Rental Car Insurance Coverage to Avoid With Credit Cards

One of the most common pieces of travel advice is to prevent you from being forced to pay extra for additional car insurance. When you pay with a credit card, you are usually covered by the policy included in the network to which your card is connected.

This advice, although generally true, hides a much more complicated insurance picture.

Many travelers think that they are covered by the policy of their credit card to discover that they were not after a car accident.


Sorry, that type of car is excluded

car loan

The rental car insurance that comes with your credit card has a long list of excluded vehicles. Many exclude exotic cars such as Ferraris and Bentleys. But what about a Ford pickup truck? I was once upgraded to a Ford pickup when the company was in the class of the car I had rented. Only later did I realize that my credit card ruled out a vehicle with an open body or something that could be considered a truck. Certain vans are also excluded. Other policies rule out popular sports cars such as the Ford Mustang, which are often part of the fleet.


No coverage in that country

No coverage in that country

You wouldn’t expect to be covered if you rent a car in a rough and remote part of the world, rushed by violence and lawlessness, but what about countries like Italy? Since the fall of Mussolini, Italy has been a fairly quiet place, but for whatever reason, credit cards seem to be having trouble providing their insurance, along with a few other popular tourist destinations. In addition to Italy, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Israel are also excluded from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diner’s Club coverage. The same applies to Jamaica, New Zealand and in some cases Australia.


That way does not count

rental car insurance policies

It is quite difficult to find a copy of the rental car insurance policies that apply when you use your credit card. And even if you manage to get a copy, there is nothing that excludes coverage if your vehicle is damaged while driving on an unpaved road. What you will find is a clause that excludes coverage if you violate the terms of your rental car agreement. Of course, almost every rental car agreement prohibits you from driving on an unpaved road. More than half of the roads in the United States are unpaved and you can even rent a car in rural areas where almost every road is unpaved. Nevertheless, the insurance company of your credit card will refuse your claim if an accident occurs on an unpaved road.


No coverage with a Loyalty Award program

No coverage with a Loyalty Award program

I am a big fan of loyalty programs and award trips, but I will never reward a rental car. The key to your credit card rental car insurance is that you must reserve and pay the full rent with your card. If you trade in an award for free rental from your airline program or even from the car rental company itself, and you are alone.


Congratulations, you are covered, but …

Congratulations, you are covered, but ...

You have not avoided renting a pick-up truck in Jamaica with your frequent flyer miles, so you can drive off-road, but you have nevertheless had an accident. You have paid for your compact car with your credit card and it has been damaged on a paved road here in the United States.

Do you think you’re going off the hook? Don’t get too comfortable with that insurance contract.

The car rental company will still try to do its best to prevent administrative costs and loss of use. They stick to the fictional idea that all their cars are rented all the time, and renting a car with one thing in the door is simply not possible. So, every precious day they can claim that they don’t rent out their valuable car, they will charge you for their highest rental price. Then they add hundreds of dollars in administration costs. If you count on your credit card company to cover those costs and come to your aid, you might be shocked when they shrug their collective shoulders and tell you that those costs are not covered.


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