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When renting a car either at home or abroad, do you know your options when it comes to insurance coverage? Policies vary wildly from company to company in terms of deductibles, cost per day and overall coverage. It can be pretty difficult to know how to compare and choose.
Fortunately, I don’t have that problem anymore. Instead of leaving my coverage up to the rental company, I choose to use the rental coverage through my Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card. Here’s why I think you should, too.
Primary insurance coverage
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a great policy for auto rentals. It will automatically kick in if you decline the auto renter’s in-house insurance policy and charge the entire rental to your card. The policy includes primary insurance coverage of up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for cars in the U.S. as well as abroad.
This coverage is why I always charge the rental to my Chase Sapphire Reserve® and decline the rental company's coverage. I’ve rented cars in quite a few different countries, and I’ve seen variable prices for partial and total coverage, fluctuating deductibles and maybe-this-but-not-that types of selective coverage offered in-house.
Instead, I can have the same coverage across the board with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®, with 24/7 access to customer service. I’ve even had to use that insurance. While it can be a pain to collect the necessary paperwork, it does work.
One important note: Rental car insurance coverage through a credit card generally doesn't include liability or injury coverage, which means you (or your auto insurer) will be on the hook if you damage someone else's car or cause injury.
General benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Now, let’s talk about the general benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It’s consistently lauded as one of the best cards out there for travel, and for good reason. Cardholders earn 3X points per $1 spent on travel and dining worldwide. There are no foreign transaction fees, so you’ll be free to swipe anywhere without worrying about excess charges.
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you're also entitled to a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee reimbursement of $100 every four years. This covers the membership fees associated with Global Entry (which includes TSA Precheck) or TSA Precheck alone. Additionally, you'll get complimentary Priority Pass membership, which includes access to more than 1,200 airport lounges in 500 cities worldwide.
The card comes with a $550 annual fee, but you also get a $300 travel credit each year. This comes in automatic reimbursements for travel purchases charged to your card, so if you spend up to $300 on travel purchases, you’ll get $300 back, and you could use that credit toward your rental car or any other travel-related purchase.
With the $300 travel credit, Global Entry fees and Priority Pass membership included, the annual fee more than pays for itself, especially if you travel frequently.
Additional travel protections
On top of all these benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a suite of travel protections that help cardholders travel without any worries.
If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to weather, sickness, or any other covered situation, you could be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses.
If your luggage is lost or damaged by the carrier, you’ll be covered with up to $3,000 per passenger. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® also comes with $500 coverage per ticketed passenger for trips delayed more than 6 hours or requiring an overnight stay. Medical emergencies and transportation while abroad are covered up to $100,000.
The insurance that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is already sounding as good as (or better than) most travel insurance policies.
An affordable alternative
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® isn't accessible to everyone, of course. If you just can’t swing a $450 annual fee even with the accompanying benefits, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as a more affordable option.
Included with the annual fee of $95, cardholders earn 2X points on travel and dining worldwide. There are no foreign transaction fees, and this card also comes with a suite of travel insurance protections, including auto rental coverage. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the primary auto rental insurance covers up to the cash value of the car in the event of theft or collision damage.
Whether you choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, I definitely recommend adding a Chase Sapphire card to your wallet before your next trip.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you Do rental car companies charge you to earn partner airline bonus points? 6 things to do when you get a Chase Sapphire Reserve card