Best Credit Cards For Car Rental Insurance
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One of the most valuable benefits that credit cards offer is car rental insurance. Without this benefit, travelers would be forced to either rely on a personal automobile insurance policy they might have or purchase costly insurance from the rental car company. At $15 to $30 per day, these optional policies are the equivalent of paying $5,000 to $10,000 a year for insurance, often just to rent an economy car that’s not worth much more than that.
Fortunately, rental car insurance is included with most credit cards at no additional cost. To use this insurance, you must simply pay with your credit card and decline the optional insurance offered by rental car companies. In addition, you must comply with the terms of the policy that comes with your card. For example, many credit cards that offer rental car insurance exclude vehicles rented from certain countries. In addition, all rental car insurance will exclude certain types of vehicles, such as exotic cars, race cars, commercial vehicles and antiques.
Another distinction that is important to understand is primary versus secondary insurance. With primary insurance, you must submit a claim to your personal insurance first, and your credit card will only cover what remains. But with primary rental car insurance, your credit card’s policy will cover damages first.
Here are some of the best credit cards that offer rental car insurance:
As a Visa Signature card, the Capital One Venture Rewards offers a rental car collision damage waiver that is valid throughout the world, with the exception of Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland. Coverage is valid on most vehicles including minivans and sport utility vehicles, so long as you use your card and decline the optional coverages offered by the car rental agency.
In addition, new cardholders receive 40,000 bonus miles after using their card to spend $3,000 within three months of account opening, and two miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles are worth one cent each as statement credits toward travel purchases including airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees.
The Citi Prestige card is a premium travel rewards card that offers worldwide rental car insurance with up to $100,000 in benefits. The coverage is primary when renting outside of the United States, and secondary for rentals within the United States. In addition, there are no countries excluded from the rental.
Besides car rental insurance, this card offers competitive travel rewards and a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after new cardholders make just $4,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 3x points on air travel and hotel purchases, 2x on dining and entertainment, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points are earned in Citi’s ThankYou Rewards program and can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards and travel reservations or transferred to airline miles or Hilton HHonors points.
This card also offers multiple other cardholder benefits including medical evacuation coverage, last baggage protection, trip cancellation and interruption coverage and trip delay protection. Furthermore, you can use Citi’s Price Rewind service to receive a refund if you find a lower price advertised for one of your purchases. Travel benefits include a Priority Pass Select membership, a fourth night free hotel benefit and a $250 Air Travel Credit each year. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express offers secondary coverage as standard, but it has an optional policy that is worth considering. The standard policy excludes vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand. It also excludes many luxury cars, sports cars, pickup trucks and full size vans. However, American Express also offers cardholders an optional insurance policy that can be a bargain.
The American Express optional premium rental car insurance costs $19.95 or $24.95 per rental, not per day for vehicles rented up to 42 consecutive days (up to 30 consecutive days for Washington State Card Members). This coverage is primary and extends to more types of vehicles than the standard coverage. The $24.95 option offers $100,000 worth of coverage for damage or theft of your rental vehicle. In addition, there is no deductible with this policy. And when you enroll in this option, your card is automatically charged the premium with each rental.
This card also offers new applicants 40,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. Other cardmember benefits include a Delta SkyClub membership and access to both the Priority Pass Select lounges and the American Express Centurion lounges. Cardmembers also receive a $200 annual air travel credit and and a $100 credit towards the application fee of Global Entry program, which includes TSA PreCheck access for faster security screening. You also receive elite status with Starwood and Hilton hotels along with Avis, Hertz, and National car rentals. There is a $450 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.
About Jason Steele
Jason Steele is freelance journalist and an expert on the credit card industry. He contributes to several of the top personal finance sites, and his work is syndicated to mainstream outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider.