Car Rental Insurance: You’re Covered with These Credit Cards

Charlotte Sinclair
by Charlotte Sinclair May 19, 2017 / 2 Comments

Think of this scenario. You’ve landed in a new country and you’re at the car rental company. They ask you if you need insurance? You’re not sure. After a long flight, you’re pretty tired, and the kids are complaining about being hungry, so your mind is a mess. In your haste, you decide to purchase the optional insurance policy because the last thing you want to do is be responsible for any charges if you’re in an accident.

The thing is, despite the peace of mind, paying for the additional insurance is almost always unnecessary. If you own a car at home and have insurance, your policy will usually cover you for car rentals. Even if you don’t own a car, there are many travel credit cards that provide you with both collision and damage coverage for rental vehicles.

Most cards offer excellent collision and damage coverage that will protect you as the cardholder in the event that your rental vehicle is damaged or stolen. Even if it’s not your fault, you wouldn’t have to worry about the damage done to the rental vehicle because you’re covered. The only thing to be mindful of is that most credit card car insurance does not provide liability coverage. Therefore it doesn’t cover any damages to other cars, property, or people.

In general, making use of the insurance on your credit card will save you from buying insurance from the rental agency and still provide the coverage you need for any damages to the vehicle.

If you’re looking for a credit card with excellent car rental insurance, you should consider one of the credit cards below. They all provide coverage on rental periods that don’t exceed 48 consecutive days and they require you use the card to pay for a portion or the full cost of the rental vehicle. Finally, you must have declined the rental agency’s collision damage waiver.

American Express Cobalt Card


  • Covered for damage or theft of your rental car with an MSRP of up to $85,000
  • You must use your card to pay the full cost of the rental vehicle
  • Covered up to 48 consecutive days

The American Express Cobalt made our list of the best credit cards in Canada under the Best overall rewards cards category, but it also has some impressive travel benefits. Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance is included as long as you fully charge your rental to your American Express Cobalt Card. You’re covered for damage or theft of your rental car with an MSRP of up to $85,000. In case you’re wondering, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada are the underwriters.

Scotiabank Gold American Express


  • Covered up to the vehicle’s actual cash value plus any valid loss of use charges, towing charges, and administrative charges resulting from damage or theft
  • You must use your card to pay the full cost of the rental vehicle
  • Covered up to 48 consecutive days

What’s great about the Scotiabank Gold American Express card is that it offers coverage up to the vehicle’s actual cash value plus loss of use charges, reasonable towing charges, and administrative charges that could result from damage or theft. This is quite extensive coverage compared to the other cards. The coverage extends to cars, sport utility vehicles, and minivans provided they seat no more than eight occupants including the driver, and they are used for private use only.

BMO World Elite MasterCard Travel Insurance

BMO World Elite MasterCard

bmo-world-elite-mastercard

  • Covers up to $65,000 in expenses due to loss or damage to vehicle, loss or damage to personal belongings, or suffered loss as a result of accidental injury while in the rental vehicle
  • You must use your card to pay for the full or partial cost of the rental vehicle
  • Covered up to 48 consecutive days

The BMO World Elite MasterCard offers coverage up to $65,000 in damages. One advantage to this MasterCard travel insurance plan is that it also offers coverage up to the actual cash value of your personal effects (up to $1,000 per insured person for a maximum of $2,000).

The insurance also provides accidental death and dismemberment benefits of up to $300,000 while occupying a rental car for one accident. In order to receive coverage, you don’t need to pay the full cost of the rental using your card although you must pay a partial cost to receive coverage. Coverage extends to cars, sports utility vehicles, and vans as long as they’re for private use, seat no more than eight occupants, don’t exceed at “¾ ton” rating, and aren’t designed for recreational use.

American Express Gold Rewards Travel Insurance

American Express Gold Rewards Card

american-express-gold-rewards-card

  • Covers up to the vehicle’s actual cash value plus any valid loss of use charges resulting from damage or theft
  • You must use your card to pay the full cost of the rental vehicle
  • Covered up to 48 consecutive days

The American Express Gold Rewards card offers similar coverage as the Scotiabank Gold American Express card in that they both offer full coverage up to the vehicle’s actual cash value plus any valid loss of use charges resulting from damage or theft. This card covers vehicles with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of under $85,000 in its model year. This includes cars, sport utility vehicles, and minivans, provided they have a maximum gross vehicle weight of 2,680 kg (5,966 lbs.), seat no more than eight occupants, and are for private use only.

Regardless of which credit card you have, you can maximize your benefit from the car rental insurance provided. Before renting a vehicle, make sure that the rental agency will allow you to decline the collision damage waiver without making a deposit. Also check the rental car thoroughly for any scratches, dents, or damages before taking possession of the car. This will ensure you aren’t blamed for any damages prior to you taking possession of the vehicle.

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Flickr: John


  • nikokolor

    I recently needed to rent an exotic car and I also needed a car insurance. Recently got into a car accident, and the car was not insured.
    But this company https://gtaexotics.сa offered me very good insurance conditions and I immediately rented a car from them.

  • Frédéric Normand

    Let’s say your CC has collision damages protection on rentals, what’s the consensus about declining CDW in Ireland?

    Doable or not?

    Old news said that it was impossible but what about these days?