Best Credit Cards for Car Rental Insurance Of April 2024 – Forbes Advisor


Primary insurance is just what the name implies—it’s the first insurance to be applied, in the case of an incident. Secondary insurance is insurance that is only invoked when other coverages are exhausted.

Having primary credit card rental car insurance means you don’t need to access your personal auto insurance, if you have an accident. Secondary car rental insurance from your credit card is only applied to expenses that are not covered by any other policies the cardholder has. For most, that means that secondary credit card insurance would cover the deductible in case of an accident, with personal auto insurance covering the rest.

Most personal auto policies do not provide coverage outside the U.S and possibly Canada and Mexico. That means that internationally, secondary credit card car rental insurance becomes a primary policy since there is no personal auto insurance policy in effect.

Similarly, a person who does not own a car and consequently, does not carry a personal auto insurance policy, would be covered by primary and secondary credit card rental car collision insurance equally.

Be aware that insurance policies vary between card providers and specific credit card agreements. The requirements may change based on the country and length of your rental. Please check with your card provider regarding the specifics of any insurance coverage. If you have additional questions, it may be wise to consult your primary insurance provider.


How To Choose a Credit Card With Auto Rental Coverage

While the top credit cards for auto rental coverage listed above are the best options on the market today, there are always other factors to consider. These tips can help you select the right travel credit card for your needs:

  • Compare primary and secondary auto rental coverage: If you prefer secondary coverage that only kicks in after you exhaust your own auto rental insurance coverage limits, then there are considerably more cards you can choose from.
  • Consider the type of rewards you’ll earn: You’ll probably notice the cards we’ve highlighted above dole out different types of rewards. Some earn flexible rewards while others earn points or airline miles. As you compare credit cards offering auto rental coverage, make sure to look for cards earning rewards you can actually use. If you rarely fly, for example, there’s probably no use in racking up the airline miles.
  • Weigh annual fees against cardholder benefits: Some cards with primary auto rental coverage charge much higher fees than others and that’s usually because they offer additional cardholder perks to make up for higher fees. If you choose a credit card that does charge a high annual fee, make sure you get enough value out of the extra benefits to justify the cost. Our recommended card list demonstrates that you don’t need to pay a high annual fee to get primary rental car insurance.
  • Take a close look at welcome offers and minimum spending requirements: Welcome offers can represent significant value, but require upfront spending to earn them. In the case of cards with an exceptionally high minimum spending requirement, you should take stock of your expenses to make sure you can meet the threshold with your planned spending.

Find the Best Travel Credit Cards for 2024

Find the best travel credit card for your travel needs.


Bottom Line

A rental car accident can potentially result in catastrophic financial loss. Credit card rental car insurance is a cost-effective way to obtain collision damage coverage, but it doesn’t cover all liabilities. The main advantage of credit card rental car insurance is that it is complimentary, so it saves you money. The disadvantage is that the process to submit a claim can be lengthy and complicated.

Be sure to understand exactly what is covered by credit card rental car insurance so you don’t have any surprises should an adverse event occur. A good understanding of the conditions and process, before you rent a car will help ease the stress should you have to file a claim.

To view rates and fees for Bilt World Elite Mastercard® please visit this page.
To view rates and fees for the The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.
To view rates and fees for the American Express® Gold Card please visit this page.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.
¹Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.



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