What Makes Credit Cards Good for Car Rentals ?

The best accredit cards for car rentals give consumers an array of benefits, although individual menu offerings can vary. Most travel credit cards offer some tied of car insurance coverage for starters, and many offer extra travel policy benefits like trip cancellation/interruption indemnity, baggage delay coverage, and travel accident indemnity .
Travel credit cards in this distance much let you earn valuable rewards for each dollar you spend—and the likely for bonus points on car rentals or early travel expenses .

What Types of Auto Insurance Do Credit Cards Offer ?

  • Primary collision damage waiver: Primary collision damage waiver can be used in place of your own insurance or pricey add-on coverage, meaning you can decline any additional insurance offered at the rental counter. This coverage typically provides protection for physical damage and theft, towing charges, loss of use, and more. 
  • Secondary collision damage waiver: Secondary collision damage waiver covers the same kinds of losses, although it is only usable after other insurance policies have been exhausted. This means you would file an insurance claim with your own insurance before this coverage would apply.

With both types of car indemnity you can get from a credit calling card, there are rules and stipulations to be aware of. Your credit calling card may limit the come of time your coverage applies, and there are some types of autos that may not qualify. besides note that car insurance from a credit rating poster doesn ’ t come with liability insurance, meaning you won ’ metric ton have coverage for place damage or personal injuries.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Credit Card Rental Car Insurance ?

While there ‘s a distribute to like about getting free lease car coverage from your recognition card, there are a few things to watch out for .

  • Allows you to skip extra car lease fees
  • Can let you avoid filing a claim with your insurance company


Pros Explained

  • Allows you to skip additional car rental fees: Primary auto rental coverage lets you bypass extra charges for add-on coverage at the rental counter, saving you money every time you rent a car.
  • Can let you avoid filing a claim with your insurance company: If you have primary auto rental coverage through a travel credit card, you can file a claim directly with this coverage without contacting your personal auto insurance company. 

Cons Explained

  • Some vehicle types excluded: Some auto rental coverage from credit cards excludes specific types of vehicles. For example, cargo vans, exotic vehicles, and antique cars may not qualify. 
  • Coverage usually limited in duration: Auto rental coverage from credit cards is typically only good for a limited time, such as for rentals up to 30 days. 
  • Coverage usually limited in dollars: Your auto rental coverage may come with specific limits, such as up to $75,000 in total damages or up to the actual cash value of the rental car. 
  • Coverage limited in scope: Credit card rental car insurance usually only covers the car itself. You may not have coverage for personal liability, underinsured/uninsured motorist, and other coverages. 

How Should You Choose a Card With Car Rental Insurance ?

flush if rental car insurance is your foreman consideration when looking for a credit card, you should besides consider other features and characteristics when making your choice. Car rental collision damage release is often included among a server of batting order perks that you may need or want .

  • Does the card offer primary or secondary auto rental coverage? Many cards offer secondary coverage, but only a few offer primary. 
  • Are you okay paying an annual fee?
    All of the cards we found that offer primary coverage charge an annual fee.
  • What kind of rewards do you hope to earn?
    Would you like to earn extra points when you rent a car, and/or points that can redeemed for rental cars?
  • Are you interested in additional travel benefits like airport lounge access or annual travel credits?
    Some cards that offer primary rental car coverage also offer those kinds of benefits, but they have higher annual fees.
  • Are you hoping to earn a big sign-up bonus when you meet a minimum spending requirement within a few months?
    Hefty welcome offers can be worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. But again, cards offering those benefits may charge a bigger annual fee.

once you ’ ve answered those questions, it helps to compare cards based on their rewards programs, their fees, and the measure of the car rental coverage they offer. besides make surely you ’ re comfortable with the coverage limits the cards you ’ ra considering list in their terms and conditions angstrom well as the coverages they include .
At the end of the day, the right credit poster for you will come with policy benefits that help you save money, enough of perks, and valuable rewards you can redeem once you ’ rhenium ready. hera ’ s another front at the cards we think are best for car rental policy benefits :

Compare The Best Credit Cards for Car Rentals

 Credit Card  Annual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best Overall, Best Insurance Coverage
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Best for Businesses
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Best for Earning Rewards on Car Rentals $550
United℠ Explorer Card

Best Airline Card
$0 for the first year, then $95


We collect data on hundreds of cards and sexual conquest more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it ‘s our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit rating calling card reviews .
Our reviews are always unprejudiced. No one can influence which cards we review, the room we present them to you, or the ratings they receive .

About This tilt

We review this list of cards each calendar month or whenever there ‘s a meaning change in the travel-rewards credit card market. We give preference to cards labeled as “ general travel ” as those are typically more flexible, but besides consider ace business and travel provider-branded cards, as those cards can be a bang-up meet for the proper consumer.

What We Score

Our scores for the best credit cards for cable car rentals give heavy retainer to the prize of the estimated rewards an average U.S. traveler could earn specifically on car rentals and gas. We give a draw of weight to primary rental car insurance benefits and the tease ’ s average annual fee cost, besides. ( We consider a card ’ mho average annual fee over three years to smooth out the shock of having an annual tip waived the first base class, a common feature of many travel rewards cards, including those that reward rental car expenses ) .
We besides factor in the maximal value of the sign-up bonus, and the average interest rate you ’ five hundred pay if you carried a symmetry month-to calendar month, even though we don ’ metric ton recommend doing then with any rewards calling card .
Beyond those main characteristics, we besides factor in the card network ( which indicates how wide accepted the wag may be when traveling, peculiarly outside the U.S. ), the number of airline partners a rewards course of study has, and the recommended credit score. For more information about how The Balance evaluates credit cards, see our full credit card review methodology .

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