If you've ever rented a car - here or overseas - you know it's always one of those confusing decisions: Should you get the extra - and often pricey - rental car insurance?
If you're a credit card user, buying that extra insurance may be unnecessary, because the major cards - American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa - all offer car rental insurance as a standard perk.
That's the message from a new study by CardHub.com, which recently compared car rental coverages of all four major credit cards. Overall, it ranked Visa highest for the most comprehensive coverage.
To be eligible for your credit card's coverage, the full vehicle rental must be charged on your credit card and you must decline the supplemental insurance offered by the rental company.
But there are some quirks and odd little twists:
- American Express doesn't cover SUVs, including popular models like the Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, Toyota Land Cruiser, Range Rover.
- Some countries are excluded - Israel, Ireland and Jamaica, for instance - by American Express, Visa and MasterCard. Discover is the only card that covers all countries where its card is used.
- MasterCard does not cover accidents on dirt or gravel roads.
- None of the credit card companies covers trucks, certain vans and antique, expensive or exotic automobiles. (If you're renting a Lamborghini, you won't be covered.)
And as CardHub.com noted, the "fine print" and various caveats to each company's coverage can be difficult to understand. But the study is a good starting point on what your card covers.