Compare Credit Cards' Rental Car Insurance Policies

The following is a compendium of insurance coverage plans offered by the major credit cards. Information provided by CreditCard.com.

Coverage varies

Visa and American Express provide rental auto insurance to all cardholders as a free benefit, though America Express offers a paid upgrade to a premium insurance program. Discover and MasterCard offer rental auto insurance only to cardholders at more elite levels, such as gold or platinum (in other words, those with better credit).

Most plans cover vehicles rented up to one month, and cover up to $50,000 of damage or loss (though American Express has plans that go higher). Be aware, however, that not all rental vehicles are covered. Commonly excluded vehicles are exotic cars, motorcycles, campers, mini buses, pickup trucks and cargo vans. Cars rented in certain countries are also excluded.

The accompanying chart outlines the basic auto rental insurance plans offered by the four payment networks. Details of auto rental insurance plans can change at any time and may differ slightly from issuer to issuer. Before you embark on a trip in a rental car, it is advisable to call your issuing bank (i.e., Chase or Capital One, not Visa or MasterCard) to gather the details on your individual plan.

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