Pros and Cons of Using Credit Card Rental Car Insurance

Car Rental Insurance Pros and Cons

Weighing the Options of Using Credit Card Rental Car Insurance

If you’re like most people while looking for a car rental, you probably feel uncertain every time a car rental agent asks if you’d like to add on rental insurance. You want to protect yourself, but you also don’t want to waste your money.  Fortunately, if you regularly use a credit card, then purchasing add-on rental insurance may not be necessary. That’s because most credit cards offer car rental insurance as one of their travel benefits.  Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of using the credit card car rental insurance – will you really be covered sufficiently?

How to Decide if Credit Card Car Rental Insurance is Right For You

Car Rental Insurance Pros and Cons

Americans put a big priority on travel and statistics show that traveling by car is on the rise. From 2016 to 2017, the number of Americans taking a road trip rose from 22 percent to 39 percent.  So it only makes sense that consumers want to protect themselves in case of an accident.

If you’re interested in finding a credit card that offers the best car rental insurance, you’ll want to do your homework first.  Not all credit card rental car insurance policies are the same, so you want to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Here are a few things you should consider

Type of coverage: Many credit cards only offer secondary rental coverage. This means that the credit card company will only pay for what your auto insurance won’t cover. You’ll want to look for a card that offers primary insurance, which eliminates the need to file a claim with your insurance company. American Express and Chase both offer credit cards with primary rental insurance

Length of coverage: You’ll need to know how long your coverage will last. Most rental car coverage lasts for about 15 days; however, some policies can last as long as 30 days.

Type of Vehicles covered: Your rental coverage may exclude certain types of vehicles such as motorcycles, large SUV or vans that can transport more than eight people.

Finalizing coverage: Once you pick a card, you’re not automatically fully insured. Most credit card companies will require you to pay the full amount of the rental car with that credit card. Also, you’ll need to be the primary renter, not a friend or family member.

Pros of Credit Card Car Rental Insurance

If you’re someone who travels frequently, there are many benefits to credit card rental insurance. Here are some of the biggest perks:

Potential savings: The best things about credit card rental insurance is that it’s essentially free. Especially if you’re taking advantage of a benefit offered on a card you already have. This will save you from paying unnecessary money to the rental company.

Peace of mind: For individuals who frequently travel by car, choosing a card that offers rental insurance may be worth it for the peace of mind alone. This type of benefit would cover things like personal items or offer roadside assistance.

You won’t need to use your insurance company: If your card offers primary insurance, then you won’t need to contact your insurance company in the event of an accident.

Drawbacks to Consider

There are downsides to everything. Credit card rental insurance is no exception. Here are a few drawbacks to keep in mind:

Secondary Coverage: Unfortunately, most cards only offer secondary insurance. This means you’ll have to file a claim with your insurance company first before the credit card coverage will kick in.

If you file a claim with your insurance company, you may have to pay a deductible, and yearly premiums may also go up.

Read Terms and Conditions Carefully: You’ll want to do your homework and watch out for any specific coverage limitations. For instance, some companies won’t cover any accidents that happen on unpaved or gravel roads.   And it’s common for certain vehicles, like motorcycles, older cars, and large vans, to be excluded from coverage altogether.  Others will not cover you if you cross certain country borders.

Benefits will vary: Even if the credit card company offers primary coverage, the specific benefits will vary. In the event of an accident, some credit card companies may cap damages at $25,000.

And while damages are usually covered, liability coverage is not usually included. And your coverage will likely only last for 15 to 30 days.


Many credit cards offer rental car insurance to cardholders. As long as you are the primary driver and charge the full amount of the rental on your card, you should be covered.

If you frequently take road trips and like to take advantage of credit card rewards, then this could be a good option for you. Using credit card rental insurance could save you money and give you added peace of mind during your trip.

The benefits and coverage can vary. Do your homework first and look for a card offering primary insurance and generous benefits. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions to avoid any unpleasant financial surprises.

About The Author:  Andrew from LendEDU – a consumer education website and online resource for personal finance.

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