I recently had an incident with a rental car while in assignment out of state. (Incident is one level below accident. I scraped the side of the gas pump while refueling. Long story for another day.)
The rental car company called me and asked me about my deductible as they had gotten in touch with my auto insurance company. The damage wasn’t that much, all things considered. $678. Ok, so I figured I’m biting the $500 deductible as, to this point, I’d been incident-free this year. The rental car customer service rep asked me if I had checked with my credit card company about the deductible. At first I thought she’d simply made a mistake and meant to say insurance company. Nope. Credit card company. “Why would my credit card company have any involvement??” “If you check, many credit cards cover the cost of deductibles and more on rental cars as a card benefit.” “Ohhhhh really?!?” She is correct so I thought I’d pass it along to my faithful readers.
Benefits by network
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover all provide rental car insurance above and beyond what your primary insurer and rental company will offer. Here’s a quick overview of each network’s benefits and limitations:
Visa: Visa is often touted for its excellent rental car insurance benefits, mostly because it’s widely available for cardholders. Unlike many other networks, it offers rental car insurance on all of its cards — standard, Signature, rewards, the works. However, it limits its rental car coverage period to only 15 consecutive days domestically and 31 consecutive days abroad.
MasterCard: Its benefits are similar to Visa’s. However, rental car insurance is not offered on all cards, and it limits its coverage period on all rental cars to 15 consecutive days or fewer. According to customer service, it’s available only on Platinum, Gold, World and World Elite cards.
American Express: American Express is the only network to offer premium coverage for a small fee. It offers free secondary coverage up to $50,000 ($75,000 on The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Delta Reserve Credit Card), but will offer primary coverage with a higher limit and protection against injury and property damage if you choose it.
American Express Exemptions:
Students: A Personal, Gold or Rewards Plus Gold cardholders who are enrolled in an accredited four-year college or graduate program in the United States, and are receiving student benefits provided by card membership, are ineligible.
California: Maximum coverage costs $17.95 for:
- $100,000 car damage
- $250,000 accidental death and dismemberment
- $15,000/person medical expenses
- $5,000/person property damage, maximum $10,000 overall
Florida: Property damage is capped at $15,000 per person, $25,000 overall.
Discover: Discover’s coverage is limited to a handful of cards. Unlike the other three networks, Discover doesn’t cover loss of use fees, only collision damage up to a $25,000.
Good info to have in case needed.
BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, stay safe.