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If you’re considering signing up for one of Southwest’s airline credit cards, or perhaps you’ve recently become a cardmember, you may be perusing card benefits and wondering, does my Southwest credit card have car rental insurance? It’s a valid question and there’s good news: Yes, Southwest credit cards do come with car rental insurance. Here’s the lowdown.
How it works
Southwest credit card rental car insurance covers events such as:
Loss-of-use charges from the rental company.
Towing that might be the result of an accident or break-in.
The rental car insurance that comes with Southwest credit cards is secondary coverage in most cases, which means it supplements your primary auto insurance policy. If you have personal auto insurance, that policy would pay out first in the event of a claim. Your Southwest credit card insurance may reimburse you for your primary insurance deductible, administrative costs charged by the car rental company, and “reasonable” towing charges that your primary insurance doesn’t cover.
If you don’t have personal auto insurance or any other insurance, the Southwest rental car insurance reimburses you for covered theft, damage, administrative costs or loss-of-use charges imposed by the rental company, plus reasonable towing charges that occurred while you were responsible for the vehicle.
If you're renting a car outside your country of residence, your Southwest credit card’s car rental insurance will be your primary coverage and will reimburse you for those same expenses — theft, damage, administrative costs or loss-of-use charges imposed by the rental company, plus reasonable towing charges.
Available credit cards and their terms
Wondering which Southwest credit cards offer car rental insurance? Good news: They all do, personal and business cards alike. So it’s simply a matter of choosing which card is right for you.
Southwest Rapid Rewards cards with car rental insurance
The cards all come with the same basic terms, which are important to consider before relying on credit card coverage to protect you and your rental car.
It's just as important to know what's not covered as it is to know what is covered. What’s not covered? Events such as:
Damage to another driver’s car in the event of a collision.
Costs related to injuries.
Damage to any items not otherwise covered, such as luggage.
Theft of personal belongings.
Damages arising from reckless usage like off-road driving.
You’re also only covered for rental periods up to 31 consecutive days, so keep that in mind when renting a vehicle for longer periods of time.
Not all vehicles are covered, either. Exclusions include high-value vehicles, motorcycles and high-capacity vans.
You must use your Southwest credit card to pay for the entire cost of the car rental in order to benefit from the card's insurance coverage.
How to make a claim
Need to file an insurance claim on your rental car after a collision, theft or damage? Here’s how to use the rental car coverage that comes with your Southwest credit card:
Book and pay for your entire rental using your Southwest credit card.
When you rent the car, decline the rental company’s insurance and damage waivers. Accepting them will make your Southwest credit card coverage void.
In the case of theft or an accident, collect copies of all accident and police reports and take photos of any damage if applicable.
Call the Southwest credit card benefits administrator within 60 days of the incident to start the claim process. The number can be found on your credit card statement or on the back of your credit card.
Submit any required documents, like repair bills, along with your claim. The benefits administrator will provide a list of what's needed.
If your claim is approved, accept any claim payments.
After an accident, file your insurance claim as soon as possible. Make sure to have all necessary documents postmarked within 365 days of the incident.
When to consider adding additional insurance to your rental
From time to time, the secondary insurance available with your Southwest card may not be enough. For example, you may want additional coverage if you're renting an antique or ultra luxury vehicle like a Ferrari, or if you're planning off-road adventures in 4WD vehicles. If you’re unsure if the Southwest coverage will be enough for your situation, take a look at the rental car company’s insurance to see if it offers more coverage and peace of mind.
» Learn more: Rental car insurance explained
If you're considering booking a rental car with your Southwest card
For most travelers, the car rental insurance available with your Southwest card will be more than adequate to cover the incidents you might encounter while cruising the road. But as with all insurance, make sure to read the terms and conditions, know the steps to file a claim, and be clear on what is and is not covered.
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 2021, 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