It used to be that nearly all credit cards offered rental car insurance. This allowed cardholders to decline the expensive optional insurance that’s often aggressively pushed by rental car companies.
But in recent years, several major card issuers have eliminated this once standard benefit, including both Citi and Discover. Here are some of the best cards that still offer car rental insurance.
These cards both offer primary rental car insurance that’s valid worldwide. Primary rental insurance is important because it means that it will cover you instead of your personal auto insurance. With secondary insurance, you first have to make a claim with your personal car insurance policy if you have one. Otherwise, both are excellent travel rewards cards with annual fees of $95 and $550, respectively.
American Express® Cards
American Express offers rental car insurance on all of its credit cards including:
- American Express® Green Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
The standard coverage is secondary, so you would normally have to file a claim with your personal auto insurance policy if the damage occurred in the United States. However, since nearly all auto insurance policies don’t cover cars rented outside the United States, the coverage is effectively primary when used in a foreign country.
But one of the best things about renting a car with an American Express card is the ability to use their optional Premium Car Rental Protection. For a small, one-time fee of under $25, you’ll receive primary coverage for up to 42 consecutive days. Also, the coverage limits are higher, allowing you to be covered when renting more expensive vehicles. It also covers vehicles that aren’t included in the standard coverage such as pick-up trucks, cargo and passenger vans, and sport utility vehicles. However, this country is inexplicably not valid for cars rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.
But since this fee is only assessed per rental, and not per day, it can be an incredible bargain for longer rentals. There is no deductible to pay when you make a claim, and it even includes up to $15,000 for secondary medical expenses per person and up to $5,000 for secondary personal property coverage ($15,000 for Florida Residents).
Whenever you rent a car, you’re sure to be asked if you’d like to pay extra for rental car insurance, which will often add at least 50% more to the price of the rental. But if you use one of these cards that offer free coverage, you can decline that optional expense and feel comfortable knowing that you are covered.
Related: The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for Avoiding Bag Fees