Car rental insurance charges can sometimes exceed the rental rate itself. Car rental companies make millions of dollars on these excessive fees because consumers are unaware of their own coverage or scared into buying coverage they don’t need. Do your research ahead of time, that way at the counter you can confidently decline or accept the coverage offered. After you do your research do not be scared by the counter agent. Sometimes they are paid a commission based on the coverage they can upsell. They may try to sell you the most expensive coverage, bragging how it offers you bumper to bumper, no worry coverage no matter what happens. It may be a waste of money as your own credit card or personal auto insurance may already provide the same blanket of protection.
Here are some tips to confirm if your credit cards will cover your car rental insurance:
Do your research
Very important. Call your credit card companies ahead of time and check for the details. Check your credit card rules and terms of service, usually mailed to you with your first card. The written rules are most important, and supersede anything a rep tells you over the phone. If you have a problem, you will need to refer to the written terms. Read them carefully and note all the instructions and restrictions to obtain the coverage.
Check the fine print
The coverage comes with rules that must be followed. In some cases you MUST deny all car rental insurance from the car rental agency in order for the credit card coverage to apply. My Lufthansa Miles and More card has this rule. Usually you must use the credit card in question to activate the coverage they offer. You may be able to pay for the rental with another card or cash, but usually you must reserve the car with the card offering coverage.
Check the vehicle values
Some car rental policies have limits on the value of vehicles they cover. Sometimes these values are quite low. Using my Miles and More MasterCard as an example, the coverage is limited to vehicles with a MSRP under $25,000. which leaves out all luxury vehicles and many SUVs and mid size cars as well.
Check with you own auto insurance
Most personal auto policies from major providers offer some rental car coverage. I have a policy from Progressive that offers me the same coverage as on my personal vehicle, also with a $1000. deductible.
A side note, did you know most coverage from the rental car companies excludes any additional drivers, including valet parkers, so never let anyone drive the rental car.