance is a popular type of insurance that covers damages to, theft, or any other covered disaster to a rental car. And the good thing is that you might not need to buy this insurance as your credit card can provide it. It means you do not need rental car insurance from the rental company.

Rental companies will only allow you to rent a car with this basic rental car insurance coverage since it is equally important as your automobile insurance. Besides, it helps you avoid being finically liable in case of an accident or theft.

Therefore, if you are planning to rent a car for a road trip or your other errands this fall, it could be wise to check if your credit card covers rental car insurance. Contacting your credit card provider in this situation would help as it helps also learn about their requirements and other conditions.

how rental car insurance credit card work
(Photo by Pickadook/Shutterstock)

How Rental Car Insurance Work on Credit Card?

Your credit card will cover the rented car insurance if you pay the full rental cost and fees with the card. Usually, you (the cardholder) should be the primary renter. However, depending on your rental insurance contract, your credit card might cover other drivers.

Also, you should decline the rental company's insurance coverage in order to to use your credit card rental car insurance. It is important to know what your credit card covers; primary or secondary coverage, or both.

  • Secondary coverage comes in when you exhaust your personal automobile insurance policy. For instance, if you are involved in an accident with a rental car, you'll need to file a claim with your automobile insurance provider before filing a claim with the credit card provider.
  • Primary coverage allows you to file a claim immediately by calling the provider without submitting a claim to a personal automobile policy. Typically, you'll find a number on the back of your credit card.

Benefits & Limitations Of Cards With Rental Car Insurance

Besides protecting yourself against damages, injuries, natural disasters, or any insured loss, credit card rental car insurance provides other benefits. 

On the other hand, the coverage might possess some limitations. 

Pros
Cons
No multiple claims
Might not cover all vehicles
Increased points
May not cover all the expenses or accidents
Upgrade status (Depends on the card you use)
Fulfillment of certain requirements
Discounts And Rewards
Might exclude some international rentals

With credit card rental car insurance, you can only file a claim with the details of the happening, including photos of the accident, a police report, and other proof. Therefore, it saves you the time and filing of other claims.

You increase your spending every time you use a credit card for a rental car, earning you points you can redeem in the future. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® are amongst the credit cards with upgraded status in their rental car insurance.

With the best travel credit cards, you can access different cars at various locations and car upgrades.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: one of the best credit cards for travel insurance
Chase Sapphire Reserve: one of the best credit cards for travel insurance (Photo by photobyphotoboy/Shutterstock)

Rental car insurance credit cards usually offer high rewards rates and extra travel perks such as annual credit, reimbursement on TSA Precheck, travel insurance, and more. 

Many credit card providers do not cover some vehicles, including limousines, mopeds, large trucks, and antique cars. Typically, they cover typical/standard vehicles.

Some credit cards offer coverage for specific accidents or expenses, which may make you incur additional costs when uncovered mishaps happen.

You need to meet specific requirements, including paying the full cost and fees using the credit card and declining the rental company's rental car insurance coverage to receive the credit card's coverage for the rented car.

Failure to meet such requirements might deny you financial coverage.

Several card issuers offer car rental insurance worldwide. However, these providers might exclude some countries, and it is good to check with them to know the countries they'll cover beyond the USA.

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How to Compare Coverage Between Cards?

Various factors matter when choosing a credit card rental car insurance. Some of the things to consider when comparing coverage between cards are:

  • The type of coverage offered: Choose a credit card offering primary coverage since you can file a claim immediately in case of an accident, theft, or any covered mishap. However, these cards' annual fees are usually much higher.

Although secondary coverage is an affordable option, it is best if you have a comprehensive personal automobile policy that you first exhaust so that your rental car insurance covers the extra costs suffered.

  • Location: Not all credit card providers provide rental car insurance in every part of the USA. It would be good to ensure that your card provider allows coverage in the places you visit.
  • Time period: Many credit card issuers offer rental car insurance for a certain duration, especially between 15-31 days. Choose a credit card that suits the duration you need to use the rented car.
Credit Card Rental Car Insurance
Credit Card Rental Car Insurance is a significant benefit of many credit cards (Photo by Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

How to Know if My Card Offers Rental Car Insurance?

Although several credit card providers, including Amex and Chase, offer rental car insurance, it is vital to confirm what your card covers.

Therefore, check if your credit card offers rental car insurance by reading through the guide to benefits when you receive the card by mail, or check out the details on the card page on the official issuer website.

Also, you can call the provider's customer care or visit the physical office to inquire about them. Normally, you'll find the customer's phone number printed on the back of the credit card. Besides, you may call the car insurance provider's phone number to confirm the benefits associated with your credit card.

How to Choose the Right Card for Car Rental Insurance?

Finding the right credit card for car rental insurance might take a lot of work. The factors below may help you weigh them to settle on the right card issuer.

  • Compare their offerings: Choosing the right credit card for car rental insurance starts with comparing the different offers by the card issuers. The internet has a lot of information about them; thus, search them online to see the coverage they offer regarding car rental insurance.
  • Check customer feedback: The good thing about today's social media platforms is that you might find out what other people say about the company's services. Therefore, it would be wise to visit different websites or social media platforms for various credit card providers to find the one that satisfies customer needs.
  • Annual fee: Some providers charge high annual fees, while other cards are affordable. Therefore, consider a credit card that provides valuable benefits for the annual fees paid.
  • Use an insurance agent/broker: You can use the services of an insurance broker/agent to help you choose the right credit card provider for your rental car insurance. Usually, an insurance broker/agent might know more about insurance providers than you, and they can help guide you in choosing the right card issuer.
  • Choose a card with primary coverage: A credit card with primary coverage is more beneficial as it covers all the financial liability arising from the covered accident compared to secondary coverage, which only covers the extra costs after your automobile insurance has covered the other losses.
  • Choose a credit card that offers coverage in many places: A credit cover covering a rented car within the USA and outside the country might be good. It brings the flexibility to travel to any place worldwide and rent a car for moving around and your trips.
  • Earn rewards: With some credit cards, you may earn points, cash, or miles as you spend. Therefore, it would be prudent to choose a card with these rewards.
  • Interest rate: You can settle on a credit card with a low-interest rate for accumulated interest on the balance carried to the next month. Doing this might reduce interest rate expenses.
  • Limitation on time: Credit card rental car insurance usually ranges from 15-31 days. Thus, it may limit your car usage needs when renting a car for more than 31 days.
Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee
Best For

Venture X Rewards

1X – 10X 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars when booking via Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights and 2 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases
75,000 miles 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
$395
Review

Amex gold

1X – 4X 4X points at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
60,000 points 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership
Review

1X – 10X

5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels, car rentals and dining when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit. Also, earn 3x points on dining at restaurants and travel (after meeting the $300 travel credit), then 1x points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

60,000 points 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$550
Review
united explorer
1X – 2X 2x per $1 spent on United purchases, hotel accommodations, restaurants & eligible delivery services and 1x per $1 spent on all other purchases
50,000 miles 50,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
$95 ($0 first year)
Review

amex platinum

1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership
Review

chase_sapphire_preffered

2X – 5X 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3x points on dining, online grocery purchases and select streaming services. 2x on other travel purchases. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
60,000 points 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$95
Review

Is It Hard to Get Credit Card Rental Car Insurance?

You may get rental car insurance if you adhere to specific requirements. First, find out if your card covers a rental car coverage if you already have a credit card. If no, apply for one from your preferred card issuer and ensure that it offers such benefits.

If your card offers this feature, there are 2 things to do:

  • You should pay for the costs and fees of the rented car using that particular rented car to receive the linked benefits.
  • Ensure that you're the primary driver. However, you may add other drivers to the rental car contract for coverage.
  • Another important requirement is to decline any insurance coverage provided by the rental car insurance company

. Meeting the above requirements can lead you to have a functioning credit card rental car insurance. You can be eligible for coverage against the insured injury, theft, or damage in case they happen.

What Should You Do If You're In An Accident?

  • Consider if you or other people in the vehicle are safe.
  • Check your rental car insurance cover – Check the specific requirements of your credit card provider to ensure that the accident is covered.
  • Call the credit card issuer – Call your card's provider to report the happening of the accident. The notification of the accident may help the provider prepare to handle your case. Also, call the car rental company to inform them of the accident.
  • Get a claim form and fill it in – You should fill in the required information on the claim form and ensure to attach proof of the accident and other documents. This might include photos of the accident, a police report, a car rental receipt, and a driver's license.

The documents' availability and the accident's location might determine the time it will take to submit the documents and proof. Thus, it would help to start as soon as possible to submit the claim in time and get the needed help. This stepwise process might reduce the back and forth between you and the provider and allow smooth recovery of the loss.

How to Maximize Credit Card With Rental Car Insurance?

You can maximize your card's benefits through the following:

You can pay the cost of the rented car and other associated costs using your credit card. This allows you to receive insurance coverage if an insured mishap (damage or theft) happens.

Most travel credit cards allow you to earn points and miles depending on your earning spending capabilities. Thus, the more you spend, the more points you earn. 

Also, ask the card issuer if it is possible to redeem such points to pay for the rental car insurance, as it might help you save money in the future.

Earn 5x on flights when booking a trip with Capital One Venture X
Earn 5x on flights when booking a trip with Capital One Venture X (Screenshot from Capital One app)

Be thorough and careful when choosing your preferred travel credit card provider and utilize its services long-term. This may help you earn rewards that you may redeem for payment of rental car insurance in the future or use for other services.

Having other people (family or friends) on your list might help cover the rented vehicle in case such individuals use the car. Therefore, you may avoid incurring additional costs in case something happens to the case.

Top Offers

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

FAQs

Most credit card rental car insurance companies might not cover third-party liability as they are meant to protect against financial liability resulting from the insured events.

It means that you may incur costs relating to damages or injuries to another person.

Nonetheless, you can extend the rental car insurance through your automobile policy or add the third-party liability to the rental company insurance to cover the third party.

Hilton Honors Aspire by American Express, and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite are examples of hotel and airline credit cards that may cover rental car insurance.

They might combine to give you more benefits as you can use them anywhere and earn rewards. Besides, they might off other additional perks to maximize your benefits.

Some Amex cards provide rental car insurance, such as the Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card. 

Also, ensure to find out the details of the insurance's coverages. Although the company's cards offer secondary coverage, they provide primary coverage through Premium Car Rental Protection.

Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards offer rental car insurance. The difference is that, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you pay more annual fees than the affordable preferred card.

Costco Anywhere Business Visa and Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi offer rental car insurance. A Costco card by Citi provides coverage against the insured loss worldwide.

This means you can make a claim outside the US with its primary coverage. It shields financial liability in case of accidents or theft before using your automobile insurance. 

Capital One Venture X is amongst the premier travel cards in the market and also offers rental car insurance. 

Besides its primary coverage, Venture X from Capital One can earn you a maximum of 10 times miles for every dollar for the rented car booked directly through the company.

It may be unlikely for a credit card issuer to cover rented cars booked through Turo, a car-sharing service. For this reason, contact your card issuer to confirm if it covers your Turo trip.

No. Some visa credit cards offer primary and secondary coverage for rental car insurance.

Thus, confirming with your card provider is important to find out if the visa credit card offers rental car insurance coverage

Picture of Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine Smithills

Lorraine is a freelance finance writer with years of experience in the banking sector and after a successful career in one of the largest retail and commercial financial services providers. She has a passion for helping people with less financial confidence to get control of their money through budgeting, saving, and responsible credit practices.
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Top Offers

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
1X – 3X 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets and 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
50,000 miles 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first six months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

amex platinum

Rewards Plan:
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership

amex brilliant

Rewards Plan:
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
Welcome Bonus:
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership

Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum card

Rewards Plan:
Up to 3x miles 3 miles per $1 spent on United purchases immediately after earning your $125 annual United purchase credit, 2 miles on all other travel and select streaming services, 1 mile on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 miles 60,000 bonus miles + 500 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

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