Credit Card Coverage?


Before you count on your credit card to cover the CDW requirement for your rental vehicle, take a look at Cardhub’s detailed survey of the best and worst cards for coverage.

Car Rental Credit Card Survey
"Credit Card Survey
for Car Rental Insurance"
image © CardHub

The research covered the most popular credit cards used in the U.S.A., including Citi, Chase, USAA Visa, USAA AMEX, Wells Fargo, Capital One Visa, Barclay, and American Express.

Their investigation of the level of coverage offered by credit cards was particularly revealing for Costa Rican rental.  For many renters, it’ll be a real eye-opener to learn that their credit card excludes SUVs or driving on unpaved roads!

Surprisingly, ten percent of credit cards don’t cover SUVs which make up about 90% of Vamos’ fleet and are the popular choice for tourists on vacation in Costa Rica.  More worrying is the word choice of ‘off road vehicle’ in most exclusions which could well cover much of the fleet too.

Six percent of cards won’t cover for damages occurring on unpaved roads — which unless you are planning on a vacation in the airport parking lot is an impossibility!  Other exclusions that may apply are those concerning rental duration or coverage limit.

CardHub Official Logo
"Official Logo" image © CardHub

Cardhub offer the following tips to minimize the cost and liability when renting a car:

  • Call your insurance company and find out if rentals are covered under your standard policy. Older policies may not offer this coverage.
  • Call your credit card issuer and ask what limitations apply to the car rental coverage provided by your particular type of credit card.
  • It might be wise to accept the liability insurance and collision damage waiver offered by the car rental company if you do not have personal auto insurance and your credit card does not provide sufficient coverage.
  • Long-term rentals might not be covered by your existing auto insurance, as time limitations may be imposed by your policy.
  • Your personal auto policy – if it even covers rentals – only applies when the vehicle is used for personal use, so if you’re traveling for business check what other options are available for you.

While Citi card holders came out on top, AMEX users will want to check the small print very carefully before waiving the car rental agency’s CDW as their card came out bottom on the comparison.

See the full results @

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