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5 Best Credit Cards for Car Rental of 2022

5 Best Credit Cards for Car Rental of 2022

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best credit card for car rental because it provides primary rental car coverage and earns unlimited 3x points on all travel purchases. Plus, it covers countries that are often excluded, like Ireland and Jamaica.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Top car rental credit cards of 2022

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

United℠ Explorer Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Jump to

If you’re searching for a credit card for renting a car, the ideal card includes rental car protection, the ability to earn rewards on your reservation, and includes additional car rental perks.

Rental car insurance costs can really add up. Those daily charges can be as much as the rental car in some cases. Finding a credit card with rental car protection benefits is so important because it can eliminate those fees, while still protecting your vehicle in case of damage or theft.

To make it easier for you, we researched the cards available through ValuePenguin, as well as top cards offered by major issuers to pinpoint some of the best options for renting a car. Here are our top picks based on benefits and insurance policies.

Compare the best car rental credit cards of 2022

Card
Welcome Offer
Credit Needed
Annual Fee
Best overall
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>
New Offer! Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.720 - 850$550
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Rental insurance
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.720 - 850$95
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Premium travel for car rentals
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel720 - 850$395
Apply Now
On Capital One's Secure Website
Compare all cards

Welcome Offer

New Offer! Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Credit Score Needed

720 - 850
720 - 850

Annual Fee

$550
$95
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website
Apply Now
On Chase's Secure Website

Best overall

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website

New Offer! Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$550

17.74% - 24.74% Variable

720 - 850

  • New Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

Earns transferable points

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is our choice as the best overall for car rentals. It provides primary rental car coverage due to theft or collision. Plus, you'll receive 10x points on car rentals when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. Cardholders earn an unlimited 3x points on car rentals and all other travel and dining purchases.

You can use these points to book travel, get gift cards, transfer to airline and hotel partners and more. When booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, points are worth 50% more. There is a $550 annual fee for this card, but you receive a $300 travel credit every year.

Car rental benefits

  • Primary insurance on theft or collision damage in most countries
  • Up to $75,000 coverage
  • Valid on rentals up to 31 consecutive days
  • Earn 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Get 3x points on rental cars, travel and dining purchases
  • Enjoy elite status and discounts with National, Avis and Silvercar
  • Use the card's points to book rental cars through the Ultimate Rewards portal at a value of 1.5 cents per point
  • Type of coverage: Primary
  • What's covered: Collision or theft damage on most rental vehicles up to $75,000 for rentals.
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 consecutive days
  • Countries covered: Coverage is good within the U.S. and in most foreign countries .
  • Exclusions: Damage to other vehicles or property or injuries caused by an accident. Additionally, certain vehicles are excluded, such as antique automobiles, cargo vans, motorcycles, mopeds, limousines and recreational vehicles.
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and use the card or the card's rewards to initiate and pay for the entire rental. Additional drivers are also covered.


Best for rental car insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

$95

16.74% - 23.74% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

Earns transferable points

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers great rental car coverage, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers primary insurance coverage for a much lower annual fee.

In other words — either of the Chase Sapphire cards is a winning choice for car rental insurance coverage. In fact, both cards offer a bevy of rewards and travel benefits — you'll have to compare their features to decide which is right for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card car rental benefits

  • Primary insurance on theft or collision damage in most countries.
  • Covers rental periods up to 31 consecutive days.
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.
  • Points are worth 25% more when using points to book through Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual 10% bonus points on total purchases for the year.
  • Type of coverage: Primary
  • What's covered: Theft or collision damage up to the actual cash value of the vehicle
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 consecutive days
  • Countries covered: U.S. and most foreign countries
  • Exclusions: Some vehicles are excluded, such as high-value motor vehicles, antique and exotic cars, cargo vans and recreation vehicles.
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and use the card or the card's rewards to initiate and pay for the entire rental. Additional drivers are also covered.


Best premium travel card for car rentals

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

$395

18.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

720 - 850

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Earns transferable points

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a premium travel credit card that offers valuable protection for your rental cars. It offers primary rental car coverage and earns an unlimited 10x miles on rental cars when booked through Capital One Travel.

Cardholders also have an annual $300 travel credit when booking through Capital One Travel that can be used for your reservations. The miles you earn with the card can be used to "erase" past travel purchases or to book future travel, including rental cars.

Car rental benefits

  • Primary rental car protection against theft or collision.
  • 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 10 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023; 5 Miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Use miles to book rental cars or erase previous purchases
  • Annual $300 travel credit can be used to book rental cars through Capital One Travel
  • Type of coverage: Primary
  • What's covered: Theft or collision up the car's actual cash value, up to $75,000
  • Length of coverage: Up to 15 consecutive days within the U.S. and up to 31 consecutive days in other countries
  • Countries covered: Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are not eligible for coverage.
  • Exclusions: Antiques, expensive cars with an MSRP of $75,000 or more, and vans designed for 10 or more people.
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and use the card to initiate and pay for the entire rental. Additional drivers are also covered.


Best business card for car rentals

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

$95

16.74% - 21.74% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account

Earns transferable points

For businesses with a lot of travel expenses, including car rentals, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card may be your go-to card. The card offers primary rental insurance in most countries for vehicles rented for business purposes, a high 3X rewards rate on car rentals and car rental privileges with Avis. Moreover, there’s no extra fee for issuing employee cards, so you and your employees can use all its car rental benefits cost-effectively.

Car rental benefits

  • Primary coverage for business rentals domestically and internationally.
  • Secondary for personal rentals inside the U.S., but primary outside the U.S.
  • Earn 3x points on rental cars and other travel purchases.
  • Book rentals through the Ultimate Rewards portal using points at 1.25 cents each.
  • Covers rentals up to 31 days in or out of the U.S.
  • Type of coverage: Primary in all locations for business purposes; secondary for U.S. rentals and primary for international reservations for personal purposes
  • What's covered: Theft or collision damage up to the actual cash value
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 days
  • Countries covered: U.S. and most foreign countries
  • Exclusions: No passenger vans that seat 10 or more people, no trucks and no vehicles with an open cargo bed. Additionally, it does not cover expensive, exotic or antique vehicles.
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and initiate and pay for the entire rental with the card. Additional drivers are also covered.


Best card for cash back

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

$0

15.74% - 24.49% Variable

660 - 850

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee – You won’t have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is the best card for cash back on rental cars because it earns 5% cash back on rental cars and other travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

So you can fill up your rental car to earn additional cash back. There are $0 annual fees, so all of the cash back that you earn is not reduced by paying fees.

Car rental benefits

  • Secondary coverage within the U.S.
  • Primary coverage internationally and to uninsured drivers in the U.S.
  • Rental periods of up to 31 consecutive days
  • Earn 5% cash back on rental cars and other travel booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Type of coverage: Secondary for U.S. rentals, primary for international rentals
  • What's covered: Collision or theft damage of a rental vehicle up to the car's actual cash value
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 consecutive days
  • Countries covered: U.S. and most foreign countries
  • Exclusions: Expensive and exotic vehicles, like antiques, cargo vans, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and use the card (or the card's rewards) to initiate and pay for the rental. Secondary drivers are also covered.


Best card for airline miles

United℠ Explorer Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

17.24% - 24.24% Variable

660 - 850

 

  • Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee Credit
  • 25% back on United® inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services

We pick the United℠ Explorer Card as the best airline miles card for car rentals thanks to its car rental protection, along with valuable miles and airline perks. Cardholders get primary rental car protection both in the U.S. and abroad for rental periods up to 31 days.

You'll also get great United perks, including bonus miles on many of your purchases and free checked luggage on United flights.

Car rental benefits

  • Primary rental car coverage up to the actual cash value
  • Covers rentals up to 31 consecutive days
  • Applies to rentals in the U.S. and most foreign countries
  • Earn 1x United miles for every dollar spent
  • Type of coverage: Primary
  • What's covered: Collision or theft damage of a rental vehicle up to its actual cash value or $75,000 for rentals
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 consecutive days
  • Countries covered: U.S. and most foreign countries
  • Exclusions: Certain vehicles, including: high value motor vehicles, exotic and antique cars, cargo vans, vehicles with open cargo beds, trucks (other than pickups), motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, limousines, recreational vehicles and passenger vans with seating for more than nine
  • Other limitations: You must be the primary renter and use your card to pay the bill


Honorable mentions

In addition to the best car rental credit cards mentioned above, there are two others that deserve mention. These travel credit cards also offer attractive rental car protection and might be a good fit for your spending patterns.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

$0

13.99% - 19.99% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • No Annual Fee
  • Redeem rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is a good choice for small business owners who want cash back rewards, $0 annual fees and primary rental car protection. With free employee cards, all employees who rent cars with the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card also receive primary coverage on their rental cars used for business.

Car rental benefits

  • Primary rental car protection against theft or collision damage
  • Earn 1% cash back on car rentals
  • Can redeem rewards for travel, cash, and gift cards through Ultimate Rewards
  • Type of coverage: Primary in all locations for business rentals, secondary in the U.S. and primary for international rentals for personal rentals
  • What's covered: Theft or collision damage of a rental vehicle up to its cash value
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 consecutive days
  • Countries covered: U.S. and most foreign countries. Israel, Jamaica, Ireland and Northern Ireland are excluded
  • Exclusions: High-value cars, exotics, antiques, and select types of vehicles
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and pay for the entire rental with the card. Additional drivers are also covered.


United Club? Infinite Card

On Chase's Secure Website

Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

$525

17.24% - 24.24% Variable

720 - 850

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles.
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges.
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights when you pay with your Club Infinite Card.

The United Club? Infinite Card offers similar benefits as the United℠ Explorer Card — including primary car rental insurance — but it is for frequent travelers on United.

It carries a higher annual fee, but it has higher earning power, includes a complimentary United Club membership and accelerates United elite status. Cardholders also qualify for another sweet car rental perk: automatic enrollment in Avis President's Club.

Car rental benefits

  • Primary rental car protection in the U.S. and abroad
  • Earn 2x miles on rental cars
  • Complimentary enrollment in Avis President's Club, including complimentary two-car class upgrades, guaranteed car availability, expedited rental service and more
  • Type of coverage: Primary
  • What's covered: Theft or collision damage up to the car's actual cash value
  • Length of coverage: Up to 31 consecutive days
  • Countries covered: Coverage is good within the U.S. and in most foreign countries
  • Exclusions: Certain types of vehicles are excluded, such as exotic cars, antiques and recreation vehicles.
  • Other limitations: The cardholder must be the primary driver and use the card or the card's rewards to initiate and pay for the entire rental. Additional drivers are also covered.

Pros of renting a car with a credit card

Besides being one of the most convenient and most accepted forms for rental cars, credit cards come with several other benefits that make them ideal for renting a car:

Collision damage waivers (CDW) and loss damage waivers (LDW)

Many credit cards include collision damage waivers and loss damage waivers. These are basically auto rental insurance policies that cover theft, damage and loss of use of a car rented with your credit card.

There are many benefits to these waivers – they can take the place of the insurance offered by the car rental agency, sparing you from having to pay an expensive daily fee. They can cover costs not covered by your personal insurance. And, for credit cards with primary car rental coverage, they can save you from having to make a claim with your personal insurance policy.

Car rental discounts

Some credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, partner with car rental agencies to give you discounts and other special benefits when you rent a car with your credit card.

Car rental rewards

If you rent a car with a rewards card, you can earn points, miles or cash back on your rental. In some cases, you can also use your points to pay for your rental car reservation.

Primary vs. secondary car rental insurance

Before renting a car with a credit card, you should take a close look at whether your card offers primary or secondary car rental insurance. If possible, you should opt for a card with primary rental car insurance.

The vast majority of credit cards offer secondary coverage that only applies to costs not covered by another policy, including your personal insurance policy. In other words, under a secondary policy, if you have to make a claim, you’ll have to go through your personal insurance first.

With a primary insurance policy, on the other hand, you can report loss or damages directly to your issuer, possibly sparing yourself a premium hike from your personal insurer.

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American Express car rental insurance

Renting a car with an American Express card is a special situation: All American Express cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card, come with secondary car rental insurance.* If you want primary car rental insurance, you’ll have to pay a fee for Premium Car Rental Protection.

How American Express Premium Car Rental Protection works

American Express (Amex) cardholders may pay a rate of $12.25 to $24.95 per rental to get primary coverage on a wide variety of vehicles. While you’re generally better off paying with a card with free primary rental car insurance, Amex Premium Car rental Protection does have a few advantages:

  • A longer-than-average rental period (up to 42 consecutive days)
  • It covers vehicles that most other credit card policies don’t cover, such as luxury vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks
  • The amount of coverage is really high: Up to $100,000 for damage or theft of a qualifying rental vehicle
  • With a maximum fee of $24.95 for the entire rental period, the cost is also very reasonable – much better than the policies pitched to you at a car rental counter
  • Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Tips for renting a car with a credit card

  • Between two cards, choose the card with primary rental car insurance.
  • Check your policy closely for limitations and exclusions, such as – vehicle types, countries (Jamaica and Ireland are often excluded) and rental period (many cards’ policies limit you to two weeks).
  • Make sure the cardholder is the primary renter on the rental car agreement.
  • Decline the rental car company’s collision damage waiver when asked.
  • Pay your entire rental with your credit card. If you’re renting with points or miles, check the terms on your credit card’s car rental policy – your coverage may not apply.
  • Make sure you have a personal insurance policy with liability insurance since your credit card policy won’t cover that.

FAQs about car rental credit cards

Are there types of auto insurance that credit cards do not cover?

Yes, rental car protection from credit cards only covers theft or damage to the rental car. It does not apply to injuries to people or damage to other cars or property. To cover these risks, you should have your own insurance or purchase coverage from the rental car company.

What other exceptions, limitations or restrictions are there on car rental insurance?

To receive coverage for your rental, you must pay for the entire reservation with your credit card. You must decline the collision damage insurance offered by the rental car company. The renter of the vehicle must be the cardholder, but additional drivers are also covered. Coverage limits are generally the actual cash value of the vehicle. Many higher-priced and out-of-the-ordinary vehicles are excluded, such as antiques, exotic cars, recreation vehicles and trucks with an open cargo bed.

Which credit card has the best car rental coverage if I don't have auto insurance?

If you do not have auto insurance, the best car rental credit card is the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. It has a $0 annual fee, yet it provides primary rental car coverage for uninsured drivers. Coverage reimburses up to the car's actual cash value, with a maximum reimbursement of $75,000.

Can I pay for the car rental with points and still have rental car coverage?

In most cases, you are covered when using the points from a credit card that offers rental car coverage. However, you must still meet all of the other conditions, such as the cardholder as the primary renter, type of vehicle and length of rental.

Recap of the best credit cards for car rentals

Methodology

To help you choose the best car rental credit cards, we analyzed the credit cards reviewed on ValuePenguin as well as cards available from the major card issuers. We compiled a list of the best rental car credit cards based on coverage limits, exclusions, benefits, rewards, annual fees, and more. Our recommendations are based on how much value these cards can offer our readers and these choices are not influenced by our advertisers. Learn more on how we calculate rewards.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).