Chart: Compare credit cards' rental car insurance policies
It's no longer wise to automatically refuse extra coverage at rental counter
By Michelle Crouch
Renting a car and turning down the agency's offer of collision insurance because you're sure your card will cover you? Consider carefully: Insurance companies have begun to add fees, and card issuers' coverages vary. Here's a look at the coverages offered by the big card processing firms.
|COMPARE CREDIT CARD RENTAL CAR INSURANCE POLICIES|
||American Express||MasterCard||Discover||Visa||Diners Club
|Do all cards offer coverage?||All, except the Delta Options card (which is no longer being marketed)
||All Gold, Platinum, World and World elite cards do; standard cards vary by issuer||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Secondary or primary?*
||Secondary You can pay $24.95 ($17.95 for California cardholders) for Premium Car Rental Protection, which offers primary coverage plus additional benefits||Secondary||Secondary (Discover Escape offers primary)
|Amount of coverage||Coverage varies by card and does not cover liability
||The lesser of the actual repair amount, current market value (less salvage), or $50,000 per incident||$25,000 to $50,000, depending on the card
||Replacement cash value of the rental vehicle as it was originally manufactured, taking into account current condition and mileage.||Up to $100,000|
||Coverage varies by card||Trucks, pickups, full-size vans mounted on truck chassis, cargo vans, campers, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, motorbikes, antique vehicles, limousines, sport utility trucks and vehicles with retail prices exceeding $50,000||Off-road, antique, limited edition, high value (more than $50,000) and high performance motor vehicles; trucks; recreational vehicles; campers; pickup trucks; and mini-buses||Expensive, exotic and antique automobiles, certain vans, vehicles with an open cargo bed, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, limousines and recreational vehicles||Trucks, pickups, full-size vans, mounted on truck chassis, campers, off-road vehicles, recreational vehicles, antique vehicles, trailers, motorbikes, vehicles with fewer than four wheels and some SUVs|
|Country exclusions||Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand (for small business cards, coverage if for the US, its territories and possessions only)||Ireland, Israel and Jamaica, and where prohibited by law (World and World Elite have no exclusions)||None except where prohibited by law||Israel, Jamaica, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.||Australia, Italy and New Zealand|
|Limit on rental length||Coverage applies for the first 30 days of the rental||31 days for World and World Elite cardholders, 15 days for other types||31 days (45 days if you're an employee of an organization that provided a card for business use)||15 days in your country of residence, 31 days outside it||45 days
|Fees that are covered
||"Reasonable" towing or storage charges. Loss-of-use and administrative fees "when the rental company provides appropriate documentation"||"Reasonable" towing charges and "reasonable loss-of-use charges substantiated by a location- and class-specific fleet utilization log." Administrative fees are not covered||None except on the Escape card, which covers reasonable towing fees to the nearest collision repair facility.
||Reasonable towing charges and valid administrative and loss-of-use charges imposed by the auto rental company.||"Reasonable" towing costs and "reasonable loss-of-use charges substantiated by a location and class specific fleet utilization log." Administrative fees are not covered|
|Source: CreditCards.com research, updated March 26, 2013.|
Updated: March 26, 2013
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