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Credit card rental car insurance: Stop paying car rental insurance.

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Updated: January 04, 2024

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Please be aware that some (or all) products and services linked in this article are from our sponsors.

If you own a car, it's likely your car insurance applies to the rental. If not, you can get one of the best credit cards for rental car insurance.

While your credit card car rental insurance probably won’t cover all your needs, it likely does provide at least a decent amount of insurance. More importantly, if you accept the collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW) from the agency, your credit card car rental insurance will likely no longer be valid.

To help you figure out what your credit card covers you for, we’ve put together this credit card car rental insurance guide that will answer all your questions. Remember, every travel insurance policy is different so you always need to read the fine print.

Best credit for rental car insurance

BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®*

5x 5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases

3x 3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments*

1x 1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else*

$150 Annual Fee

20.99% Purchase APR

23.99% Cash Advance APR

23.99% Balance Transfer Rate

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Good Recommended Credit Score

$80,000 Required Annual Personal Income

$150,000 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer Ends May 31, 2024

Get up to 60,000 points and the annual fee waived in the first year

Learn more
  • Why the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard is great for car rental insurance

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    The BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®* is one of the few credit cards that includes a car rental personal effects benefit as part of its car rental insurance policy. What this means is that any personal property stolen in your car rental is covered up to $1,000 per person with a maximum of $2,000 per vehicle*.

    The card also provides car rental accidental death and dismemberment benefits*. Obviously it’s a claim that you’ll hopefully never have to make, but the card entitles you (or your beneficiary) to lump sum payouts depending on your loss as a result of an accidental bodily injury while occupying an eligible rental car. For example, you’d be paid $50,000 if you lose a thumb or $200,000 if you suffer a loss of life.

    Terms and conditions apply

    Read our complete: BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®* review.

What insurance coverage you need when renting a car

When renting a car you should consider the possibility of misfortune to your own vehicle/property, as well as the vehicles/property of others. These are the types of coverage you need to keep an eye out for:

  • Damage to the rental vehicle
  • Theft of the rental vehicle
  • Damage to another person’s vehicle
  • Injury to yourself or another person
  • Property damage or loss
  • Loss of use of the rental vehicle while it’s under repair

Generally speaking, as long as you charge the full amount of the rental to your credit card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver, your credit card car rental insurance will cover you for damage/theft to the rental vehicle, and the loss of use of the rental vehicle while it’s under repair.

Some cards may also offer additional coverage beyond just the basics.

Two key things to understand are as follows:

1. Despite the fact that your policy may say it covers you for $65,000 or $85,000 in damages, that usually maxes out at the current value of the car.

2. Your credit card car rental insurance will not provide third-party liability, which covers damage to another person’s vehicle and injury to another person. Each province in Canada sets its own level of minimum third-party liability that must be provided by the rental company. The minimum amount of third-party liability insurance required by law in Canada is $200,000, but many car rental companies have policies that cover you up to $1,000,000. Within Canada, you needn’t purchase additional liability insurance since it’s legally required to come with the car.

If you’re renting a car in a country where there are no laws about liability insurance, you can likely purchase additional insurance directly from the car rental agency so that you’re covered there. If you own a vehicle and have car insurance at home, check your policy as it may already include third-party liability insurance that you can use abroad.

Credit card rental insurance: Conditions and exclusions you should know

  • You must be a Canadian citizen with a valid driver’s license.
  • You must charge the full amount of the rental to your credit card (unless otherwise specified).
  • Some types of vehicles are usually not covered, such as pick-up trucks, commercial vans, antique cars, motorcycles, and luxury cars (over $65K or $85K in value).
  • Travel in some countries may not be covered by your credit card’s car rental insurance. (e.g. in countries for which the Canadian government has issued a formal travel advisory.
  • Your credit card account must be in good standing.
  • 31-48 days of rental is the maximum that your credit card will likely insure you for.
  • If you book your car rental as part of a travel package, you’re still required to charge the full amount of the rental to your travel credit card.
  • If your car rental is provided due to winning a contest, your car rental insurance would apply if you have a history of paying your car rentals with the credit card that includes car insurance.
  • In most cases, if you book your car rental with points, then your car rental insurance would apply assuming the points you use come from the credit card that offers credit card car insurance.

How you use the rental car may also affect your ability to make a claim. Most policies don’t allow you to use your rental car for commercial purposes, which includes moving your own stuff. Your policy would also be void if you get into an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The best credit cards for rental car insurance in Canada

Though many credit cards’ car rental insurance policies have overlapping features, there are some distinctions from card to card that are worth noting.

Best credit card for car rentals in the United States

Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®

3% Earn 3% unlimited cash back on purchases made in U.S. dollars.

1.5% Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on everything else.

$0 Annual Fee To maintain eligibility, you must spend at least $15,000/year.

19.99% Purchase APR Increasing to 20.99% April 2024

22.99% Cash Advance APR

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate

Excellent Recommended Credit Score

$80,000 Required Annual Personal Income

$150,000 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer

$25 Welcome Bonus in cash back rewards upon first card purchase within 3 months of receiving your card2

Learn more
  • How you're covered with the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®

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    If you regularly travel to the U.S., look for a credit card that both provides car rental insurance and helps you defray foreign transaction fees. Enter the Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard®, which covers a car rental up to 31 days, and offers payouts of up to $65,000 in damages. The card has no annual fee and gives 3% cash back on USD purchases, enough to cover the 2.5% foreign transaction fee and add an extra 0.5% cash back on top. Those are some great features for a card with no annual fee, but keep in mind that the Rogers World Elite Mastercard does have a relatively high minimum annual income requirement of $80,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a household, which may exclude a number of potential applicants.

    Read our complete Rogers™ World Elite® Mastercard® review.

Best credit card for car rentals for lower income applicants

CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa

3% cash back on eligible gas, electric vehicle charging, and groceries.

2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining and recurring payments.

1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

90 days purchase security from damage and theft on eligible items purchased with your card.

1 year on top of the original manufacturer's warranty

$500,000 common carrier accident insurance

$65,000 MSRP for rental cars for up to 48 consecutive days

$99 Annual Fee First year annual fee rebate†

20.99% Purchase APR non-Quebec residents†

22.99% Cash Advance APR non-Quebec residents†

22.99% Balance Transfer Rate non-Quebec residents†

Very Good Recommended Credit Score

$15,000 Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000 Required Annual Household Income

Welcome Offer

Get a first-year annual fee rebate and earn 10% cash back welcome bonus of up to $200!†

Learn more
  • How you're covered with the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa

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    The CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa’s car rental insurance is competitive with other credit cards featured on this page, providing coverage on rental vehicles with an MSRP up to $65K for up to a 48-day rental period†. But what makes it stand out from other cards providing similar rental car insurance levels is its accessibility: It’s available to those with an annual income of $15,000 or more†, whereas most cards providing strong rental car insurance require a minimum annual income of $80K or so. Its annual fee is also on the comparatively low side, at $99 per year with a fee rebate for the first year†, and interest rates are: 20.99%† Purchase Annual Interest Rate, 22.99%† (for non-Quebec residents only) Cash Advance Annual Interest Rate, and 22.99%† (for non-Quebec residents only) Balance Transfer Annual Interest Rate. Just check your credit score before applying to make sure it’s in the good/excellent range, between around 740-850.

    Welcome Offer: Get a first-year annual fee rebate for you and up to three Authorized Users† and earn 10% cash back welcome bonus for the first 4 statements of up to $200!†

    Another thing that makes the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa stand out is that it’s a cash back card, whereas most credit cards that provide strong rental car insurance are oriented toward travel rewards. If you prefer the seamlessness of earning cash back, you might gravitate toward the CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa’s high 3% cash back earn rate on eligible gas, EV charging, and grocery purchases after the Welcome Offer ends†, 2% cash back on eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments†, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.†

    Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete CIBC Dividend Platinum® Visa review.

    This is a digital-exclusive offer.† To be eligible for this offer:

    1. this offer must have been directly communicated to you from CIBC or from a partner/affiliate; and

    2. you must apply for the eligible card through the link provided in the CIBC or partner/affiliate communication to you. †

    This offer is reserved for you. Please do not forward it to anyone else. If you have opened, transferred or cancelled another eligible card within the last 12 months, we may approve your application, but you may not receive this offer.†

    †Conditions apply

    Quebec Residents: Learn More about this CIBC product here

    Résidents du Québec : Pour en savoir plus sur ce produit CIBC, suivez ce lien

Best credit card to rent luxury vehicles

American Express The Platinum

2x Earn 2 points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible dining and food delivery in Canada

2x points for every $1 in Card purchases on eligible travel

1x point for every $1 in all other Card purchases

$799 Annual Fee Includes $200 annual travel credit and $200 annual dining credit

20.99% Purchase APR The Preferred rate of 20.99% applies to your Flexible Payment Option balance.

2.50% Foreign Transaction Fee

Excellent Recommended Credit Score

Welcome Offer

Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points1*

Learn more
  • How Amex's The Platinum credit card has you covered

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    A premium rewards card with a premium price tag of $799, The Platinum Card® comes with many benefits that cardholders enjoy when driving or parking. Its Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance can cover you for theft, loss, and damage of your rental car with an MSRP of up to $85,000 for rentals of 48 days or less when you fully charge your rental to The Platinum Card®. To take advantage of this protection, simply decline the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), or similar option offered by the car rental agency*. When driving into or parking at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, cardholders will appreciate complimentary valet service at Express and Daily Parking, plus a discount off there as well.

    Other exclusive benefits of The Platinum Card® are its $200 CAD annual travel credit, $200 annual dining credit, status at global hotel brands, unlimited and free access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide in the The American Express Global Lounge CollectionTM , and an extensive suite of travel insurance.

The best credit cards for rental car insurance: Summary

Credit cards that cover car rental insurance Rental car insurance coverage Apply
BMO Ascend World Elite Rental car coverage: Damage, theft, towing charges, lost or stolen personal effects, accidental death and dismemberment.
Amount: rental car up $65,000 for up to 48 consecutive days.
Apply now
Rogers World Elite Mastercard Rental car coverage: Loss or damage to the rental vehicle.
Amount: Rental car up to $65,000 for up to 31 consecutive days.
Apply now
CIBC Dividend Platinum cash back credit card Rental car coverage: Auto rental collision/loss damage (CDW/LDW), Common carrier accident insurance up to $500,000
Amount: Rental car up to $65,000 up to 48 days
Apply now
American Express The Platinum card Rental car coverage: Theft, loss and damage of your rental car.
Amount: Vehicles up to $85,000 MSRP for 48 days or less.
Apply now

About our author

Barry Choi
Barry Choi, Moneywise Contributor

Barry Choi is an award-winning personal finance and travel expert. He appears regularly on a variety of shows in Canada and the U.S., where he talks about all things money and travel. In addition to Money.ca, his work has appeared in major publications, including The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Financial Post, and MoneySense magazine. Barry is an expert in personal finance, but he's passionate about credit cards, budget travel, debt management, and loyalty programs. His personal website moneywehave.com is one of Canada's most trusted resources as he provides non-bias opinions on various financial products and services. When he's not writing or talking about financial literacy, you can find him travelling the world. Barry's favourite destinations are Japan, Jordan, and the Netherlands.

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