Rental Car Insurance: Which Credit Cards Have You Covered - NerdWallet
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Rental Car Insurance: Which Credit Cards Have You Covered

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The question arises every time you rent a car: Do I really need rental car insurance?

Many rental agencies offer damage waivers for about $15 to $25 a day, selling peace of mind along with expanded coverage. But these waivers are often no better than the coverage you already have with your favorite credit card.

Depending on where you rent, the rental company’s liability for injury or property damage may be anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. This could still leave a big bill for you to pay, but your credit card may also step in — sort of. All four major card networks offer rental insurance, but vary substantially in benefits and requirements.

In some cases, car-rental customers may want to purchase full coverage from the car-rental company to avoid the hassle of making a claim or reporting an accident to their primary insurer and the credit card issuer. Make sure you’re comfortable with that process before relying on your credit card’s secondary coverage.

You can also get primary coverage for your car rentals with these two credit cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • A large bonus
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Cool factor - metal card
  • Rewards redemption bonus through Ultimate Rewards

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Best for savvy travelers

Bonus Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 16.24%-23.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel and shop with confidence with premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is one of the Nerds’ favorite travel cards, so it helps that it offers primary rental car insurance at no extra cost. You’ll earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Plus, the card has one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses on the market: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

It has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 after that, and doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Apply Now on Chase's secure website

Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit

Bonus Offer

Start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 16.24% Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • Start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Check your first bag for free - save up to $100 per roundtrip
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with two one-time-use passes every year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn double miles on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Your miles don't expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United flight
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95

If you’re a loyal United flyer and often rent cars, the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card might be the right choice for you. It offers 2 miles on every dollar spent on United flights and 1 point on all other purchases, plus a decent sign-up bonus: Start with 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The United MileagePlus® Explorer Card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 after that, and no foreign transaction fees. You’ll also get your first checked bag fee waived with cardmembership.

What to know about credit card rental coverage

Before we review the rental car insurance benefits offered by each network, you should know that:

  • Generally, your credit card offers secondary rental insurance. This means that it will only pay for the cost of certain damages not covered by your regular car insurance policy.
  • As the cardholder, you must book the rental car with your credit card under your name to receive coverage. Only carrying a card that offers rental car insurance isn’t sufficient.
  • Typically, you must refuse the coverage offered by the rental car agency to receive rental car insurance benefits from your credit card. We’ll discuss exceptions to this general rule below.
  • This article applies to consumer credit cards. While many business credit cards offer rental car insurance, coverage levels could be substantially different from the benefits described below.
  • Cards in the same network may have varying levels of coverage. Some issuers don’t offer rental car insurance at all, while others set terms that differ from the network standard. Call your bank or check your card’s benefits statement to learn more about your specific card’s benefits.

Nerd note: Much of the information discussed in this article is a compilation of resources available online. However, some of it was obtained through phone calls to customer service hotlines. It’s important to contact your card’s issuer to verify its  coverage policy before you rent a vehicle. Here are some important terms to know before you call:

  • Loss of use: The cost of renting another car while the original is out of commission.
  • Fully utilized:  Generally, this term describes when 80% of a rental company’s cars are in use.  A card network may cover loss of use only if the auto rental company’s fleet is “fully utilized.”
  • Diminished value: The amount that the rental car’s resale value decreases. This cost is usually relatively small, unless you manage to significantly damage the car without totaling it.
  • Antique cars: Usually defined as a car made at least 20 years ago or one that has been out of production for 10 years. All networks exclude coverage of such vehicles.
  • Vans: As a general rule, personal-use vans that seat eight people or fewer are covered. However, some waivers specifically exclude certain SUVs, and almost all exclude cargo vans.

Benefits by network

Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover all provide rental car insurance above and beyond what your primary insurer and rental company will offer. Here’s a quick overview of each network’s benefits and limitations:

Visa: Visa is often touted for its excellent rental car insurance benefits, mostly because it’s widely available for cardholders. Unlike many other networks, it offers rental car insurance on all of its cards — standard, Signature, rewards, the works. However, it limits its rental car coverage period to only 15 consecutive days domestically and 31 consecutive days abroad.

MasterCard: Its benefits are similar to Visa’s. However, rental car insurance is not offered on all cards, and it limits its coverage period on all rental cars to 15 consecutive days or fewer. According to customer service, it’s available only on Platinum, Gold, World and World Elite cards.

American Express: American Express is the only network to offer premium coverage for a small fee. It offers free secondary coverage up to $50,000 ($75,000 on The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Delta Reserve Credit Card), but will offer primary coverage with a higher limit and protection against injury and property damage if you choose it.

Discover: Discover’s coverage is limited to a handful of cards. Unlike the other three networks, Discover doesn’t cover loss of use fees, only collision damage up to a $25,000.

Network-by-network comparison

Visa and MasterCard

Both Visa and MasterCard emphasize that their terms vary by issuing bank. Again, check with your particular card’s issuer before renting your vehicle.

Benefit Visa MasterCard
Offered on All cards Gold, Platinum, World and World Elite
Rental period 15 consecutive days domestic/31 abroad 15 consecutive days
Must decline rental insurance? Yes Yes
Vehicle value Not specified $50,000 or less
Includes Physical damage, theft, loss of use*, towing Physical damage, theft, loss of use*, towing
Excludes Injury, liability, property damage, taxes, damage to other vehicles, diminished value, tire wear and tear
Primary or Secondary? Secondary Secondary
Drivers covered All authorized drivers
Vehicles excluded Expensive, exotic or antique cars, trucks, pickups, RVs, motorcycles, ATV’s, limousines and certain vans
Excluded countries Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Jamaica Maybe Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica (Contact your vehicle rental agency before traveling)
Excluded SUVs/vans Vans with more than 8 seats Sport utility trucks (i.e. Chevy Avalanche, GMC Envoy, etc.), full-size vans
Max coverage Not specified $50,000
Max loss of use* Not specified Not specified
Report/file claim within 45 days 30 days
Source Visa MasterCard benefits and a call to customer service

*To be compensated for loss of use, the rental company must prove that the fleet is “fully utilized.” Most rental agencies won’t bother, so your chances of getting this benefit aren’t very high.

American Express

American Express has various exemptions for students, Californians and Floridians, see below for the details.

Benefit American Express Basic American Express Platinum American Express Premium
Offered on All cards The Platinum Card® from American Express and other Platinum-branded AmEx cards, Delta Reserve Credit Card All cardholders can purchase
Rental period 30 consecutive days from the same rental company, or 30 consecutive days out of a 45-day period within the same geographic location (75-mile radius) from any rental company 30 consecutive days from the same rental company, or 30 consecutive days out of a 45-day period within the same geographic location (75-mile radius) from any rental company 42 days (30 in Washington State)
Must decline rental insurance? Decline full coverage, can accept partial collision damage waiver
Vehicle value <$50,000 <$75,000 Not specified
Includes Physical damage, theft, towing, storage, loss of use Physical damage, theft, towing, storage, loss of use, certain medical expenses for accidental personal injury, AD&D, personal property Physical damage, theft, towing, storage, loss of use, certain medical expenses for accidental personal injury, AD&D, personal property
Excludes Injury, liability, property damage, diminished value, taxes, wear and tear
Primary or secondary? Secondary Secondary Primary (accidental personal injury and personal property benefits are secondary)
Drivers Covered All authorized drivers
Vehicles excluded Expensive, exotic or antique cars, trucks, pickups, cargo vans, custom vans, full-size vans, vehicles used for commercial purposes, antique cars, off-road vehicles, RVs, motorcycles, etc. Trucks, pickups, cube vans, box trucks, leased vehicles, customized vehicles, antique cars, limousines, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, etc.
Excluded countries Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, New Zealand
Excluded SUVs/vans Full-size sports utility vehicles (i.e. Chevy/GMC Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon, etc.), vans with more than 8 seats N/A
Max car coverage $50,000 $75,000 $24.95 plan: $100,000
Max medical expenses per person N/A $5,000 $24.95 plan: $15,000 per person,
Accidental death and dismemberment: $100,000
Max personal property damage or theft N/A $1,000/person, max $2,000 $24.95 plan: $5,000/person, $10,000 max
Max loss of use Not specified
Report/file claim within As soon as reasonably possible/60 days
Source AmEx AmEx AmEx

American Express Exemptions

Students: A Personal, Gold or Rewards Plus Gold cardholders who are enrolled in an accredited four-year college or graduate program in the United States, and are receiving student benefits provided by card membership, are ineligible.

California: Maximum coverage costs $17.95 for:

  • $100,000 car damage
  • $250,000 accidental death and dismemberment
  • $15,000/person medical expenses
  • $5,000/person property damage, maximum $10,000 overall

Florida: Property damage is capped at $15,000 per person, $25,000 overall.

Discover

Benefit Discover Discover Escape
Offered on Discover® Motiva Card, Discover® Open Road Card, Discover® More® Card Escape by Discover® Card
Rental period 31 days, 45 for employees using business credit card 31 days
Must decline rental insurance? Yes Yes
Vehicle value <$50,000 <$50,000
Includes Collision or upset only Physical damage, theft, towing
Excludes Theft, any damage not due to a collision, injury, liability, property damage, taxes, damages to other vehicles, wear and tear, loss of use Injury, liability, property damage, taxes, damage to other vehicles, diminished value, tire wear and tear
Primary or secondary? Secondary Primary (under certain conditions)
Drivers covered All authorized drivers
Vehicles excluded Expensive, exotic or antique cars, trucks, pickups, RVs, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, mini-buses
Excluded countries Valid in any country that accepts Discover Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, New Zealand
Exclude SUVs with more than Doesn’t specify seat exclusions, but doesn’t cover all vehicles Sports utility trucks, vans with more than 9 seats
Max coverage $25,000 $50,000
Max loss of use N/A N/A
Report/file claim within File claim in 90 days 30 days
Source Discover Discover


Image via iStock.

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  • http://www.mybusinesscentral.com.au/ My Business Central

    As per my thinking, we should prefer insurance so that we can easily claim for such damage. Insurance is cheap and better way for resolving such expenses.

    Mitzi

  • http://www.insuringnashville.com/ Tyler

    Very interesting article. Lots of valuable information here. Thanks

  • Guest

    Exactly what I was browsing for thank you! I got the United Explorer card.

  • Johnmw57

    Good information but you state: *In order to be compensated for loss of use, the rental company must prove that the fleet is “fully utilized.” Most rental agencies won’t bother, so your chances of getting this benefit aren’t very high. Are you talking about rental car companies charging you for the fee of loss of use. That’s no benefit. What would be a benefit is if they couldn’t charge us because they have to show the fleet was fully utilized. In there too busy to do that. So I have coverage under my insurance company for damage and collision but not for loss of use. Please clarify……

    • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

      For some reason, people think that rental car companies should be required to do something that you wouldn’t have to do for your own personal car if it was in an accident. If you are hit by another car, does that other driver’s insurance company require you to prove that you were going to drive your car every day in order to get rental reimbursement? No, they do not! Why in the world people think that car rental companies should have to prove that is beyond me!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BPJEBJU3URCUC46MRU6XU66GE4 Cap

    Rental period–are the dates the minimum the car must be rented for or the maximum? My wife backed out of tight-fitted, cement sardine-can-sized parking space for her car in the motel’s lot (I had to park by driving in at a slant, employing so much head-turned I threw out my deck). She misjudge on the driver’s side by 2-3″ and consequently broke loose that outside side mirror. Since she has Visa and Master Charge, is she required to call our primary insurer (Geico) first? If she has a choice, which party is recommended–the charge card or Geico? Anyway, it’s good to know that both allow a period of grace for reporting an incident. (Why was I formerly paying for an Amex card?) And since this was the only incident for the two of us combined in over 50 years, I think we came out ahead by waiving the rental company’s insurance. I’d like to know when, if even, it might make sense to pay the extra for Hertz, National’s, or whomever’s insurance. Are they all the same? Do they offer something the credit cards don’t? Are they all the same?

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  • http://www.Lease4Less.org.uk/van-leasing.php Lease4Less

    For many people, a car is the second largest expense after housing. Whether you’re in the market for your first set of wheels or need to replace the old family car. Car leasing has re surged in popularity over the past few year. As the car leasing is so popular rental car insurance is done by many rental agencies….

  • http://www.Lease4Less.org.uk/van-leasing.php Lease4Less

    For many people, a car is the second largest expense after housing. Whether you’re in the market for your first set of wheels or need to replace the old family car. Car leasing has re surged in popularity over the past few year. As the car leasing is so popular rental car insurance is done by many rental agencies….

  • Mary

    Is there any credit card that covers liability in Ireland?

    • Louis

      The World Mastercard beginning with the numbers 5466 worked for me, but I also had to get a letter of coverage from Mastercard

  • Mary

    Is there any credit card that covers liability in Ireland?

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  • john

    Your site is good Actually, i have seen your post and That was very informative and very entertaining for me. Thanks for posting Really Such Things. I should recommend your site to my friends. Cheers

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Thanks John! Glad we can help :)

  • john

    Your site is good Actually, i have seen your post and That was very informative and very entertaining for me. Thanks for posting Really Such Things. I should recommend your site to my friends. Cheers

  • http://lesvos-car-rental.com

    nice and helpfull info for car rental businesses.thanks

  • http://lesvos-car-rental.com

    nice and helpfull info for car rental businesses.thanks

  • http://www.ukairportsolution.co.uk/ drivinmartin

    I read your article and get amazing information about rental car insurance. As well as Its provides many benefites with diffrent offers.

  • http://www.ukairportsolution.co.uk/ drivinmartin

    I read your article and get amazing information about rental car insurance. As well as Its provides many benefites with diffrent offers.

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  • http://shr30.blogspot.com Shreenath

    Nice article, quick add – United is currently at 50k on promo for 1000 in 3 months.

  • http://shr30.blogspot.com Shreenath

    Nice article, quick add – United is currently at 50k on promo for 1000 in 3 months.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.forshey.9 Bill Forshey

    the surprise to me was the two-week max on rentals — we always take 2 1’2 wee’s at Christmas

    you need to say which cards give more than 2 weeks since the AAA visa does not

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hey Bill – check out the “rental period” column in the tables for a look on how long you’ll be covered.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.forshey.9 Bill Forshey

    the surprise to me was the two-week max on rentals — we always take 2 1’2 wee’s at Christmas

    you need to say which cards give more than 2 weeks since the AAA visa does not

  • Jackie Breakthrough Russell

    Is there a deductable for claims on any of the cards?

  • Jackie Breakthrough Russell

    Is there a deductable for claims on any of the cards?

  • Guest

    thanks for this

  • Guest

    thanks for this

  • Allan Gathercoal

    One of the best breakouts of coverage. Kudos. Regarding Liability do
    any of the cards cover my liability if I hit another vehicle an/or
    injure person in said vehicle?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Thanks, Allan! Glad we can help. Unfortunately most credit card policies exclude injury and property damage – I’d check with your regular auto insurance policy to see if they’ll offer coverage. Sometimes your regular policy will also cover accidents in rental vehicles.

  • Allan Gathercoal

    One of the best breakouts of coverage. Kudos. Regarding Liability do
    any of the cards cover my liability if I hit another vehicle an/or
    injure person in said vehicle?

  • Pablo Uriarte

    I live in Mexico, but travel a lot to Florida. When I rent a car I don´t know if I have to take an insurance or what kind of an insurance shall I have. I allways use a Visa card, but I am concerned about liability which I know in some states is pretty high (I do not understand what do you mean with the benefit been “secundary” in my case, does it means that it only covers if I have a primary insurance policy?, which I have but it is issued in México).
    Recently they came out with a Zero no Excess kind of coverage which I do no not understand at all.
    Can I buy an insurance policy for a year with an insurance company and use it for over a year for a rental car? In Mexico, insurance follows the car not the person…. what can I do????

  • Pablo Uriarte

    I live in Mexico, but travel a lot to Florida. When I rent a car I don´t know if I have to take an insurance or what kind of an insurance shall I have. I allways use a Visa card, but I am concerned about liability which I know in some states is pretty high (I do not understand what do you mean with the benefit been “secundary” in my case, does it means that it only covers if I have a primary insurance policy?, which I have but it is issued in México).
    Recently they came out with a Zero no Excess kind of coverage which I do no not understand at all.
    Can I buy an insurance policy for a year with an insurance company and use it for over a year for a rental car? In Mexico, insurance follows the car not the person…. what can I do????

  • sneh

    Thanks a ton for nicely analyzed information !
    Can i get Personal Liability and Third Party damage covered by paying some extra amount through card ?

  • sneh

    Thanks a ton for nicely analyzed information !
    Can i get Personal Liability and Third Party damage covered by paying some extra amount through card ?

  • Trent Maddox

    This is not accurate

    • http://www.doctorofcredit.com/ doctorofcredit

      Not at all, this card has a minimum security deposit of $300 now.

      • Trent Maddox

        300 dollars is the only limit available. They do not offer increases nor do they convert to unsecured. I know this only because i have been with fifth third 3 years. same card same limit.

  • Trent Maddox

    This is not accurate

  • Don

    BUY THE RENTAL CAR INSURANCE OR HAVE LOTS OF HEADACHES——-Administrative fees, loss of use fees…etc…Visa will only pay for deductible of your reg insurance & nothing if rental is over 15 days. My rental was for 16 days while my car was in the shop, so they will pay nothing for cracked windshield not even the deductible. I will use VISA no more!

    • Donna Chan

      well said. always get rental coverage!

  • Don

    BUY THE RENTAL CAR INSURANCE OR HAVE LOTS OF HEADACHES——-Administrative fees, loss of use fees…etc…Visa will only pay for deductible of your reg insurance & nothing if rental is over 15 days. My rental was for 16 days while my car was in the shop, so they will pay nothing for cracked windshield not even the deductible. I will use VISA no more!

  • jack

    “In order to be compensated for loss of
    use, the rental company must prove that the fleet is “fully utilized.”
    Most rental agencies won’t bother, so your chances of getting this
    benefit aren’t very high.”

    Do you mean “chances of getting this benefit ARE very high”?

    This makes ZERO sense. If the rental company cannot prove they had a “fully utilized” fleet, it means they had extra cars to rent, thus no “loss of use” suffered while repairing the damaged car.

    Please proofread before publishing false legal advice. Renders the article useless and unreliable.

    • shadmock

      Actually, most rental agencies will refuse to prove the fleet was fully utilized, forcing you to have to pay the fee. Otherwise, they will generally claim that loss of use occurs when even one single vehicle is out of commission. It doesn’t really matter if it makes zero sense to you.

    • DR

      The writer and shadmock are correct. You have to keep in mind that there are 3 parties involved. The renter, the rental agency, and the insurer are all involved. The renter has a contract with the rental agency. The contract states that the renter is required to pay for loss of use while the vehicle is out of commission. It does not matter whether their fleet is fully utilized or not. Per the contract your obligated to pay the rental agency. Now go and file the claim with the insurer. If you include the loss of use charges the insurer will go to the rental agency and ask for proof of utilization. There is no contract between the insurer and the rental company so the rental agency says up yours to the insurer. In this situation you will not get reimbursed for the loss of use charges. Will most rental agencies have the same attitude? Knowing rental agencies I say yes so your chances of getting this benefit aren’t very high.

    • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

      Actually, the Koenig case (http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8653) set precedence for loss of use and stated that car rental companies do not need to prove utilization in order to recover full loss of use as well as administrative fees. Credit card companies include this provision in their agreement with the cardholder in order to give the appearance of covering loss of use, knowing full well that no rental car company is going to provide them with a fleet utilization report because they do not legally need to. In other words, there is little to no chance that any credit card will cover loss of use because they have written rules into the agreement that are not in accordance with what they can legally require a car rental company to do. This is why it is an EXTREMELY good idea to purchase the rental car company’s collision damage – especially if you are only renting for a couple of days. Cars can be in the shop for weeks or months until they are repaired and they WILL charge for the DAILY rate on your contract for every single day the car is out of commission (not any special weekly rate you may have received). A $39 per day rate on a car that is out of commission for a month could cost you $1,200 in loss of use charges.

  • jack

    “In order to be compensated for loss of
    use, the rental company must prove that the fleet is “fully utilized.”
    Most rental agencies won’t bother, so your chances of getting this
    benefit aren’t very high.”

    Do you mean “chances of getting this benefit ARE very high”?

    This makes ZERO sense. If the rental company cannot prove they had a “fully utilized” fleet, it means they had extra cars to rent, thus no “loss of use” suffered while repairing the damaged car.

    Please proofread before publishing false legal advice. Renders the article useless and unreliable.

  • http://www.sslimousine.com/blog/trip-into-buffalo.htm murphy69

    thanks a lot for the information provided..really a useful post..

  • http://www.sslimousine.com/blog/trip-into-buffalo.htm murphy69

    thanks a lot for the information provided..really a useful post..

  • Athena Reich

    I just called Chase where i have all my visa cards and it said that none of them cover liability. Only collision…. What cards cover both?

    • http://westnorth.com/ Payton Chung

      None. In the charts above, all cards specifically exclude liability.

  • Athena Reich

    I just called Chase where i have all my visa cards and it said that none of them cover liability. Only collision…. What cards cover both?

  • Rick_A

    Anisha, didn’t you learn is journalism school to DATE YOUR ARTICLE !

    Phew, I feel better now, perhaps I should have just had a Snickers…..

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Rick, the article is current as of February 2014. Hope that helps!

    • Maiya

      Rick_A: It’s “in” journalism school. Also, the proper punctuation at the end of your sentence should be a question mark, not exclamation. You indeed should have had a snickers along with proof reading your comment prior to posting.

  • Rick_A

    Anisha, didn’t you learn is journalism school to DATE YOUR ARTICLE !

    Phew, I feel better now, perhaps I should have just had a Snickers…..

  • MikeC

    Thanks for the great article Anisha – however, I am a little confused on a couple of points… :(
    (1) The article seems to indicate that the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card (visa signature) provides PRIMARY coverage – yet I am currently reading the brochure from Chase (Nov 2013) and it specifically states that coverage for this card is SECONDARY… ?
    (2) The article mentions that Visa provides Domestic coverage (secondary) for 15 days, yet the current brochure from Chase (Nov 2013) indicates coverage is ok for 31 consecutive days “within or outside your country of residence” – this appears to be the case, at least for all Chase Visa Signature cards…
    The variation in terms and conditions, not just from bank to bank, but often for card to card from the same issuer, makes it really difficult to determine what is the best card to use – not just for auto-rental coverage, but also for trip-cancellation, lost-baggage, delayed-baggage and other similar insurance coverage… :(

    • Me112233

      The article has numerous technical errors and omissions. It was written as a “compensated” article, meaning it was written with the intent of promoting the mentioned cards.

  • MikeC

    Thanks for the great article Anisha – however, I am a little confused on a couple of points… :(
    (1) The article seems to indicate that the United Mileage Plus Explorer Card (visa signature) provides PRIMARY coverage – yet I am currently reading the brochure from Chase (Nov 2013) and it specifically states that coverage for this card is SECONDARY… ?
    (2) The article mentions that Visa provides Domestic coverage (secondary) for 15 days, yet the current brochure from Chase (Nov 2013) indicates coverage is ok for 31 consecutive days “within or outside your country of residence” – this appears to be the case, at least for all Chase Visa Signature cards…
    The variation in terms and conditions, not just from bank to bank, but often for card to card from the same issuer, makes it really difficult to determine what is the best card to use – not just for auto-rental coverage, but also for trip-cancellation, lost-baggage, delayed-baggage and other similar insurance coverage… :(

  • http://celebsoutfit.com/ sherlindecosta

    Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!

  • http://celebsoutfit.com/ sherlindecosta

    Nice post.Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!

  • Sunrise250

    I’m here about to rent a car online. I do not own a car so have no “regular insurer.” I still do not know if I should buy insurance while renting with my VISA card. It’s not mush use if they cover damage but not injury to someone? I’d like to know what I say at the counter about insurance while handing in a VISA card.

    • Me112233

      You can purchase liability – only coverage at most rental counters.

      • Kevin M.

        purchase the LDW and the SLP from the rental car company. It may cost a little extra but if something happens, you won’t have to worry about a single thing.

        • Me112233

          It is true you can buy LDW (I don’t recognize SLP acronym), and it is true it will pay for the car you are driving if you mess it up. That said, it’s more than a “little extra,” most rental agencies are surpassing the $20/day mark for LDW and the associated add-ons. That is a 50% to 80% jump in total cost for most renters.

          • http://westnorth.com/ Payton Chung

            SLP = supplemental liability policy, a/k/a SLI = supplemental liability insurance. CDW (and sometimes LDW) are what the credit card policies can replace, but not SLI.

          • http://westnorth.com/ Payton Chung

            SLP = supplemental liability policy, a/k/a SLI = supplemental liability insurance. CDW (and sometimes LDW) are what the credit card policies can replace, but not SLI.

        • Me112233

          It is true you can buy LDW (I don’t recognize SLP acronym), and it is true it will pay for the car you are driving if you mess it up. That said, it’s more than a “little extra,” most rental agencies are surpassing the $20/day mark for LDW and the associated add-ons. That is a 50% to 80% jump in total cost for most renters.

  • Sunrise250

    I’m here about to rent a car online. I do not own a car so have no “regular insurer.” I still do not know if I should buy insurance while renting with my VISA card. It’s not mush use if they cover damage but not injury to someone? I’d like to know what I say at the counter about insurance while handing in a VISA card.

  • Hohlraum

    Go to your credit card company and find the up to date info. A lot of the information on Amex, for example, is out of date. Guessing the same can be said for the other cards.

  • Hohlraum

    Go to your credit card company and find the up to date info. A lot of the information on Amex, for example, is out of date. Guessing the same can be said for the other cards.

  • Student

    @NerdWallet, I need clarity on the Visa “Rental Period 15 consecutive days domestic”…Is it safe to assume this coverage is no good for a weekend getaway?

    • Me112233

      What it means is that the rental period has to be for 15 days or less. Your weekend getaway would be covered.

      • Mikee

        So I wonder what happens if one:
        A/ Rents in France instead of in the U.S. with a Chase Visa United and…
        B/ Is it better to rent for two times 15 days if I’m overseas for 39 days instead of risking the last 8 days with NO insurance?
        It seems that no matter what one choses, one is at a loss. Either of money or insurance coverage.

        • Me112233

          Be sure to ask about non-USA rentals, typically Canada is OK, while other countries can pose a problem with a US based card. Not sure about your math there, but yes, two distinct rentals can extend your effective coverage– be sure that you aren’t simply renting the same car from the same place; that would probably get you a claim denial should something happen. And yes, you have made a proper analysis of the concept of insurance — you either pay for it, or you take the risk yourself.

          • Mikee

            “Non-USA Rental” how interesting! I would assume that an outfit like Hertz would know that I’m automatically a U.S. Citizen renting in France. Being so Global I’m sure they are aware of all the rental restrictions and insurance ramifications. For more info I’ll call a live person on Monday to find out about the gory small print. I know that it will always be in their favor but an ounce of prevention….

          • Me112233

            Hertz will know about their own insurance coverage and offerings, but probably won’t go on record (thus be liable) to tell you what coverage will or won’t be provided by your credit card. Probably best to call the credit card company for the “rest of the story” on non-US rentals.

          • Mikee

            Yes ME. I realize that and will be talking with Chase tomorrow. No matter what one claims, one is never completely informed! But since I’m going to France and ‘stuff’ is going on there, I’d hate to be liable for a radical’s breaking my windshield and/or more!

          • Me112233

            Be reminded that most property-insurance policies have an “act of war” exclusion.

          • Mikee

            Granted but:
            A/ My property insurance is for my home in CA, USA.
            B/ Are ‘we’ at war with anyone in France??

          • Me112233

            I was addressing your “stuff is going on there” comment. Property insurance rarely pays for things damaged in “acts of war”. You don’t have to be a party to the act of war, nor does your country. Act of war is commonly includes things like invasion, insurrection, revolution, military coup and terrorism. So, if some crazed muslims decide to blow up something, and your rental car is destroyed in the process, the insurance may not pay, even if you have insurance.

          • Sharon Bradt

            Know that Ireland and Northern Ireland are not covered by world MasterCard. I recently ordered a Barclaycard World MasterCard and when I got the Card Member
            Benefits, it clearly states no insurance on rental cars in Ireland, Israel, Northern Ireland or Jamaica. Cancelled that one quickly.

  • Student

    @NerdWallet, I need clarity on the Visa “Rental Period 15 consecutive days domestic”…Is it safe to assume this coverage is no good for a weekend getaway?

  • gpks00

    Called Chase and was informed that if i use a coupon (for example, National rent 2 get 1 free, coupon gives me a $0.00 rental, plus fee and tax) then the rental will not be covered at all when i decline CDW.

    Also of note: insurance is supplemental, but as i do not have insurance or own a car, it will act a primary.

    The Benefit Admin also said that a coupon like a rent 2 days get the 3rd free is accepted.

    In my first case above, an accident would have to goto a Claims Examiner and reviewed.

    So no guarantees..

    So my Free Rental ended up costing me $33 (CDW and Liability) (May actually buy stupid None car owner liability insurance for stupid car rentals and zipcar type sharing companies.)

    ANNOYING!

  • gpks00

    Called Chase and was informed that if i use a coupon (for example, National rent 2 get 1 free, coupon gives me a $0.00 rental, plus fee and tax) then the rental will not be covered at all when i decline CDW.

    Also of note: insurance is supplemental, but as i do not have insurance or own a car, it will act a primary.

    The Benefit Admin also said that a coupon like a rent 2 days get the 3rd free is accepted.

    In my first case above, an accident would have to goto a Claims Examiner and reviewed.

    So no guarantees..

    So my Free Rental ended up costing me $33 (CDW and Liability) (May actually buy stupid None car owner liability insurance for stupid car rentals and zipcar type sharing companies.)

    ANNOYING!

  • gpks00

    Called Chase and was informed that if i use a coupon (for example, National rent 2 get 1 free, coupon gives me a $0.00 rental, plus fee and tax) then the rental will not be covered at all when i decline CDW.

    Also of note: insurance is supplemental, but as i do not have insurance or own a car, it will act a primary.

    The Benefit Admin also said that a coupon like a rent 2 days get the 3rd free is accepted.

    In my first case above, an accident would have to goto a Claims Examiner and reviewed.

    So no guarantees..

    So my Free Rental ended up costing me $33 (CDW and Liability) (May actually buy stupid None car owner liability insurance for stupid car rentals and zipcar type sharing companies.)

    ANNOYING!

  • clarity007

    United Chase MileagePlusExplorer card claims it is primary.

  • clarity007

    United Chase MileagePlusExplorer card claims it is primary.

  • http://www.unlimitedcertificates.com/ Lois Williams

    Last time I have so much issues with the car insurance policies and now I have checked for the best car insurance policies and profits about that, its quite informative post as this perspective of car rental insurance. its quite informative. thanks

    • Mikee

      Huh???

  • http://www.unlimitedcertificates.com/ Lois Williams

    Last time I have so much issues with the car insurance policies and now I have checked for the best car insurance policies and profits about that, its quite informative post as this perspective of car rental insurance. its quite informative. thanks

  • Al

    What if you don’t have primary/personal auto insurance? Does the card’s insurance act as a primary damage waiver in that case? I’m referring to Visa and other companies saying coverage is secondary.

  • Al

    What if you don’t have primary/personal auto insurance? Does the card’s insurance act as a primary damage waiver in that case? I’m referring to Visa and other companies saying coverage is secondary.

  • Michael

    NerdWallet please update this article. I think it would be helpful to many people as more and more people forgo car and use sharing services and rentals. Please clarify what is and is not covered for the category of what personal auto policies call “liability” (damage to the other driver or the other driver’s car). In recent conversations with Amex and Visa they told me they do not cover “liability” (damage to the other driver or the other driver’s car). This is not discussed clearly in the article and it is hard to tell what they cover for liability in the tables above.

  • Michael

    NerdWallet please update this article. I think it would be helpful to many people as more and more people forgo car and use sharing services and rentals. Please clarify what is and is not covered for the category of what personal auto policies call “liability” (damage to the other driver or the other driver’s car). In recent conversations with Amex and Visa they told me they do not cover “liability” (damage to the other driver or the other driver’s car). This is not discussed clearly in the article and it is hard to tell what they cover for liability in the tables above.

  • Tiger Lin

    Just confirmed with Chase. MileagePlus Explorer Card is Primary only it’s a business rental. For personal, it’s secondary. :(

  • Tiger Lin

    Just confirmed with Chase. MileagePlus Explorer Card is Primary only it’s a business rental. For personal, it’s secondary. :(

  • CW

    Do you know if credit card companies insurance coverage includes or excludes truck rentals for moving? (Budget/Penske/UHaul)??

  • CW

    Do you know if credit card companies insurance coverage includes or excludes truck rentals for moving? (Budget/Penske/UHaul)??

  • http://batman-news.com MIke

    Hi, I think I’m missing something. This all seems to imply that there is no ‘liability’ coverage. So, if I go to Vegas, pay with my Visa card, wave rental company insurance, get into an accident that is deemed to be my fault, i am on the hook for 10’s, 100’s of thousands of dollars in damages to the other party – who does that? Thanks. Mike.

  • http://batman-news.com MIke

    Hi, I think I’m missing something. This all seems to imply that there is no ‘liability’ coverage. So, if I go to Vegas, pay with my Visa card, wave rental company insurance, get into an accident that is deemed to be my fault, i am on the hook for 10’s, 100’s of thousands of dollars in damages to the other party – who does that? Thanks. Mike.

  • Mikee

    Excellent point, Scott. The problem is when one rents for a month or over, this CDW DOUBLES the bargain price of the rental. I know… Insurance always seems expensive ‘before’ any incident, but any Car Rental agency will fight to the tooth to avoid paying or reimbursing anything to their customers…

    • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

      Agreed. If you are renting for a week or more, it becomes pretty darned expensive to pay for the car rental company’s insurance, which is why I said it makes sense for short rental periods. I’m not sure what you are talking about in regards to car rental companies fighting to NOT pay for damage IF you have bought their LDW/CDW. I’ve never seen it happen and have been in the industry, working for several companies, large and small, for many years. They will definitely fight if you have NOT purchased their damage waiver, just like all insurance companies will. Finally, you cannot rent for more than a month from any car rental company anyway; there is NO insurance that covers you for more than a month – including a car rental company’s own insurance carrier. You have to end a rental after a month and start with a new rental if you are going to rent for a period greater than a month.

      • Mikee

        Thanks again Scott. Good info. Simply that a friend of mine rented with all insurances offered and flipped the car in the snow and it took him over a year of fighting to avoid paying ultra high fees. This was a 1-week rental in MT.
        But I guess I’ll have to split my Euro rental in 2 halves to end up fully insured and avoid eating and buying stuff in Paris ;-(

        • http://websitecash.net/ Scott McKirahan

          Love to see that case and who the rental agency was and yes, you definitely need to split your rental into two halves if you are going to rent for more than a month. Very few car rental companies will even let you rent a car without doing that (and the ones who will allow it are likely small companies who are very ignorant of insurance policies). Many car rental companies may take a reservation for more than a month, but you’ll find out at the counter that you need to re-rent in the middle.

      • Mikee

        Interestingly, Hertz allows me (via their website) to rent for 39 days and tabs all the insurance costs in addition to the actual rental. So does that mean that they are willing to rent their cars, insured, for longer periods? I’ll have to talk to them ‘live’ on Monday…. Is it because I’m a Hertz Member??? Hmmmm….

  • John C

    Mike, the article mentioned that the cards mentioned, offer “secondary” coverage, meaning you would have to have regular car insurance first. Then if there was a need for additional coverage, the card company would offer coverage above the limitations of your personal insurance company’s policy.

  • John C

    Mike, the article mentioned that the cards mentioned, offer “secondary” coverage, meaning you would have to have regular car insurance first. Then if there was a need for additional coverage, the card company would offer coverage above the limitations of your personal insurance company’s policy.

  • Alex Tanford

    In response to Mike, it’s my understanding that liability insurance is automatically included in the base rental fee. That is, both the owner of a car (Hertz) and the driver (you) have potential liability to innocent third parties hurt in an accident. So, the car company automatically provides liability insurance. The credit cards (and CDWs) are to pay for damage that happens to the rental car itself while it’s in your possession.

  • Alex Tanford

    In response to Mike, it’s my understanding that liability insurance is automatically included in the base rental fee. That is, both the owner of a car (Hertz) and the driver (you) have potential liability to innocent third parties hurt in an accident. So, the car company automatically provides liability insurance. The credit cards (and CDWs) are to pay for damage that happens to the rental car itself while it’s in your possession.

  • Jew

    If you dont have insurance it becomes your primary … I copied the statement below from my Visa Benefits Guide. If you do not have personal automobile insurance or any other insurance
    covering this theft or damage, this benefit reimburses you for the covered
    theft or damage as well as valid administrative and loss-of-use charges
    imposed by the auto rental company and reasonable towing charges that
    occur while you are responsible for the rental vehicle.

    • Harry Wetherell

      the first person on the page to make ANY sense, No personal, the secondary becomes the PRIMARY.

  • Jew

    If you dont have insurance it becomes your primary … I copied the statement below from my Visa Benefits Guide. If you do not have personal automobile insurance or any other insurance
    covering this theft or damage, this benefit reimburses you for the covered
    theft or damage as well as valid administrative and loss-of-use charges
    imposed by the auto rental company and reasonable towing charges that
    occur while you are responsible for the rental vehicle.

  • Mary Morris

    My credit card covers secondary insurance for 30 days, but I plan to rent a car for several months. The leasing company says they write a new contract every 30 days. Will this work? Will the credit card company agree that I can return the car and then re-rent it that same day?

    • Tony

      Read the fine print of your credit card very carefully. Both our visa and Amex cards will not provide coverage on either contract if the start of the second contract is within one day of the end of the first contact. We solved this problem by putting the first rental contract on Amex for 42 days and the the second contact on Visa.

  • Mary Morris

    My credit card covers secondary insurance for 30 days, but I plan to rent a car for several months. The leasing company says they write a new contract every 30 days. Will this work? Will the credit card company agree that I can return the car and then re-rent it that same day?

  • avenez

    As someone in the rental industry I see a few issues in this article. To say the waivers are often no better than card coverage is completely wrong at worst, and inaccurate at best. It would be better to say while the (full) waiver (which is not insurance but an agreement wherein the company waives their right to charge you for damage) is usually the most complete option, your card coverage may be sufficient. There are never any vehicle exclusions or maximum amounts to the (full) waiver, even exotic cars are covered. In terms of secondary coverage, usually this means your personal auto insurance will pay the claim, and the secondary card coverage provided by your credit card will pay (reimburse) your deductible. (Note that in some states a rental car is considered third party property and as such your vehicle liability insurance will cover damages to rental cars.) Alex commented that liability coverage is implicit in renting a vehicle and is 100% wrong. Hertz is no more liable for an accident you cause than your landlord is for a fire you start that burns your neighbors house down. Read the rental agreements from any of the top companies and you will find several statements to the effect that by declining any liability coverage they provide you are assuming full liability. So the other thing to bear in mind when using card coverage is to ensure you are capable of satisfying the liability requirements of the state of rental via your own auto insurance policy or another method, or alternately accept liability coverage from the rental company. Uninsured renters be aware, while unlikely, if pulled over in a rental vehicle the officer can ticket you for driving without insurance if you have no liability coverage of your own and have declined the rental companies liability coverage. Again, the article here is inaccurate as enterprise rent-a-car’s supplemental liability coverage covers up to $1,000,000, as does hertz liability insurance supplement. I believe most other major companies have similar outrageously high coverage amounts, and would be shocked to find any liability plan offered that covers less than $100k. You could pretty much drive (accidently, of course) into every single vehicle in the first row on a lot of a dealership and not exceed that amount.
    I’m not sure on Mary’s question above. I suspect they would likely not cover it, but could be wrong. Some cards (such as Amex) offer am optional benefit in which you can enroll where a flat fee is charged per rental transaction to provide coverage, so that you could simply pay that one flat fee each month when your contract is closed and reopened. However I am unsure if there are any terms that would prevent that in the program. Another tip would be to clarify many cards only pay loss of use when fleet utilization logs are provided by the rental company, and virtually no rental company ever discloses these as at times there is no way to do so without releasing some amount of personal information of other customers and so the card company can leave you holding the bag for that amount.

    • Soc Med

      you guys are the scum of the earth. I rented a car, and took this “no worry insurance” which doubled my rental rate. Later on, someone made a small scratch, less than size of penny to the bumper. The Nazis, went around looking like a hawk for that little scratch. At that time i found out there was a $300 deductible that was snuck in. So In total I paid $900 instead of $300. NEVER AGAIN!!!!

      • avenez

        That sounds super sketchy. Where did you rent? Venezuela? Im skeptical that it was in the US. If it was, sorry to hear it. In the future I’d recommend renting with a known brand rather than big al’s car barn or what have you.

        • Soc Med

          Canada…. sly salesmen who thought I had never rented before. BUDGET, NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

  • avenez

    As someone in the rental industry I see a few issues in this article. To say the waivers are often no better than card coverage is completely wrong at worst, and inaccurate at best. It would be better to say while the (full) waiver (which is not insurance but an agreement wherein the company waives their right to charge you for damage) is usually the most complete option, your card coverage may be sufficient. There are never any vehicle exclusions or maximum amounts to the (full) waiver, even exotic cars are covered. In terms of secondary coverage, usually this means your personal auto insurance will pay the claim, and the secondary card coverage provided by your credit card will pay (reimburse) your deductible. (Note that in some states a rental car is considered third party property and as such your vehicle liability insurance will cover damages to rental cars.) Alex commented that liability coverage is implicit in renting a vehicle and is 100% wrong. Hertz is no more liable for an accident you cause than your landlord is for a fire you start that burns your neighbors house down. Read the rental agreements from any of the top companies and you will find several statements to the effect that by declining any liability coverage they provide you are assuming full liability. So the other thing to bear in mind when using card coverage is to ensure you are capable of satisfying the liability requirements of the state of rental via your own auto insurance policy or another method, or alternately accept liability coverage from the rental company. Uninsured renters be aware, while unlikely, if pulled over in a rental vehicle the officer can ticket you for driving without insurance if you have no liability coverage of your own and have declined the rental companies liability coverage. Again, the article here is inaccurate as enterprise rent-a-car’s supplemental liability coverage covers up to $1,000,000, as does hertz liability insurance supplement. I believe most other major companies have similar outrageously high coverage amounts, and would be shocked to find any liability plan offered that covers less than $100k. You could pretty much drive (accidently, of course) into every single vehicle in the first row on a lot of a dealership and not exceed that amount.
    I’m not sure on Mary’s question above. I suspect they would likely not cover it, but could be wrong. Some cards (such as Amex) offer am optional benefit in which you can enroll where a flat fee is charged per rental transaction to provide coverage, so that you could simply pay that one flat fee each month when your contract is closed and reopened. However I am unsure if there are any terms that would prevent that in the program. Another tip would be to clarify many cards only pay loss of use when fleet utilization logs are provided by the rental company, and virtually no rental company ever discloses these as at times there is no way to do so without releasing some amount of personal information of other customers and so the card company can leave you holding the bag for that amount.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Depending on state law, car rental companies may be required to provide MINIMUM liability coverage similar to the minimum statutorily required of all car owners. If so you are taking a substantial risk if you do not purchase supplemental liability from the renter UNLESS your own auto insurance policy will cover liability for rental cars. If it doesn’t or if you do not own a car and thus have no auto insurance policy, as is the case for many here in NYC where I live, you are risking a great deal by not getting the supplemental liability coverage..if you have a bad accident or God forbid, injure third parties, the statutory minimum that presumably you have from the renter, will not even begin to cover your potential financial liability-once the tort lawyers get ahold of you and sue you. This is especially true if you are worth something with reasonably substantial assets.

    • avenez

      There seems to be a lot of misconceptions on how state minimum liability requirements are applied to rental companies in the US. While there may be a few states where they are required to extend their coverage to a renter, this isn’t the case in any state I’ve worked in and I would recommend checking your local state laws. A fair comparison for how this works in each state I’m familiar with is just like leasing a car. Say if you lease a car from kia, although you do not own the car and kia does (as a lienholder), they are not required to provide any liability coverage for that car which they technically still own. Usually this is either expressed via the law, or is governed by the language in a lease or rental contract. The bottom line is I wouldn’t take this to the bank without doing some digging. This is also a good thing, if they were required to be liable for you, rental cars would probably be harder to attain and would require you to answer a bunch of questions about your driving history. I have one customer in particular that lives in the boonies and seems to hit a deer every six months like clockwork. There’s no chance I would rent him a car if his driving could affect my bottom line. The rental agents should be happy to let you know what if anything is included in the rate, and if the answer doesn’t seem right or incomplete, I would recommend checking with your insurance agent as well.

      • avenez

        I forgot to add, liability coverage is typically easy to attain and relatively inexpensive. Unless as in Elliott’s example where it doesn’t make sense for you to carry liability of your own due to not owning a car or another factor, I would recommend carrying a policy and just checking with your agent that it transfers to any vehicle you drive. As I mentioned elsewhere, in some states your liability coverage alone can sometimes cover rental cars as the state sometimes regards them as “third-party” property. And I would recommend getting an adequate level of coverage. Some states minimum liability requirements are as low as $15k, which leaves you holding the bag for about $35k if you total someone’s brand new fully loaded suburban.

      • Elliot J. Stamler

        As I wrote it depends on state law. I can only write of what I know which is in NY and NJ rental companies are required to provide the minimum liability insurance and when I was last out west and rented cars in Nev. and Calif. I believe it was the same although I can’t remember with certainty.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Depending on state law, car rental companies may be required to provide MINIMUM liability coverage similar to the minimum statutorily required of all car owners. If so you are taking a substantial risk if you do not purchase supplemental liability from the renter UNLESS your own auto insurance policy will cover liability for rental cars. If it doesn’t or if you do not own a car and thus have no auto insurance policy, as is the case for many here in NYC where I live, you are risking a great deal by not getting the supplemental liability coverage..if you have a bad accident or God forbid, injure third parties, the statutory minimum that presumably you have from the renter, will not even begin to cover your potential financial liability-once the tort lawyers get ahold of you and sue you. This is especially true if you are worth something with reasonably substantial assets.

  • Kevin M.

    Why are you people so STUPID to think that some credit card will magically back you up or that your insurance company will come to your rescue???? Those companies are in it to make a lot of money and aren’t about to give it away. They will look for any possible loophole to get out of paying, not to mention the amount of out of pocket expenses you will have to pay before your insurance company kicks in, plus the loss of use fees and the hassles and paperwork that you will also have to go through for months. You people are so blind thinking that some other company is going to “save” you when you damage a rental car. I am an insurance agent and because of potential out of pocket expenses reaching into the thousands of dollars, I owe it to my customers to explain just what they are getting into and how the damage waiver purchased only through the rental car agency can protect them. Any insurance agent who tells you don’t take it or you don’t need it, is a horrible insurance agent and does not have your best interest in mind. Find a new one!!! The damage waiver from the rental companies is a complete walk away. If anything happens to that car while you are renting it (as long as you don’t do anything to void the contract like have an unauthorized driver or take the car off road) you are not liable for anything.
    Even you people traveling for work thinking that your company will come to your rescue. So many of my customers have thought that very thing but the company denied them for simple things like an accident happening after normal work hours.
    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! Do yourself a favor, protect yourself the easiest way possible, take the damage waiver and you wont have to worry about a single thing while you have a rental!

    • m1nd7r1p

      Really? I’m stupid? With AmEx. I always decline the CDW, save money, and have been covered by AmEx when needed. Once, while at a ski area in Tahoe, our rental SUV had a broker rear window while we were out skiing–no idea what happened, if it was an accident someone would have had to hit it pretty hard with a ski/snowboard to break it, but break it they did. There was nothing in the car to steal anyway. AmEx covered the claim in its entirety, the rental car company had a driver bring down another SUV and swap them out, no headaches at all for us. Declining the CDW has saved me money and I’ve been fully covered every time its been an issue. I would say I’m quite awake, thank you very much–I still don’t “worry about a single thing while [I] have a rental!” I’m guessing you work for a rental company.

      • Kevin M.

        Well m1nd7r1p, I will go over this again since you are obviously very slow and cannot read. As I stated early I am in fact an Insurance agent, not a rental car agent. I work very closely with rental car companies as well as credit card companies. I have spent hundreds of hours getting the facts straight as a service to my clients. Based on your experience you were lucky, but total that SUV and you will see them turn and run. There is a huge difference between a $500 window and a $50k SUV. AmEx makes you pay for their premium rental insurance too, not to mention the higher regular fees that AmEx makes you pay. AmEx insurance is again insurance. All insurance has loopholes and exceptions. Things that are designed to limit the amount the insurance company has to pay out. Why don’t you take a look at ALL the fine print? Thinking your AmEx will magically save you if your rental car is damaged is like saying your HMO will my make you feel better no matter what’s wrong with you. Why put yourself at risk of potentially paying thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses for a vehicle you will never see again???
        I had a colleague who was very arrogant thinking his AmEx was going to cover his rental car and all he had on his car was liability. So when he drove up a mountain road a little too fast and his car slid off the road and was totaled, his AmEx denied his claim and he ended up making monthly payments on a $25k convertible that he rented.
        I am very glad you sleep well at night, most people who don’t have a clue do sleep well. Find a large dent in your rental car next time and I guarantee you will not be sleeping so well. Do a little research next time you blast a seasoned professional and make yourself look like a fool who should be riding the short bus!!

        • tiredofhate

          American express would not cover loss of use when I had an accident with a rental. The rental company would not send their “fleet logs” and i ended up having to pay more for loss of use than the repairs cost. Which my insurance State Farm paid all of except for my $250 deductible. I hate Amex. It took months of my time trying to get them to pay.

          • Berneigh

            Correction: Amex COULD not cover loss of use bc the rental company wouldn’t send the fleet logs. Don’t blame Amex for that.

          • tiredofhate

            That’s just Amex sneaky way of getting out of paying loss of use. None of the car rental places will send their fleet logs. It’s just a bunch of BS and I will never think of Amex the same way. I was told that in Massachusetts thatAmex has no right to even consider weather their were other rentals available as in court they can not take a business income into consideration and that’s basically what they are asking. So don’t tell me Amex could not pay, they had a bill and they very well could have paid. As I said that is their way of getting out of it.

          • Berneigh

            Whatever you say. No company is going to pay a bill from another company without getting documentation. Otherwise rental car companies would charge whatever they want for loss of use. Would you pay a contractor without knowing how they got to that number?

          • tiredofhate

            Loss of use can be determined by the damage done and the typical time it would take to repair that damage times what is usually charged for the car on a daily basis. It’s not that hard to figure out. I do not know why you are defending this practice unless have a horse in the race. Do you work for Amex by any chance?

          • Berneigh

            I don’t. You’re just incorrect. Loss of use isn’t determined just by damage done and time to repair. It’s also determined by the car rental company’s ability to have enough cars available while the car is being repaired. For example, if the company has enough to rent out while it’s in the shop, why would it need to charge anything beyond depreciation and interest or lease fees? There are simply too many variables there for any credit card payment network to just trust the car rental company.

          • Berneigh

            I don’t. You’re just incorrect. Loss of use isn’t determined just by damage done and time to repair. It’s also determined by the car rental company’s ability to have enough cars available while the car is being repaired. For example, if the company has enough to rent out while it’s in the shop, why would it need to charge anything beyond depreciation and interest or lease fees? There are simply too many variables there for any credit card payment network to just trust the car rental company.

          • tiredofhate

            Loss of use can be determined by the damage done and the typical time it would take to repair that damage times what is usually charged for the car on a daily basis. It’s not that hard to figure out. I do not know why you are defending this practice unless have a horse in the race. Do you work for Amex by any chance?

          • Berneigh

            Whatever you say. No company is going to pay a bill from another company without getting documentation. Otherwise rental car companies would charge whatever they want for loss of use. Would you pay a contractor without knowing how they got to that number?

          • tiredofhate

            That’s just Amex sneaky way of getting out of paying loss of use. None of the car rental places will send their fleet logs. It’s just a bunch of BS and I will never think of Amex the same way. I was told that in Massachusetts thatAmex has no right to even consider weather their were other rentals available as in court they can not take a business income into consideration and that’s basically what they are asking. So don’t tell me Amex could not pay, they had a bill and they very well could have paid. As I said that is their way of getting out of it.

          • Berneigh

            Correction: Amex COULD not cover loss of use bc the rental company wouldn’t send the fleet logs. Don’t blame Amex for that.

        • tiredofhate

          American express would not cover loss of use when I had an accident with a rental. The rental company would not send their “fleet logs” and i ended up having to pay more for loss of use than the repairs cost. Which my insurance State Farm paid all of except for my $250 deductible. I hate Amex. It took months of my time trying to get them to pay.

        • sirgareth

          My brother and i were traveling when he had to take evasive action to avoid a truck. We went in the ditch and did substantial damage to the rental car. Single car accidents are not even covered by most rental car insurance and then only if the police are notified and investigate (pretty tough if you are at a remote location as we were.)

          Since we refused rental coverage Master Card picked up the whole charge. Every penny was covered and it was really easy (Costa Rica) Had we purchased local insurance it would have been a nightmare.

          • barb

            Our rented Cadillac was hit in a parking lot in NY a few years back. Master card covered our entire claim as well. Everything was handled when we returned the car back to the rental agency in Illinois. It was a beautiful thing:)

          • barb

            Our rented Cadillac was hit in a parking lot in NY a few years back. Master card covered our entire claim as well. Everything was handled when we returned the car back to the rental agency in Illinois. It was a beautiful thing:)

          • Berneigh

            But, but but. Kevin M says that’s not true!

          • Berneigh

            But, but but. Kevin M says that’s not true!

        • sirgareth

          My brother and i were traveling when he had to take evasive action to avoid a truck. We went in the ditch and did substantial damage to the rental car. Single car accidents are not even covered by most rental car insurance and then only if the police are notified and investigate (pretty tough if you are at a remote location as we were.)

          Since we refused rental coverage Master Card picked up the whole charge. Every penny was covered and it was really easy (Costa Rica) Had we purchased local insurance it would have been a nightmare.

        • Jeffrey Allender

          You are a douchebag, Kevin. The guy explained he loves Amex because they helped him every step of the way, and you say that they are only out to make money. Obviously not. Why do you need to come on here and blast people for no reason? You are obviously a disgruntled insurance salesman who hates that not everyone gets ripped off on rental company’s overpriced ridiculous crap insurance they try to scam people into buying who really dont even need it. Get a life and a real job, you douchebag.

        • Jeffrey Allender

          You are a douchebag, Kevin. The guy explained he loves Amex because they helped him every step of the way, and you say that they are only out to make money. Obviously not. Why do you need to come on here and blast people for no reason? You are obviously a disgruntled insurance salesman who hates that not everyone gets ripped off on rental company’s overpriced ridiculous crap insurance they try to scam people into buying who really dont even need it. Get a life and a real job, you douchebag.

      • Kevin M.

        Well m1nd7r1p, I will go over this again since you are obviously very slow and cannot read. As I stated early I am in fact an Insurance agent, not a rental car agent. I work very closely with rental car companies as well as credit card companies. I have spent hundreds of hours getting the facts straight as a service to my clients. Based on your experience you were lucky, but total that SUV and you will see them turn and run. There is a huge difference between a $500 window and a $50k SUV. AmEx makes you pay for their premium rental insurance too, not to mention the higher regular fees that AmEx makes you pay. AmEx insurance is again insurance. All insurance has loopholes and exceptions. Things that are designed to limit the amount the insurance company has to pay out. Why don’t you take a look at ALL the fine print? Thinking your AmEx will magically save you if your rental car is damaged is like saying your HMO will my make you feel better no matter what’s wrong with you. Why put yourself at risk of potentially paying thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses for a vehicle you will never see again???
        I had a colleague who was very arrogant thinking his AmEx was going to cover his rental car and all he had on his car was liability. So when he drove up a mountain road a little too fast and his car slid off the road and was totaled, his AmEx denied his claim and he ended up making monthly payments on a $25k convertible that he rented.
        I am very glad you sleep well at night, most people who don’t have a clue do sleep well. Find a large dent in your rental car next time and I guarantee you will not be sleeping so well. Do a little research next time you blast a seasoned professional and make yourself look like a fool who should be riding the short bus!!

      • Jeffrey Allender

        Hes obviously just a disgruntled low end salesman who has nothing else better to do than attack the informed. People like this scam artist HATE informed people like us who they can’t prey on and try to scam them out of their hard earned money. Let the little boy throw a temper tantrum and call you names…..

      • Jeffrey Allender

        Hes obviously just a disgruntled low end salesman who has nothing else better to do than attack the informed. People like this scam artist HATE informed people like us who they can’t prey on and try to scam them out of their hard earned money. Let the little boy throw a temper tantrum and call you names…..

    • Jeffrey Allender

      You are one arrogant self righteous passive aggresive piece of garbage. obviously you either work for a rental car company or an insurance company who rips people off on these crappy overpriced “protections” that are NOTHING MORE than a money maker for the rental and insurance company, and a nice commision for you people. Why dont you get yourself a REAL job that doesnt involve lying and ripping people off on crap they dont even need. Rather than come on a thread and attack people for no reason. I’d say you are nothing more than a disgruntled unprofessional low-end salesman who hates the fact that not everyone falls for your little scam insurance. Get a life and a real job, you douchebag.

  • Kevin M.

    Why are you people so STUPID to think that some credit card will magically back you up or that your insurance company will come to your rescue???? Those companies are in it to make a lot of money and aren’t about to give it away. They will look for any possible loophole to get out of paying, not to mention the amount of out of pocket expenses you will have to pay before your insurance company kicks in, plus the loss of use fees and the hassles and paperwork that you will also have to go through for months. You people are so blind thinking that some other company is going to “save” you when you damage a rental car. I am an insurance agent and because of potential out of pocket expenses reaching into the thousands of dollars, I owe it to my customers to explain just what they are getting into and how the damage waiver purchased only through the rental car agency can protect them. Any insurance agent who tells you don’t take it or you don’t need it, is a horrible insurance agent and does not have your best interest in mind. Find a new one!!! The damage waiver from the rental companies is a complete walk away. If anything happens to that car while you are renting it (as long as you don’t do anything to void the contract like have an unauthorized driver or take the car off road) you are not liable for anything.
    Even you people traveling for work thinking that your company will come to your rescue. So many of my customers have thought that very thing but the company denied them for simple things like an accident happening after normal work hours.
    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! Do yourself a favor, protect yourself the easiest way possible, take the damage waiver and you wont have to worry about a single thing while you have a rental!

  • hawkslionsfam

    The Premium and primary AmEx coverage worked for us. We signed up for the AmEx premium rental insurance a few years back which charges about $25 per rental on our Delta AmEx card and it REALLY came in handy. Over Thanksgiving a few years years back our rented crossover SUV was hit in the parking lot of a grocery store. We didn’t see it happen. We called the company that handles the AmEx car rentals, they took our information, and told us that they would cover everything and be the primary insurance. This being our first rental car accident, we went ahead and called State Farm – our insurance company. (As a sidenote, and this may seem like overkill, but with State Farm, we also had on the extra insurance rental car coverage rider, which is about $5 extra dollars a month. We’d call and take it off after we finished up our rentals. I believe this covers any cost the rental companies might charge related to not being able to use the car while it was being repaired if an accident were to occur). So we talked to State Farm about the accident, explained what happened, told them about our AmEx coverage which was supposed to be primary and the State Farm representative said they would contact AmEx and the rental car company to confirm. Later on State Farm called us back to say, YES, everything is covered by the AmEx coverage so they wouldn’t have anything else to follow-up on. They closed the case but said follow-up if something ended up not being covered. That wasn’t ever necessary as the AmEx insurance took care of things. So we definitely benefited from the extra AmEx coverage and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

    • hawkslionsfam

      And I stumbled across this article because we are considering cutting off the AmEx card (for reasons unrelated to the topic of discussion) but was wondering if any other companies offered the extra premium insurance.

  • hawkslionsfam

    The Premium and primary AmEx coverage worked for us. We signed up for the AmEx premium rental insurance a few years back which charges about $25 per rental on our Delta AmEx card and it REALLY came in handy. Over Thanksgiving a few years years back our rented crossover SUV was hit in the parking lot of a grocery store. We didn’t see it happen. We called the company that handles the AmEx car rentals, they took our information, and told us that they would cover everything and be the primary insurance. This being our first rental car accident, we went ahead and called State Farm – our insurance company. (As a sidenote, and this may seem like overkill, but with State Farm, we also had on the extra insurance rental car coverage rider, which is about $5 extra dollars a month. We’d call and take it off after we finished up our rentals. I believe this covers any cost the rental companies might charge related to not being able to use the car while it was being repaired if an accident were to occur). So we talked to State Farm about the accident, explained what happened, told them about our AmEx coverage which was supposed to be primary and the State Farm representative said they would contact AmEx and the rental car company to confirm. Later on State Farm called us back to say, YES, everything is covered by the AmEx coverage so they wouldn’t have anything else to follow-up on. They closed the case but said follow-up if something ended up not being covered. That wasn’t ever necessary as the AmEx insurance took care of things. So we definitely benefited from the extra AmEx coverage and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

  • Jeffrey Allender

    Too bad more people dont know that they most likely dont need to purchase the rental car company’s overpriced insurance that typically almost doubles the price of your rental cost. I think its ridiculous how much they charge for these “protections” to begin with. Its insane and nothing more than a money-maker for the rental agencies. I see we have quite a few disgruntled rental car agents on this thread trying to defend the need for these way overpriced “protections”. I am already double insured. Through my own private collision insurance, and me credit card company. I really hate when these agents try to push me to buy their insurance and try to talk down to me like I dont know what Im talking about. I typically just blow them off and tell them to just finish the transaction so I can leave. Im not here to get a lecture on car insurance, just give me my car. If these insurance “protections” they offer were more reasonably priced, maybe I would purchase it. But Im not paying almost double the price to rent a car for insurance I already have. Its dumb.

  • Jeffrey Allender

    Too bad more people dont know that they most likely dont need to purchase the rental car company’s overpriced insurance that typically almost doubles the price of your rental cost. I think its ridiculous how much they charge for these “protections” to begin with. Its insane and nothing more than a money-maker for the rental agencies. I see we have quite a few disgruntled rental car agents on this thread trying to defend the need for these way overpriced “protections”. I am already double insured. Through my own private collision insurance, and me credit card company. I really hate when these agents try to push me to buy their insurance and try to talk down to me like I dont know what Im talking about. I typically just blow them off and tell them to just finish the transaction so I can leave. Im not here to get a lecture on car insurance, just give me my car. If these insurance “protections” they offer were more reasonably priced, maybe I would purchase it. But Im not paying almost double the price to rent a car for insurance I already have. Its dumb.

  • michaeljmcclain .

    I’m a New Yorker who does not have an auto policy or non-owner’s policy. I have always found which options to choose very difficult. I do believe from other postings that some credit card coverage may be dubious. It is really a selling point for their cards primarily. I have the AMEX Premium coverage and it appears to be more reliable, as you do pay an additional fee for it. However, for peace of mind, taking coverage from the rental company can be the way to go, as they take full responsibility. I recently had a rental and had a flat. Apparently the repair cost would have been on me, but I had purchased the million dollar waiver and they assumed all responsibility. While thinking about my next rental I find myself again trying to become an “expert” regarding which coverage I should opt for. There seems to be much conflicting info here and the info on auto insurance sites is still confusing to me. But I did just find some of the best info from the NY State government site.

    http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/car-rental-tip-sheet

    The site states that by law all rental cars in NY state must have the minimum coverage provided. That coverage is required and included on all rental cars. This may differ from state to state. One commenter said that you sign off for full responsibility. That may be so in some states. So I suggest looking for this information on the state site for the state where the rental will originate. Or the country where the rental will take place. I certainly feel more knowledgable regarding NY state rental requirements.

  • avenez

    In my experience, and looking at my own AMEX agreement. The premium coverage they offer is pretty solid. I’m not aware of NY laws as I’ve never worked on the east coast, but if they truly do require a rental outfit to extend liability coverage to you they are a rare exception. I checked out your link, and was surprised at how low they require some of the surcharges to be. I know understand why branches I’ve snoop ed on in NYC charge upwards of $70 a day extra for drivers under 25. That money has to be made up somewhere, but I digress. Assuming all the info is legit the most salient thing I noticed is they require a min of $25k injury, $100k death, and $10k for damage. $10k is a very low requirement to cover damage, which is the most likely scenario you would run into. In a bad accident, even hitting and totaling a very inexpensive (new) car would probably leave you out for a few grand. Another thing to consider is they may require money to come out of that $10k in order to rent that other fella which is now out a car while it’s being repaired which stretches it even thinner. So while according to that info it appears they do require some liability on the companies part, it’s certainly not an amount that will cover every scenario and I would encourage a savy consumer to explore what an adequate amount of coverage is for their own situation. A very well off person may have no problem covering whatever amount runs over the 10k, but I know I’m certainly not in that class. Hope this was helpful.

  • stringboyobama

    rental agency submitted it’s claim to me after 60 days, so the time expired for me to report it. i will ignore the rental agency ‘s claim now.

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