Renting a Car? Your Credit Card Benefits Might Not Cover Everything

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So you’re heading out of town and you’ve decided to rent a car. You don’t have your own insurance policy but know your credit card offers built-in collision benefits should something happen while you’re away. So I guess that’s it, right? Unfortunately, no. While your credit card company may offer collision coverage as part of your membership, there are a few “gotchas” your benefits won’t cover according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune.

Here’s a quick run-down of things to look out for before you drive off the rental car lot:

  1. “Upgrade” to SUV – Regardless of whether the SUV was selected by you or offered as an upgrade because the midsize sedan you wanted was unavailable, know that some credit card collision coverage specifically exclude full-size sport utility vehicles.
  2. “Expensive” Cars – Most credit card companies don’t cover collision damage to cars with a retail value of $50,000+ so be sure to pay the CDW.
  3. Vans and Pickups – Almost no credit card coverage applies to large trucks or vans so be sure to pay the CDW if you need a U-Haul or another vehicle to haul or tow a load.
  4. Flat Tires – Believe it or not, a blowout or flat tire might not come under the definition of “damage” to a rental car.
  5. Unlocked Car – If a police report notes the doors were unlocked at the time of the theft, it’s highly likely neither a credit card nor the rental company’s theft insurance will cover you.
  6. Stuck Vehicle – If you’re vehicle gets stuck for an extended period of time, your credit card coverage will not protect you from extra day charges or late fees. Car towed? You might also be forced to fork over payments for extra days.
  7. Damage to Others – Should you harm another person or damage their property, neither a credit card nor CDW policy will cover you. This is a personal liability claim, not collision.
  8. Prepaid CDW – Credit card coverage almost always requires that you pass on the rental company’s CDW, but “card issuers’ policies on bundled CDW differ” so check with your card.

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