This blog post was updated on October 4, 2019.
We have all approached the car rental counter with a little uneasiness. Most of us walk away wondering just how the rental price could double if not quadruple by adding the car rental counter insurance. For my upcoming trip to Greece, I decided that I didn’t want to be in the dark anymore about car rental insurance. Many of us often overpay for the insurance at the counter when either our home car insurance has us covered or in many cases, the very credit card in our wallets provides coverage.
After doing some digging around on my own credit cards and what sort of car rental coverage they offer, I realized that every traveler could take advantage of their credit card’s car rental insurance and save in the process. If using your credit card for car rental insurance is foreign territory for you, here are a few questions you should ask of your credit card company about car rental insurance coverage.
Do you offer coverage and what do I need to do to use it?: The first and most obvious question that I asked of my credit card companies was whether they even offered car rental insurance. I quickly learned that many of my cards did offer coverage. This can vary from company to company and from bank to bank. Sadly it isn’t a one sizes fits all, especially when you factor in the different types of credit cards and their rewards. You should poll all of your credit card companies to see if they do offer insurance. If they do, you should also figure out how you can use it. Some will have you activate the service online or by calling while others will merely tell you to charge the rental on that card and you are covered.
Where do you cover car rentals?: While many credit card companies offer car rental insurance for their customers, many don’t cover the same places. Some will limit where their coverage will work. For example, Italy and Ireland are often left off of credit card company’s car rental insurance policies. You need to be certain that the destination you are looking to rent a car is covered under the insurance offered by your credit card.
What is covered and what isn’t?: Many car rental companies will offer you collision damage coverage for a daily fee. However, most major credit card companies do provide this coverage merely if you charge the rental on that card. Before you go jumping for joy that your credit card company covers you, you need to get specific. You should ask what the coverage does and does not include. For example, some credit card companies might include theft and towing while others will not. Some will even have a maximum amount that they will cover in damages while others do not have a set amount. You need to know what is and what isn’t covered so that you know what areas you might need additional coverage whether from the car rental company or traveler’s insurance.
How long do I have to file a claim?: The length of time for you to file or report a claim will also vary from company to company. Some will only allow 2 days while others will allow up to 180 days. This time limit differs depending on the company, bank and the card itself. You need to know what this time frame is if you need to file a claim and if you need to file one quickly.
What is the allotted rental period?: In addition to knowing the time constraints for the filing of claims, you should also know if your credit card company has a set allotted time for the rental period. The rental period coverage could depend on if you are renting domestically or internationally. Generally, this is listed as a consecutive day period.
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