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car credit cardSo long as you use it to pay for your car rental, your credit card probably offers you more insurance on your car rental than you assumed — and, if nothing else, at least supplements your own car insurance very well. Below is a roundup of coverage (and applicable exclusions) offered by the major credit cards as of January 2014.

One important rule is that none of the major cards include liability insurance as a part of their coverage, with coverage primarily limited to the loss and damage waiver. This typically also excludes personal injury, as well as loss or theft of personal belongings. For liability and other coverage, you will want to make sure you are covered by your auto insurance policy.

Note that coverage may vary based on the type of card you have; we recommend contacting your credit card issuer to double-check its policies before renting.

Mastercard
– All Gold, Platinum, World and World elite cards have coverage; standard cards vary by issuer. The coverage amount is the lesser of the actual repair amount, current market value (less salvage) or $50,000 per incident.

– Vehicle exclusions: Trucks, pickups, full-size vans mounted on truck chassis, cargo vans, campers, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, motorbikes, antique vehicles, limousines, sport utility trucks and vehicles with retail prices exceeding $50,000.

– Country exclusions: Ireland, Israel and Jamaica, and where prohibited by law (World and World Elite have no exclusions).

– Limit on rental length: 31 days for World and World Elite cardholders, 15 days for other types.

– Covered fees: Reasonable towing or storage charges, loss of use and administrative fees when the rental company provides appropriate documentation.

– Secondary coverage: They’ll pick up what your auto insurance doesn’t.

Visa
– All cards have coverage, limited to collision and theft coverage. Coverage is up to the replacement cash value of the rental vehicle as it was originally manufactured, taking into account current condition and mileage.

– Vehicle exclusions: Expensive, exotic and antique automobiles; certain vans; vehicles with an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles.

– Country exclusions: Israel, Jamaica, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

– Limit on rental length: 15 days in your country of residence, 31 days outside it.

– Covered fees: Reasonable towing charges and valid administrative and loss of use charges imposed by the auto rental company.

– Secondary coverage: They’ll pick up what your auto insurance doesn’t.

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American Express
– All cards offer coverage (specific coverage varies by card), except the Delta Options card (which is no longer being marketed).

– Vehicle exclusions: Exotic cars, trucks, pickups, cargo vans, full-size vans, customized vehicles, vehicles used for hire or commercial purposes, antique cars, limousines, full-size sport utility vehicles, sport/utility vehicles when driven “off-road,” off-road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, recreational vehicles, golf or motorized carts, campers, trailers and any other vehicle which is not a Rental Auto.

– Limit on rental length: 30 days.

– Country exclusions: Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand (for small business cards, coverage is for the U.S., its territories and possessions only).

– Covered fees: Reasonable towing or storage charges, loss of use and administrative fees when the rental company provides appropriate documentation.

– Secondary coverage: They’ll pick up what your auto insurance doesn’t. You can pay $24.95 for Premium Car Rental Protection, which offers primary coverage plus additional benefits for up to 42 consecutive days of coverage. Coverage varies by card.

Discover
– All cards have coverage, varying from $25,000 to $50,000, depending on the card.

– Vehicle exclusions: Off-road, antique, limited edition, high-value (more than $50,000) and high-performance motor vehicles; trucks; recreational vehicles; campers; pickups; and mini-buses.

– Country exclusions: None.

– Limit on rental length: 31 days (45 days if you are an employee of the company that provided the card for use).

– Covered fees: None except on the Escape card, which covers reasonable towing fees to the nearest collision repair facility.

– Secondary coverage: They’ll pick up what your auto insurance doesn’t.

Diners Club
– All cards offer Primary Collision Damage Waiver Insurance when the entire cost of a car rental is charged to a Diners Club Card. There’s usually no need to file a claim with your own insurance company, so your personal insurance premium won’t be affected. The insurance covers physical damage and theft of the vehicle, reasonable loss of use charges and reasonable towing charges, and includes Secondary Personal Effects insurance.

– Protection applies to rental cars with manufacturer’s suggested retail price up to $100,000 for covered damages.

– Vehicle exclusions: Trucks, pickups, full-size vans mounted on truck chassis, campers, off-road vehicles, recreational vehicles, antique vehicles, trailers, motorbikes, vehicles with fewer than four wheels and some SUVs.

– Limit on rental length: 45 days

– Country exclusions: Australia, Italy and New Zealand

– Covered fees: Reasonable towing costs and loss of use charges. Administrative fees are not covered.

Car Rental Secrets We Bet You Don’t Know

– written by Ed Hewitt

One Response to “Rental Car Coverage: What Does Your Credit Card Offer?”

  1. BCP says:

    Does the Business Platinum Am Ex with $450. Card fee Per year provide any extra insurance over other Am Ex cards……heard it did have stronger insurance for up to 90 days. ?.

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