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Which Credit Cards Give Rental Car Liability Protection?

credit card payment for car rental

Planning to rent a car? Know which credit cards have insurance included

There once was a time when credit card companies universally offered their customers fantastic rental car insurance. Today, most credit card companies continue to offer some kind of rental car insurance, but the extent of the coverage now varies. Some credit card companies continue to offer great rental car insurance while others offer the bare minimum. If you travel frequently, whether for business or pleasure, rental car insurance might be a serious concern for you. Before you decide to apply for a new credit card, you should ask yourself, “which credit cards give rental car liability protection?”

Visa provides its card owners with complimentary rental car collision and theft insurance. Discover, MasterCard, and American Express offer rental car collision and theft insurance only to its elite members with high credit scores. All the major credit card companies offer secondary coverage, which means they will cover any additional costs your primary auto insurance company won't cover. 

Rental car agencies charge “loss-of-use” fees when a car a customer damaged is not available for rental because it is in the shop. Agencies also charge “diminished value fees,” which is supposed to cover the inherent value lost when one of their rental cars is damaged. Some credit card companies claim to cover these fees, but the problem is the circumstances in which they will cover them is very limited. In some cases, credit card companies will only cover the fees if they determine them to be “reasonable.” But what is and is not “reasonable” is up for the credit card companies to decide.

Visa might offer the best rental car coverage of any major credit card company. In the event of an accident, Visa will cover up to the cash value of most rental cars. The coverage does exclude, however, coverage of exotic, luxury, and recreational vehicles, but all credit card companies exclude coverage of these vehicles as well.

Do you know any other cards which offer car rental insurance? Share in the comments below.