Does my credit card give me car rental insurance?

Some credit cards provide car rental insurance, and your own car insurance policy may cover you for rentals as well. When should you buy the insurance rental companies offer you? 

Tim Roske
Should you pay for the optional insurance offered by rental car companies or rely on your credit card for rental insurance?

With the summer travel season fast approaching, we know many of you will be hopping in your cars to enjoy the national parks, take a tour of our nation's many great cities, or at least to see friends and family. A question I often get from readers and friends is, "Does my credit card give me rental insurance?" Well, here's your answer!

Check the Fine Print

If you rent a car and have your own personal insurance, that insurance will likely cover collision and theft coverage. Whether or not you'd like your insurance to find out about this, though, is your call. Purchasing the add-on at time of rental prevents your own insurance from going up when you rent a car and have an accident (plus, you're off the hook for the deductible).

So, if you thought your card provided you with personal insurance, check the fine print. The cards that offer primary insurance while renting a car includes the the United Mileage Plus Explorer, United MileagePlus Club, Fairmont Visa Signature, Discover Escape, Ritz Carlton Visa Signature and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. American Express cards can add the perk for $24.95 per rental.

Again, Check the Fine Print

There's a maximum amount of coverage that credit cards provide. This is important for longer-term rentals. Amex is 30 days (42 days in the premium program). Chase is 31 days for World and World Elite (14 days for other types), Discover is 31 days, and Visa is 15 days in the USA. Also, if you're renting luxury cars, your card most likely won't cover it. Many countries aren't covered as well. Check the fine print!!

Should I Get the Rental Company's Insurance?

It seems to me that all the fine print and red tape, coupled with the potential for being on the hook for damages anyway, makes it easier to just take the rental company's insurance when you rent a car. But if you're a risk taker (or a lawyer), and have one of the cards mentioned, go for it!

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to