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When renting a car, insurance can protect you in the event of damage or an accident. While car rental companies offer a host of protection options, you may not need them if your credit card offers similar benefits.
Using a credit card to insure your rental could save you money, especially since the insurance offered by rental companies can cost $30-60 per day.
In 2019, Citi eliminated several benefits — including car rental insurance — for a number of its credit cards. Today, only a limited number of cards offer car rental insurance privileges.
With these significant changes to coverage, this guide can help you understand if you’ll be protected on your next trip. Here’s what you need to know about Citi card car rental insurance.
What credit cards offer Citi car rental insurance?
There are two Citi-issued cards that offer built-in protection for car rentals when using the card to pay for a rental.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
What is covered by Citi car rental insurance?
When using a Citi credit card to pay for a car rental, you’re protected up to $50,000. This amount is used to cover the cash value of the car or the cost of any repairs, whichever is less.
There are no geographic limits, which means wherever you rent the car, you are protected as long as you use a Citi card with car rental coverage to pay for the rental.
For car rentals of less than 31 days, this insurance will protect the eligible cardholder when renting a four-wheel vehicle designed for paved roads.
If the car is damaged in an accident or by theft, a natural disaster or vandalism, the protection would apply. Also included are any towing costs to the collision repair facility.
Primary vs. secondary insurance coverage
It is important to understand that when renting a car in the U.S., the insurance is secondary, but if renting outside of the country, it is primary.
Secondary insurance means that you would need to rely on any other insurance policy you have first. In the U.S., Citi’s car rental plan would cover anything that your other insurance plan doesn't. Any deductibles would be the renter’s responsibility, too.
Primary insurance, which is available for international car rentals, would be the first (or primary) insurance plan for any coverage needs. This means that you would be liable for any additional expenses beyond what the primary coverage offers.
» Learn more: How to earn and use Citi ThankYou Points
What does Citi card car rental insurance not include?
There are typically exclusions on car rental insurance. For example, if you used the car rental as a for-hire service (like as a taxi or rideshare service) or rented the car to another person, the insurance wouldn't cover you.
Also not included is coverage when driving the vehicle in a reckless manner or in a way that wasn't intended by the manufacturer. Any use of drugs or alcohol when driving would also negate the car rental insurance benefit.
Personal injury to the driver or others in the car isn't part of the coverage. It only protects the vehicle, not including any of the personal items within the car. The coverage doesn't reimburse for damage to other cars, people or personal property, either.
» Learn more: The best credit cards for travel insurance benefits
Can you double dip on insurance plans?
No, double dipping — filing claims for the same accident with multiple insurance providers — is considered fraud and is illegal.
To be eligible for Citi’s car rental coverage, you must decline any coverage provided by the car rental company. Additionally, in the U.S., any claims you file with Citi are considered secondary, meaning you must first file with your primary insurance provider.
How do you file a Citi card car rental insurance claim?
To file a claim, call 1-866-918-4670 or download the form online at cardbenefits.citi.com. Be sure to have the car rental agreement, photos of the damage or coverage request and any other documents the company requests. You have 180 days to provide these details to the insurer.
» Learn more: Best ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points
Is Citi card car rental insurance worth it?
Absolutely, but you will want to check if your specific Citi card offers it.
The global protection and primary coverage outside of the U.S. makes this benefit especially valuable for international travelers. Renting a car does come with liability issues, but car rental insurance can help ease some of the burden and give you peace of mind.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card