Watch for these Rental Car Insurance Loopholes

One of the best features that most credit card companies offer is car insurance coverage for rental cars. The rental coverage is free for most cardholders, and it covers you for almost any problem you might have while you are driving a rental car. While the credit card car insurance coverage is a great deal, there are some loopholes you need to be aware of before you rent your next vehicle.

Areas Not Covered by Your Policy

Most credit card insurance policies cover you in all 50 states and most foreign countries. There are some exceptions, however. Many typical rental policies do not offer coverage if you drive in Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Australia. Every company is different, however, so check with your credit card to find out where you are covered and where you aren’t.

Certain Vehicles not Covered

Credit card rental car insurance is limited when it comes to what kind of car you are renting. Pickup trucks, sports cars, and large vans are typically not included in most policies. Your best bet is to rent a standard passenger vehicle. If you get to the rental agency and they ask you to upgrade to an SUV, van, or pickup truck, check with your credit card company to be sure the upgrade is covered.

Limited Rental Period

Although the rental company will have no problem with you making an extended rental agreement, your credit card company might not offer the same flexibility. Many credit card rental car insurance policies stipulate that they only cover the car for a limited amount of time. If you keep the car longer than the insurance policy covers, you will be liable for any damages that might occur while you are driving the rental. Be aware of time limits and plan accordingly so that you are not left with a big bill at the end of the rental.

Unexpected Exclusions

It makes sense that rental insurance coverage does not cover damages that happen if a car is being used for illegal purposes or as a commercial vehicle while it is rented. Other exclusions are not so obvious, however. Some rental insurance will not cover damages that occur when you drive on roads that are not paved. If you plan to rent a car in a rural area, you should make sure the insurance would take care of you on dirt or gravel roads as well as city streets. Other unexpected exclusions may apply depending on your credit card company. It is important to be aware of these exclusions before you begin to drive your rental car.

Using Free Points or Special Offers

Some credit card rental insurance will only provide coverage if the card is used as the primary payment method for the rental. That means that you could go uncovered if you use special discounts or other promotional payment types when you rent the car. You need to make sure that the credit card pays the entire base rate of the rental so that it can be used for rental insurance. If the card is only paying for taxes and fees, you are probably not covered by the rental insurance.

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