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Rental Car Insurance Options from Credit Cards
Old 02-24-2016, 08:05 PM   #1
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Rental Car Insurance Options from Credit Cards

I was reviewing rental car insurance options recently, and I came across some interesting information.

Many credit cards provide rental car collision damage waiver coverage as long as you have declined it from the rental company. But this is usually offered as secondary insurance, meaning you have to file a claim with your insurance company first, and then the credit card insurance will cover things not covered by your auto insurance company such as your deductible .

However - there are several cards out there that provide this rental car insurance as primary insurance. This means you don't have to get your auto insurance company involved - you can just go straight to the credit card company and let them handle it. Fortunately, I have one of these credit cards, and I will use it next time I rent a car.

If you don't have a credit card that provides primary insurance, but you have an American Express card, you can buy primary insurance coverage for an extra flat fee per rental. It provides some medical coverage as well.

Another point - if you don't carry collision insurance on your personal car(s) at home, then the secondary credit card collision damage waiver insurance becomes the primary insurance.

Of course you have to charge the rental to the credit card for the insurance to be in force. And there are time limits in terms of number of rental days, and some credit cards won't cover certain car models.

Here is an article that discusses cards that provide primary insurance for rentals cars. Credit Cards That Offer Primary Car Rental Coverage
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:10 PM   #2
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I was golfing with a friend yesterday who is a retired insurance adjuster and this topic came up because another friend's son was renting a car. While I understood that collision would be covered I mention that would not cover any loss of use claim by the car rental company and he said that would be covered by your liability coverage. New to me but sort of makes sense.
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I was golfing with a friend yesterday who is a retired insurance adjuster and this topic came up because another friend's son was renting a car. While I understood that collision would be covered I mention that would not cover any loss of use claim by the car rental company and he said that would be covered by your liability coverage. New to me but sort of makes sense.
Some states require rental car loss of use to be covered by your auto insurance policy. TX is one of them.

Many credit card companies do cover loss of use. Whether the rental car company cooperates with what the credit card insurance company wants is another matter. This is a controversial area, but apparently usually gets resolved ..... eventually.
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:18 PM   #4
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One of the fears many have is that while you are getting an accident sorted out, the rental company will tie up your credit card limit with a large charge to your credit card.
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:25 PM   #5
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If you don't have a credit card that provides primary insurance, but you have an American Express card, you can buy primary insurance coverage for an extra flat fee per rental. It provides some medical coverage as well.
I have used this AMEX primary insurance service before, and it can be very economical. IIRC, the fee was $20 per rental period, and the coverage was good. I used it frequently when I rented overseas. I never filed a claim so I can't speak firsthand about their actual service--I'm sure a claim would be more hassle than if one bought insurance from the rental car company (since there's another party involved), but the cost was a small fraction of the cost for the very expensive coverage bought at the counter.
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Old 02-24-2016, 08:28 PM   #6
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One of the fears many have is that while you are getting an accident sorted out, the rental company will tie up your credit card limit with a large charge to your credit card.
Well, I guess you have to decide if it is worth paying an extra $30 a day, or $210 a week to avoid that scenario.

https://www.autoslash.com/blog-and-t...he-bill-for-it

Of the stories I have read where people were billed for repairs, loss-of-use and fees, etc., none of them had their credit card charged. Instead letters and bills were mailed to them. So this threat of having charges piling up on a credit card may simply be a tactic used at the rental counter to intimidate a customer into buying the CDW insurance.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:15 AM   #7
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How does the American express coverage work? Do you have to pay for the rental with that card? Do you then call AA to get it executed?

UhUo....have to get off this post count.......................
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:20 AM   #8
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How does the American express coverage work? Do you have to pay for the rental with that card? Do you then call AA to get it executed?
.
When I did it: You sign up for the program (no charge), then when you use your AMEX card to rent a car, they add $20 to the bill and you are covered. It's been painless, the only "gotcha" for me is remembering to make a conscious decision about which card to use (AMEX when I wanted the coverage, a different card when I was okay with letting another card's secondary coverage provide the protection).
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:30 AM   #9
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As a aside....when I rented two weeks ago, the CSR at the counter told me about their great new benefit, roadside assistance. When I said that was nice, she handed me my rental agreement to sign. I noticed that it was $21 more than I was quoted online. I asked why.......she had added the RA without asking or telling me it was optional. I told her that was dishonest, and that I would never be back (smaller national company that I have used 3-4 times in the past). She told me she had been trained to just add it automatically.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by brucethebroker View Post
As a aside....when I rented two weeks ago, the CSR at the counter told me about their great new benefit, roadside assistance. When I said that was nice, she handed me my rental agreement to sign. I noticed that it was $21 more than I was quoted online. I asked why.......she had added the RA without asking or telling me it was optional. I told her that was dishonest, and that I would never be back (smaller national company that I have used 3-4 times in the past). She told me she had been trained to just add it automatically.
Enterprise is my guess.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:59 AM   #11
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How does the American express coverage work? Do you have to pay for the rental with that card? Do you then call AA to get it executed?

UhUo....have to get off this post count.......................
Yes, you always have to use the card to pay for the rental to get coverage from a specific credit card.

To get the AMEX primary insurance coverage, you need to sign up for their program, and then you are automatically charged the fee when you rent a card with the card. It's like $18 or $25 for each rental period depending on what you have chosen and your state of residence.

Once you sign up, all your AMEX branded cards are in the program. Fidelity AMEX is not because that's not a "true" AMEX card - it doesn't provide the AMEX benefits, just the uses their network.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:08 AM   #12
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Thanks for the AA program info. that sounds like a good plan. I like the idea of coverage for a reasonable price and keeping it off my personal insurance if something happens.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:51 AM   #13
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But this is usually offered as secondary insurance, meaning you have to file a claim with your insurance company first, and then the credit card insurance will cover things not covered by your auto insurance company such as your deductible.
My credit card's "Auto Rental CDW" fine-print says "In your country of residence, this benefit is supplemental to, and excess of, any valid and collectable insurance from any other source." So if I rent in other than the US, then doesn't this benefit become primary? My auto insurance is not even in force in the location I'm going to rent the car. Farther down, it says "this benefit is available in the United States and most foreign countries" (then lists a few countries where no benefit is provided). So that confirms that the benefit should be in force outside the US. For reference, I'm talking about a World Mastercard, and the benefits document is in this PDF.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:05 AM   #14
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Thanks for the AMEX info. I just signed up for it in case I ever need it.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:39 AM   #15
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Don't know if true or not but have been told a number of times by different individuals..............that you need to pay using the card of the primary renter/driver......with their name on the card even if both have the same number........to get the cc insurance.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:11 AM   #16
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I have two credit cards that offer primary insurance overseas. Thanks to this threat. I got rid of all my American Express cards except for the Costco card, it will be cancelled this July or August.


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Old 02-27-2016, 11:57 AM   #17
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My credit card's "Auto Rental CDW" fine-print says "In your country of residence, this benefit is supplemental to, and excess of, any valid and collectable insurance from any other source." So if I rent in other than the US, then doesn't this benefit become primary? My auto insurance is not even in force in the location I'm going to rent the car. Farther down, it says "this benefit is available in the United States and most foreign countries" (then lists a few countries where no benefit is provided). So that confirms that the benefit should be in force outside the US. For reference, I'm talking about a World Mastercard, and the benefits document is in this PDF.
Yes, if you rent a car overseas, this becomes primary.

But you also need to make provision for liability insurance overseas.

And sometimes the rental car company in Europe, for example, requires you to buy their insurance which may void the credit card insurance, even though the car rental company has much higher deductibles. So it gets a little complicated.

Rick Steves has an article discussing that - https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-ti...car-rental-cdw
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:53 PM   #18
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Still, I have always been surprised at the way I get a better deal overseas than in the US.

Last year I rented a car from Avis in England for 11 days and it cost me less than the similar car I rented for 4 days in Oregon the previous month. Both rentals were without any Avis insurance coverages.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:09 PM   #19
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One of the fears many have is that while you are getting an accident sorted out, the rental company will tie up your credit card limit with a large charge to your credit card.
So that is why you should have 2 or 3 credit cards, so you have a choice of which one to use if difficulties arise.

When I limited myself to 2 cards a long time ago, I learned to make one a Visa and the other Mastercard, as some places would not take one or the other.
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Old 03-01-2016, 07:36 AM   #20
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Rick Steves has an article discussing that - https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-ti...car-rental-cdw
Thanks for that link. I just requested a “Letter of Coverage” from my credit card customer service.
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