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Credit cards with primary rental car insurance: Use these cards for the best protection when renting cars

Primary rental car insurance on a credit card can protect your personal auto insurance if a car you rent using your card is damaged or stolen. If possible, you should always use a card with primary rental car insurance when renting a car.

Here are the cards that offer primary car rental car insurance within your country of residence.

Cards that offer primary rental car insurance

All of these cards offer primary rental car insurance within your country of residence. If you’re renting a car within your country of residence up to 15 days, you’ll be covered by these cards.

More on the cards that offer primary rental car insurance

Here’s a bit more on each of the cards that offer primary rental car insurance within your country of residence.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Primary car rental insurance on every rental, plus great travel benefits

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card art
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) will give you primary rental car insurance on every rental under 31 days with no country exclusions. Although, if you like to rent electric cars, know that Tesla is on the list of excluded brands. It’s a great card for its other travel insurance benefits and the opportunity to earn transferable points on your purchases. Learn more about the card from our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Country exclusions: None.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla. Selected models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, and Range Rover are covered.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: 1-888-320-9961 within the U.S., 1-804-673-1691 collect outside the U.S., or www.eclaimsline.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card bonus: 75k points after spending $4,000 in 3 months. (Annual fee: $95)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card art
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

bonus_miles_full (Get this welcome bonus.)

Limited time offer. This welcome offer was recently increased from 60k. Rewards are earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Premium travel insurance. Point transfers to partner. 25% more value for redemptions through Chase Travel℠. (More in our card review.)

This is an affiliate link.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: The only Chase card that covers luxury cars

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card art
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has primary rental car coverage, but unlike all of the other Chase cards, the benefits guide does not have a list of excluded brands. Instead, the card limits coverage to actual cash value or $75,000. This makes it the only Chase card we know of that offers primary rental car insurance when renting luxury cars. Those renting Teslas, take note: If you’re renting a Tesla as a Chase cardmember, be sure that you use your Sapphire Reserve card—other Chase cards exclude all Teslas as a luxury brand.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Country exclusions: None.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Actual cash value, up to $75,000.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: 1-800-675-1461 within the U.S., 1-804-281-5772 collect outside the U.S., or www.eclaimsline.com.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer: 75,000 bonus points after $4,000 of spending in 3 months. (Annual fee: $550)

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card art

bonus_miles_full (Get this welcome bonus.)

Limited time offer. This welcome offer was recently increased from 60k. Rewards are earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Best-in-class travel insurance. Airport lounge access. Point transfers to partners. 50% more value for redemptions through Chase Travel℠.

This is an affiliate link.

United℠ Explorer Card: Two United Club℠ passes each year and primary rental car insurance

United℠ Explorer Card card art
United℠ Explorer Card

The United℠ Explorer Card covers most car rentals up to 31 days with primary car rental insurance with no country exclusions. Many luxury brands, including Teslas, are excluded from the card’s coverage, so be sure to double check the card’s benefit guide if you’re renting an expensive car. If your travels have you occasionally flying United and renting cars, the Explorer Card can be a great choice. Learn more and compare the card against the other United credit cards in our United credit card overview.

United℠ Explorer Card essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Country exclusions: None.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla. Selected models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, and Range Rover are covered.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: 1-888-880-5844 within the U.S., 1-804-281-5768 collect outside the U.S., or www.eclaimsline.com.

United℠ Explorer Card offer: 50k miles after $3k spent in 3 months. (Annual fee: annual_fees)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card card art

bonus_miles_full Get this welcome bonus.

A good welcome bonus, especially considering that the card has a $0 introductory annual fee in the the first year. Rewards are earned as United MileagePlus milea.

United Club one-time passes. Free first checked bag. Earns PQPs. (More in our United card roundup.)

This is an affiliate link.

United Quest℠ Card: Great for MileagePlus® enthusiasts who want primary rental coverage

United Quest℠ Card card art
United Quest℠ Card

The United Quest℠ Card is the card you want if you like redeeming MileagePlus® miles and rent cars during your travels. The card offers primary rental coverage on rentals up to 31 days with no country exclusions. Compare the United Quest card against the other United Cards in our United card overview.

United Quest℠ Card essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Country exclusions: None.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla. Selected models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, and Range Rover are covered.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: 1-888-880-5844 within the U.S., 1-804-281-5768 collect outside the U.S., or www.eclaimsline.com.
card_name welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Chase seems to increase the welcome bonus on this card every few months. If you don’t need the card immediately, it might be worthwhile to wait on another bonus.

The link above is our affiliate link. We always show you the best offer, and this is the best offer we know about on this card.

United Quest℠ Card card art

United Quest℠ Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $250.
Rewards: 3x miles on United purchases. 2x miles on dining, select streaming services, and all other travel. 1x miles on other eligible purchases.
Perks: Up to $125 in United purchase credits. Up to 10,000 in award flight credits. Free first and second bags. Trusted traveler credit. Earns Premier Qualifying Points.

United Club℠ Infinite Card: United Club℠ access and primary auto rental insurance

United Club℠ Infinite Card card art
United Club℠ Infinite Card

You probably have the United Club℠ Infinite Card if you travel frequently on United and want airport lounge access to the United Club lounges. If you have the card in your wallet, it’s a great choice to use the card for renting cars, thanks to its primary rental car coverage on rentals up to 31 days with no country exclusions. Similar to the other Chase cards, a handful of luxury brands are excluded from coverage, so be sure to check your card’s benefit guide if you’re renting an expensive card. Compare the United Club Infinite card against the other cards in United’s credit card lineup in our United credit card overview.

United Club℠ Infinite Card essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 31 consecutive days.
  • Country exclusions: None.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla. Selected models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, and Range Rover are covered.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: www.eclaimsline.com.
card_name welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: In early 2023, the welcome bonus on this card offered 100k points, but the current bonus is the best bonus we’ve seen recently on this card.

The link above is our affiliate link. We always show you the best offer, and this is the best offer we know about on this card.

United Club℠ Infinite Card card art

United Club℠ Infinite Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $525.
Rewards: 4x miles on United purchases. 2x miles on dining and all other travel. 1x miles on other eligible purchases.
Perks: Untied Club membership. Free first and second bags. Trusted traveler credit. Earns Premier Qualifying Points.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card: 3x on mobile wallet with primary car rental insurance

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card card art
U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card offers primary car rental insurance coverage on every rental. And if you can pay with a mobile wallet, you can get 3 points per dollar—worth 3% cash back or 4.5% toward travel redemptions—on your rental. The card covers cars with an actual cash value up to $75,000 in all but a handful of countries. (Israel, Jamaica, The Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland are excluded from coverage.) Learn more about the Altitude Reserve, in our opinion one of the most under-rated travel rewards cards, in our card review.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 15 days within country of residence, 31 consecutive days outside country of residence.
  • Country exclusions: Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Any car having an MSRP of more than $75,000 when new.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: 1-800-546-9806 within the U.S., 1-804-673-7481 collect outside the U.S. www.eclaimsline.com.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card card art

Learn how to apply.

Annual fee: $400

This is a direct bank link. All information about the U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card sign-up bonus

Earn 50,000 bonus points worth $750 on travel. Just spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can get a bigger welcome bonus with several other competing cards with similar annual fees.

More about this card


Benefit highlights:
$325 in annual statement credits for travel and dining purchases.
Primary auto rental collision damage waiver.
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
Trip delay reimbursement.
Lost luggage reimbursement.
Extended warranty.
Purchase security.
Return protection.

Rewards:
5x on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked with the Altitude Rewards Center.
3x on eligible travel purchases.
3x on mobile wallet purchases made with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay.
1x on other eligible purchases.
Rewards are earned as points which can be redeemed for cash back at 1 cent apiece, or toward travel at 1.5 cents each.

Learn more:
Learn more about in our review of the Altitude Reserve.

Venture X: Coverage on every rental, up to 15 days in country of residence and 31 days abroad.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card art
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X card may be a card you have in your wallet for its lounge access benefit and its $300 travel credit, but the card is a great choice to use for your car rentals as well. You’ll get primary coverage on car rentals up to 15 days in your country of residence. Abroad, you’ll get 31 days of primary coverage and you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees (like most other Capital One cards.) Israel, Jamaica, The Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland are excluded from coverage, so choose another card in these countries. Learn more about the rewards and benefits of the Venture X in our card review.

Venture X essential rental car insurance terms:

  • Benefit: Visa car rental insurance serviced by Cardmember Services.
  • Maximum rental period: Up to 15 days within country of residence, 31 consecutive days outside country of residence.
  • Country exclusions: Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland.
  • Brand/value exclusions: Any car having an MSRP of more than $75,000 when new.
  • How to contact Card Benefit Services: 1-800-546-9806 within the U.S., 1-804-673-7481 collect outside the U.S. www.eclaimsline.com.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offer: 75k miles after spending $4k in 3 months. (Annual fee: $395)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card art

Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Get this welcome bonus.

Not nearly as good as the card’s 100k point launch offer, but an above-average bonus when compared to competing cards.

$300 Capital One Travel annual credit. Transferable points. Travel insurance. (More in our card review.)

This is a referral link. All information about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Why use a card with primary rental car insurance?

If you’re involved in an accident or your rental car is stolen, a credit card with primary rental car insurance can cover damages to your rental car without requiring you to make a claim to your personal auto insurance. This coverage can protect your personal car insurance against the type of rate hikes that you’ll often see after making a claim. Credit card car rental insurance often includes no deductible, which can immediately save you cash if you need to make a claim.

Where to get more information on your coverage

Your credit card’s guide to benefits should be your first stop to find authoritative information on your card’s rental car insurance coverage. If you do not have a copy of your guide to benefits, you can often find it online, but you can always get a copy by calling the customer service number on the back of your card. Check out our article on finding your card’s guide to benefits for more.

We also publish articles that take a deeper dive into benefits offered by card processing networks. Learn more about the Visa car rental insurance provided on the cards above.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need travel insurance if I have a credit card with car rental insurance?

You may need additional insurance, even if your credit card offer primary car rental insurance. The insurance provided by your credit card won’t cover liability or medical expenses. Additional travel insurance can help protect you and your travels outside your rental car.

Does my credit card have car rental insurance?

The best way to figure out if your credit card offers car rental insurance is to check your card’s guide to benefits. In your card’s benefit guide, you’ll find details on your coverages if your card offers this coverage. Call the customer service number on the back of your card to request your guide to benefits if you do not have it handy.

Does credit card travel insurance cover things stolen from my car?

Credit card travel insurance typically won’t cover items stolen from your rental car. However, some MasterRental insurance coverages on premium cards offer a limited amount of protection for personal items in a rental car.

Is it worth it to use a card with secondary car rental insurance?

Absolutely. While you’ll be required to make a claim with your auto insurance for rental car damages if you’re in an accident, secondary car rental insurance can cover your comprehensive deductible or some expenses that your regular car insurance doesn’t cover.

What does CDW cover?

Your car rental agency may offer a collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver (CDW/LDW) insurance option. This coverage typically waives any costs you may incur if you damage a vehicle you rent, but accepting this coverage will negate coverage you may get for free from your credit card. Renting a car with a card that offers primary car rental insurance can save you the expense of paying for extra CDW/LDW coverage.

Do I need extra insurance when renting cars?

Whether you need extra insurance will depend on what insurance you already have. Your personal automobile insurance may cover rental cars. Primary credit card rental insurance can cover damages to or theft of a rental car. Make sure that you consider liability and medical coverage—credit card coverage typically does not cover expenses for damage someone else’s property or if you are physically injured.

About the author

  • Aaron Hurd

    Aaron Hurd is a credit card, travel rewards, and loyalty program expert. Over the past 15 years, he has authored over a thousand expert contributions published by leading outlets including WSJ, TIME, Newsweek, Forbes, NerdWallet, The Points Guy, Bankrate, CNET, and many others. He has also served in consulting roles for many of these same outlets, designing content strategy, hiring teams of teams of editors and contributors, developing thought-leadership pieces, and ghost-editing for senior editors. Aaron is well-known in the miles and points community and regularly presents about travel rewards at conferences like the Chicago Seminars and Minnebar. Aaron has enjoyed the game of optimizing credit card rewards since getting his first credit card shortly after he turned 18. He started learning about credit cards and travel rewards from the (now defunct) FatWallet Finance forums and FlyerTalk. He holds more than 40 open credit cards and has first-hand experience with almost every major credit card product.

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