When it comes by car rental, we often face credit usage as a standard payment method. You might not have known that, but the right credit card can partly influence the price of your hire. Moreover, it can allow you to have the best insurance possible.
While choosing the best credit card for car rental insurance, note that the benefits will be available only if you pay for your rental fully with a credit card. That means that if you book vehicle hire and use a debit card, you will lose the opportunity to protect yourself in case of unexpected accidents.
There is another thing you should know. Credit card insurance will work properly if you already have reliable health insurance and an excellent car insurance policy. So read all the information about the coverage carefully before booking car hire. It will help you make the most of your rental from the start.
How does credit card car rental insurance work?
Credit card insurance covers various issues that might happen during your trip. It might be theft or a car crash, etc., which are covered if included in your insurance policy.
Different packages offer different coverings and depend on the card you use. However, there are two types of insurance that you can choose from: primary and secondary. Let’s see the difference between them.
When you take primary insurance, you avoid involving an auto policy in covering the damage taken as a result of a rental car crash. If an accident happens, you contact the credit card company first. Then the process of covering the damage starts according to the insurance policy. As a result, you do not disturb your auto insurance policy.
Secondary insurance obliges you to settle everything with an auto insurance policy first. As a result, some points that are not included in the contract might be paid. However, you might face a rate hike for the auto’s covering.
Remember that credit card rental car insurance will work if you meet certain conditions. They are as follows:
- Pay for the car rental fully with a credit card only.
- Make sure the contract is issued in the name of the cardholder. If there are two drivers, the primary customer must provide the card to the rental office.
- Do not accept the Collision Damage Waiver (often referred to as Loss Damage Waiver). It is a type of insurance that vehicle hire companies include in your contract automatically quite often. If you want your credit card insurance to work, you should decline CDW.
- Choose a car that is allowed to be operated under credit card insurance. Not all types of vehicles can be used via such kind of covering.
What to look for in your credit card’s rental car insurance
The coverage you can receive automatically during car rental is called Collision Damage Waiver (the other name is Loss Damage Waiver). Its cost usually ranges from $9 to $19, and the price is usually included in your car rental cost.
Other insurance packages that your credit card company offers might have different benefits. They vary depending on your card, so be careful while choosing the insurance.
Primary insurance protects you from paying for theft or collision. All you do is contact your credit card company to deal with the issues that have happened during your trip. Among the cons of primary insurance is that it does not cover medical treatment and personal belongings theft.
Secondary insurance will work if you settle all issues with a personal auto insurance policy at first. Additionally, there is a chance that your deductible will be covered, as well as some other points that are not included in the primary policy. The main disadvantage of secondary insurance is that you might face rate hikes for the rental car’s coverage.
There is one more thing you should know. Some vehicle models are covered with insurance, such as SUV car rental, but some are not, so you need to check the information about that in advance.
What primary car rental insurance does and does not cover
Primary insurance covers theft or damage that the rental car received because of a collision.
Meanwhile, some aspects are not included in the insurance:
- Covering damage that was done to other vehicles
- Injuries treatment
- Personal property loss or damage
This list might be different depending on the credit card insurance you choose. Check the details about your card before booking a vehicle hire.
What credit cards have the best discount for rental cars?
The Platinum Card® from American Express is a good option if you would like to make your rental booking more profitable. Foremost it provides you with a 15% discount applied for standard cars. Moreover, if you hire in Hertz, you will have up to a 25% discount for the vehicles belonging to the Prestige Collection.
Other credit cards for car rental insurance usually provide you with mileage or points systems.
Does my credit card cover car rental insurance?
It depends on the card you have. Some packages allow you to cover theft, vehicle damage, medical treatment, loss of luggage, or even accidental death during the rental period.
Find the information about the specific credit cards below. If your card is not included in our list, contact your bank to find out more about insurance in advance.
9 most popular credit cards for car rental insurance
Choosing insurance might be difficult if you do not know all the details. To make your life easier, we have prepared a list of the best credit cards for rental cars! See the credit cards annual fee and insurance limit comparison in the table below:
|United℠ Explorer Card and United Club℠ Infinite Card
||$95 (the first year is free)
||up to the value of the majority of vehicles
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
||5,000/person for medical expenses, $1,000/person to cover damage or loss of personal belongings, and $20.000-$200.000/person for accidental death.
|The Platinum Card® from American Express
||$100,000 coverage in case of theft or damage
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
||depends on the car hire.
|Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
||No annual fee
||depends on the car hire
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
||depends on the car hire.
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
||No annual fee
||depends on the car hire.
United℠ Explorer Card and United Club℠ Infinite Card
These are some of the best credit cards for car rental insurance because they offer lots of benefits for you.
Foremost, both credit cards provide you with primary insurance for your vehicle hire. Moreover, it covers most rental cars up to their value, which makes it even more beneficial.
There is a difference between the two cards. For example, United Club℠ Infinite grants you a President’s Circle status provided by Hertz. It is a feature that removes extra charges from all the President’s Circle vehicles and offers a guaranteed one-car upgrade. So if you like booking luxury car rentals in Hertz, United Club℠ Infinite is just for you!
Another card, United℠ Explorer, has even more advantages, and they are:
- 50,000 gift miles if you pay out $3,000 on various purchases (valid for three months after issuing the card);
- 2 miles/dollar spent on the United purchases;
- 2 miles/dollar for directly booked hotel reservations, for dining;
- 1 mile/dollar for all other things.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
American Express Car Rental Insurance will work if you use a Hilton Honors card.
Foremost, the card already offers you vehicle premium hire protection. However, you should pay a fixed fee ranging from $15.95 to $24.95 per period.
Foremost, spending $4,000 within the first three months of owning the card will grant you additional 150,000 points. With that, you will gain 0.5 cents per piece, and the total sum will reach about $750, which you can use for Hilton Hotel reservations.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offers additional benefits, perfect for traveling. They are as follows:
- Available elite Hilton Diamond status;
- Weekend night certificate for free (works once a year on anniversaries of your card);
- One more weekend night certificate on the condition that you pay out $60,000 in total for specific products within a year;
- Additional airline incidental fee credits of up to $250;
- Hilton resort credits of up to $250 per cardholder per year;
- For at least a two-nights reservation at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels, you may receive up to $100 in on-property credits.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
This credit card for car rental insurance is perfect for car rental because it offers many bonuses. For example, you are allowed to upgrade your hired vehicle for one class. Moreover, you will have special discounts: 15% for standard autos and around 25% for prestige cars, provided by Hertz. You will also be able to have your rental car automatically covered with Platinum Card insurance if you sign up for Amex Platinum.
One of the disadvantages is that Platinum Card from American Express does not offer you primary car rental insurance, but you can get premium hired vehicle protection. You have to pay a fixed fee of about $15.95-$24.95 per auto rental period. And premium protection has some specialties, such as
- 42 days of car rental are covered with the premium insurance. It is 12 days more than what other cards offer.
- Up to $100,000 in case of theft or damage during vehicle hire.
There are even more benefits that the card has. If you pay out $6,000 within 6 months after signing up for a card, you will receive 100.000 points. While using them for trips, you will receive 1.8 cents for each, making $1,800 in total.
Meanwhile, the Platinum Card offers the additional perks:
- For two-night stays in The Hotel Collection or Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, you will have credits of around $200;
- If you book a luxury apartment at Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts, you will get even more benefits;
- Credits for Saks Fifth Avenue reaching $100 every calendar year;
- Priority Pass for the airport lobbies, like Centurion lounges;
- Credits of $12.95 per month for Walmart+ membership;
- Every year you receive $200 toward Uber Cash.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Unlike some other cards, Business Preferred provides you with primary insurance. However, there is one condition – your journey must be business-oriented only. It means that all clients are obliged to prove that your trip does not have another purpose.
When you receive the Ink Business Preferred, you will be able to get 100.000 additional points. However, it will work if you pay out $15,000 on various purchases within the 3 months after card activation. While traveling, use these points to accumulate $1,800 cashback (1.8 cents per point).
Among the other benefits, there are:
- Perfect insurance for traveling overall;
- No fees for transactions from another country;
- Protection of your cell phone.
You will additionally get 1 point for various purchases and 3 specifically for:
- Travel expenses;
- Purchasing ads on search engines and social media;
- Phone, cable, and Internet services.
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
It might be your best credit card for car rental insurance because of the main advantage – it does not have an annual fee. Moreover, it provides the primary insurance you can use for your car rental! It will help in case of damage to the vehicle and theft. However, you can use Ink Business Unlimited® insurance for business trips only. If you wish to travel for personal recreation or pleasure, your primary covering becomes the secondary insurance. Mind that the trip must be within the USA. Moreover, the insurance also has limitations depending on the car you rent.
If you issue the card, you will be able to get $750 cashback after paying out $7,500 for various purchases. Remember that you have three months to grab your bonus!
Still, there are even more advantages of the car which you might like:
- Get 5% cash back on Internet, phone, and cable services. It also applies to purchases made in stores of office supply. After reaching a $25,000 sum of returned money, you will receive 1% back.
- You will get a 2% cash back at restaurants and some gas stations. When the sum of returned money reaches $25,000, you will receive 1% back.
- While performing other purchases, you will get 1% cashback.
Mind that the card receives Chase Ultimate Rewards points, where each redeems 1 cent for you.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
It is considered one of travelers’ most reliable credit cards. It offers a pack of various bonuses, points, and car rental insurance.
Foremost, the Chase Ultimate Rewards® goes with the primary vehicle hire covering. It will help you deal with the issues on the road for $5 cheaper than the auto hire provider’s CDW – Collision Damage Waiver. Remember that the insurance limit reaches the value of most cars for rent.
Another perk of the card is you can book your vehicle hire using the points. Each redeems 1.25 cents, and if you book an under 25 car rental for $150, you will need around 12,000 points.
Still, you can use lots of other benefits for your journeys. You will gain 60,000 points as a bonus if you pay out $4,000 within 3 months after issuing the card. It will grant you $1,080 for your travels!
Here are some other benefits:
- The card will cover you in case of journey issues, like loss of luggage and transport delays.
- It works perfectly with other cards provided by Chase.
- Grants you 5 points/dollar while using Lyft services (valid until March 2025).
- Purchase via Chase Ultimate Rewards to gain 5 points for one dollar.
- Takeout, delivery, and dining services earn 3 points/dollar for your account.
- Using specific streaming services redeems 3 points for each dollar.
- If you buy groceries, you earn 3 points/dollar. Mind that it does not apply to Target and Walmart.
- Travel expenditures give 2 points for each dollar.
- And 1 point for other transactions.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The card allows you to use primary insurance for your vehicle hire, and the coverage limit reaches $75,000. Sapphire Reserve® has a points system that is suitable for car rental. Each piece redeems 1.5 cents, and booking a $150 vehicle hire will cost you 10,000 points.
The other profit of using the card for auto rental is that it grants you National Car Rental elite status. Also, if you are a National’s Emerald Club member, you can choose a car of any size provided by Emerald Aisle and still pay only a midsize rate. Moreover, you will be able to use discounts for vehicle hire provided by Silvercar, AVIS, and National. It is a part of the special privileges of Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders.
Another thing this card does is grant 60,000 points if you pay out $4,000 for three months after issuing the card. It will redeem $1,080 that you can spend on travel expenditures.
Additionally, you will get points if you:
- Use Lyft (10 points/dollar for a ride, valid until March 2025);
- Purchase in Chase Dining via Ultimate Rewards (10 points/dollar);
- Make a hotel reservation via Ultimate Rewards (10 points/dollar);
- Air trip purchases via Ultimate Rewards (5 points/dollar);
- Dining and other journey expenditures (3 points/dollar);
- Spend on other things (1 point/dollar).
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture X is one of the best credit cards for rental car insurance, which has many advantages. Furthermore, it offers many pleasant benefits useful for travelers.
The card provides primary insurance, which reaches $75.000 maximum. It will also grant you a Hertz President Circle member, which unlocks a wide range of vehicles to choose from. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to upgrade your rental car and try the Hertz Rewards system.
Another good perk of the card: it earns miles for your vehicle hire. Each time you purchase something – you gain 2x miles. It is a convenient feature for traveling!
When you get the card, you have 3 months to pay out $4,000 to get 75,000 miles as a bonus. It will convert to about $750, which you can use for travel purchases.
Here is the list of other benefits available:
- With the card, you receive airport lobby passes, such as Capital One, Plaza Premium, and Priority Pass.
- When the anniversary year arrives, you will get an additional 10,000 miles on your account.
- Application fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.
One of the best advantages of this card is that it goes without any annual fee. It also provides you with primary vehicle hire insurance that you can use for most cars. Bilt Mastercard also allows you to earn points for your account while booking auto rentals, which is even more convenient for traveling. You will gain more if you:
- Order food delivery or dine (grants you 3 points per dollar);
- Book flights, apartment, and cruise directly (2 points/dollar);
- Book rental services (1 point per dollar);
- Do other kinds of purchases (1 point/dollar).
The card grants you 25,000 gift points each time you recommend it to 5 members of your family or friends (1 million maximum). The bonuses can be exchanged for:
- Purchase protection;
- Cell phone protection;
- Cancellation of the trip;
- Insurance that covers trip delays;
- Other benefits provided by World Elite Mastercard.
FAQs about car rental and credit cards
Does my credit card cover rental car insurance?
To know more about your credit card, contact your bank.
Do all credit cards cover car rental insurance?
It depends on the card you use. Paying via credit card for the car rental does not cover you from accidents on the road.
Do I need to buy additional insurance when renting a car?
Sometimes, you can skip that because some cards, like Chase Sapphire Reserve®, are already given with primary insurance. However, other cards, like Hilton Honors American Express Aspire, will want you to pay an additional charge to get the insurance.
Can I pay for a car rental with points and still have rental coverage?
Of course, you can. However, it requires you to use a specific credit card. There are cards without a system with points you can exchange for vehicle hire. Some do not even provide you with insurance. That is why you should always check whether your card allows you this kind of service or not.
How much available credit do I need to rent a car?
Before booking, check whether you have enough cash for:
- the authorization charge;
- the price for the rental;
- the fees for underage or senior drivers.
Usually, the vehicle hire providers hold on to the clients’ credit cards to receive a payment for extra possible charges during the rental period. The deposit differs in different companies and usually reaches about $200.
How can I save money on a rental car?
Foremost, you can use special rewards programs, like Hertz Gold Plus, which allow you to earn points for the rental. Convert the points into dollars and spend them on vehicle hire.
Secondly, there are credit cards with a mileage system. While purchasing and booking, you will receive a specific number of miles. United℠ Explorer and Capital One Venture X Rewards cards have such perks.
Final thoughts on the best credit card for car rental insurance
The best card is the one that makes your traveling and everyday life easier. If you like the benefits, discounts, and special programs that your credit card has, use it whenever you can. Especially in car rental!
However, before booking, you should always check whether your card provides you with insurance. Moreover, if it does, you still need to clarify what kind of covering it is and whether it suits you.
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