Using Your Credit Card for Car Rental Insurance

Having the right insurance when renting a car can be a difficult task to undertake. With so many rental companies out there offering different coverage, it can be an overwhelming process. Fortunately, there is an easier way to make sure you are properly insured when renting a vehicle. Making use of a credit card for car rental insurance is a convenient way to ensure that you are covered if something goes wrong with your rental car.

Credit card car rental insurance coverage

When renting a car, the rental agency usually offers additional insurance coverage, but it often comes with a high fee attached. If you have an eligible credit card, however, then you may already have some level of protection without having to purchase extra coverage from the rental company. 

Many major credit cards offer at least some form of collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW), so it’s important to check with your particular card issuer if your card provides any type of protection when renting vehicles. 

Which credit card has car rental insurance?

If you are a frequent traveler, having the right credit card can make a huge difference. With so many different cards on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is best for your lifestyle. One great feature of certain cards is car rental insurance, which adds an extra layer of protection in case something goes wrong. Do note that not all credit cards provide insurance, and those that do so are often higher-end credit cards. 

According to The Points Guy, these are the best cards for car rental insurance:

- Chase Sapphire Reserve

- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

- Ink Business Cash Credit Card

- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

- United Explorer Card

- United Quest Card

- United Club Infinite Card

- United Business Card

- Any American Express card that’s enrolled in American Express’ Premium Car Rental Protection program


Most of these cards not only give you auto rental coverage for up to the cash value of the vehicle but also provide some form of travel insurance. Your benefits usually extend to trip cancellation and interruption coverage, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection, return protection and other perks.

Most importantly, unlike other cards with rental car insurance, these cards provide primary insurance coverage for your rental. This means that your credit card becomes the primary insurance policy on your rented vehicle and will apply before any other type of insurance. You won’t need to file your claims with different providers and only have to deal with your credit card provider.  

Learn more about primary and secondary coverage and what rental car insurance you may need

Disadvantages of using a credit card for insurance

If you have one of the credit cards above, then you’re likely thinking about using it for rental car insurance. Before you do so, you should be aware of some caveats.

 For one, rental car insurance coverage can vary across credit cards so you should make sure to check your individual card’s policy before assuming about limits and other terms. Some cards may have limits on the amount of coverage available which could leave you responsible for any remaining costs. Furthermore, using a credit card for car rental insurance can result in extra fees as some companies charge additional costs for this type of protection.

Second, make sure to clarify the rules of your insurance policy so you know for certain what instances or situations can be grounds for invalidation of your coverage. For instance, some cards may have caps on the rental period, which limits coverage to only those days. You definitely want to be aware of potential issues that will result in you having difficulty getting an insurance claim paid if something goes wrong and the credit card company refuses to cover it.

The third and most important thing to note is that even the highest-end credit cards may not cover liability risks. Liability coverage protects you from being held responsible for causing an accident or injury to another person. Without this coverage, you could end up having to shoulder out-of-pocket expenses for third-party damages, such as the costs of medical treatment. When they do cover liability, credit card companies typically limit the amount of coverage they will provide in case of an accident. If you are planning on renting a car and driving it in areas with high risk, such as busy cities or highways, it is essential to know whether your credit card company’s maximum liability coverage is enough to cover any potential damages or losses that may occur. 

Fourth, you have to understand what your credit card covers in terms of theft or vandalism. Most credit cards for car rental insurance will cover the cost of replacing stolen items like GPS units and other personal items that were left in the car. However, credit cards typically do not cover damage caused by theft or vandalism, so it’s also important to look into separate policies if these types of risks are a concern for you when renting a car. 

Lastly, many credit cards only offer this type of coverage if the rental company accepts your credit card as payment. If not, then your credit card may not provide any additional benefits or protections when it comes to renting cars.

For everything else, there’s always Bonzah

In summary, credit card for car rental insurance can be a great way to protect yourself while renting a car but it is essential to read the terms and conditions of your credit card agreement before signing up for this type of coverage. By understanding the coverage limits and deductibles associated with credit cards, you can make an informed decision about whether credit card for car rental insurance is right for you.

Should you decide to use your credit card for rental car insurance but find the need to fill gaps in terms of liability coverage, be sure to check out Bonzah’s affordable rental car insurance offers.