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This article was last updated Jul 26, 2017, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
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Lately we’ve been writing about all the different kinds of value-adding perks and benefits that come with credit card membership, and those often include features related to auto travel. Some of the best credit cards for auto rentals come with an extra level of insurance protection for cardholders who use their plastic to pay for rental cars and a lot of card issuers include services like roadside assistance.
Those who carry a The Platinum Card® from American Express, for instance, are entitled to complimentary memberships in various premium car rental programs. Those include special upgrades and discounts through Avis, Hertz, and National Car Rental. If you have a Discover Card you can also save because of their partnership alliances within the car rental industry. Just use their online shopping portal to earn 5% cash back at Enterprise, Dollar, and Thrifty on your auto rentals. *Terms and limitations apply.
Emergency Roadside Assistance
One of the most popular perks is roadside assistance. If you break down somewhere you can call your credit card company and they will alert someone to come to your aid. These kinds of emergency services are there to help when you have a flat tire, get locked out of your car, run out of gas, or need to have your vehicle towed. The specifics of how the services work and what the service charge will be varies from one card issuer to another, and the card holder is still liable for any charges incurred for towing, locksmith, etc. The bottom line though; you can be rest assured that if you get stuck on the side of the road all you need to do is call your card issuer’s toll-free number and help will be on the way.
Anyone with a Visa Signature card gets Roadside Dispatch. Their terms and conditions state a service fee of $59.95 per service call that includes:
- Towing up to 5 miles
- Tire changing
- Lockout service (no key replacement)
- Fuel delivery up to 5 gallons
- Winching within 100 feet of paved or country maintained roads only
Partner credit cards that offer roadside assistance include:
Partner American Express Cards
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
- The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
Partner Capital One Cards
- Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business
- Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
- Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
- Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Partner Citi Cards
- Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – 21 Month Intro Offer on BT and Purchases
- Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
*Terms and limitations apply
Auto Collision and Rental Insurance
Another common auto travel feature that may come with card membership is supplementary car rental insurance. Consumers should carry a credit card that includes it to get automatic coverage when you rent a vehicle. As with any insurance, the coverage you receive is subject to certain terms and conditions.
Most coverage, for example, includes stipulations such as “you must decline the Loss/Damage Waiver offered by the vehicle Rental Agency and you must rent the vehicle in your own name and sign the rental agreement/contract.”
Similar requirements will be found on all of these kinds of policies, along with other specific guidelines and rules. The maximum reimbursement for a totaled rental car is usually about $25,000 and won’t normally extend to other kinds of coverage such as personal injury, liability, or damage to other vehicles or property. While the insurance may apply to vehicles rented anywhere in the world, it’s a good idea to check with your credit card company. To find out exactly what kind of coverage to expect, contact the credit card issuer or review the policy issued by their insurance company partner.
The main thing to understand is that this type of insurance is referred to as “secondary” because it provides coverage that supports – but does not replace – your primary auto insurance policy. If your primary vehicle insurance makes a payment to cover the loss and damage, the credit card coverage typically helps pay your deductible or other amounts not covered by your primary insurance provider.
Credit cards that offer supplemental car rental insurance include:
- The United MileagePlus Explorer Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- All Discover it® cards
- All Capital One® cards
- Most Citi credit cards
- Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
- Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Premium Coverage from American Express
Another interesting option if you carry American Express is optional enrollment in a Premium Car Rental Protection. Once you sign up, it extends to any other American Express credit card accounts you may have. There is no cost to enroll and no deductible, and you can receive up to $100,000 in theft and damage coverage. The plan will charge your credit card a flat rate of $24.95 per vehicle rental for up to 42 consecutive days of coverage each time you rent a car using your enrolled card.
Other benefits include up to $15,000 for excess medical expenses per person and up to $5,000 for excess property coverage. The coverage is worldwide except for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand. To find out more and learn all the details call 1-800-338-1670, toll-free. *Terms and limitations apply.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer