Credit cards with complimentary car rental excess insurance
Compare credit cards that offer car rental excess insurance when you’re travelling in Australia or overseas.
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If you're planning a road trip or looking at rental cars for work, insurance is an important part of the package. While car hire companies have their own insurance to cover accidents or other issues, almost all of them charge an excess if you need to make a claim.
You may have the option of lowering the excess cost by paying the car rental company an extra fee. You can also pay an insurance company for car rental excess cover. But there are also some credit cards that offer complimentary insurance to help you cover the excess cost. So, let's take a closer look at how this card perk works.
0% p.a. for 36 months on balance transfers
Discounted $29 first-year annual fee
Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply
HSBC Credit Card Offer
Enjoy a 0% introductory balance transfer rate for 36 months, with no balance transfer fee.
- $29 first-year annual fee (reverts to $129 thereafter)
- Complimentary travel insurance and 2 lounge passes per year
- Earn 1 HSBC Rewards Point per $1 spent in Australia and 2 overseas
- Purchase rate: 19.99% p.a. | Cash advance rate: 21.99% p.a.
Comparison of credit cards with complimentary car rental excess insurance
What is car rental excess insurance?
Car rental insurance is designed to reduce your excess if you have an accident in a hired or rental car. If you choose not to take up this cover, the excess you have to pay if something happens could be around $3,000 to $5,000.
As a rough guide to costs, car rental companies typically offer excess insurance (or excess reductions) for about $20 to $30 per day, per car. In comparison, insurance companies offer it for between $6 and $10 per day. However, it can vary based on factors including the company, the type of car or even where you're going.
How does credit card car rental insurance work?
Credit card car rental insurance is designed to protect you against high car rental excess costs. While you may still need to pay an excess to claim this insurance, it's typically much lower than the excess you'd pay the car hire company. For example, you might have to pay an excess of $200 for the insurance offered through your credit card, compared to $3,000 with a car rental company.
In most cases, you will need to activate the cover by using your eligible credit card to pay for the booking. For the cover to be valid, the person doing the claim needs to provide the formal rental agreement and comply with the policy's terms and conditions.
What credit cards offer car rental excess insurance?
|Credit card provider||Credit cards||Insurance details|
|American Express||Cover for loss or damage to rental vehicles for hire periods of up to 31 days|
|ANZ||Applies for car rentals in Australia. There is a $0 excess for most claims. For claims relating to rental vehicle collisions, there is an excess of $350.|
|BankSA||Rental vehicle excess insurance only available in Australia. You must pay the first $250 of each claim.|
|Bank of Melbourne||Rental vehicle excess insurance only available in Australia. You must pay the first $250 of each claim.|
|Bendigo Bank||Offers global cover up to a maximum of $5,000. A $250 excess applies for each claim.|
|Citi||All of these cards offer rental vehicle excess cover for international trips as part of the complimentary international travel insurance policy.|
The Citi Prestige, Citi Premier and Emirates Citi World Mastercard also offer rental vehicle excess cover for trips in Australia.
|CommBank||Offers overseas rental vehicle excess insurance of up to $2,250. You may also be given the option of increasing the value of this cover for specific trips.|
|HSBC||For international trips, you get cover of up to $3,000. For domestic trips, you get cover up to $6,000. An excess of $200 applies for each claim.|
|IMB||Offers up to a maximum of $2,750 for domestic car rental as part of the interstate flight inconvenience insurance.|
This means you are only eligible for cover when you have used the card to pay for the entire cost of a return, interstate flight and also hired a car during the trip.
|Jetstar||Offers global hire car excess waiver cover of up to $5,000, with an excess of $250 per claim, when you use the card to pay for the entire cost of the rental car.|
|Macquarie Bank||Offer global hire car excess waiver cover of up to $5,000, with an excess of $250 per claim, when you use the card to pay for the entire cost of the rental car.|
|Qantas Money||The Premier Platinum offers global hire care excess waiver cover of up to $3,000 when you pay for the rental car with your card. An excess of $500 applies for each claim.|
The Premier Titanium offers global hire car excess waiver cover of up to $5,000 with a $250 excess. Cover is activated you pay for the rental car with your card.
|RACQ||Offers up to a maximum of $2,750 for domestic car rental as part of the interstate flight inconvenience insurance. This means you are only eligible for cover when you have used the card to pay for the entire cost of a return, interstate flight and also hired a car during the trip.|
|St.George||Amplify Signature and Vertigo Platinum cards offer domestic rental vehicle excess insurance of up to $5,500. A $250 excess applies per claim.|
|Westpac||Rental vehicle excess insurance only available in Australia. You must pay the first $250 of each claim.|
Cover also applies to American Express Westpac Altitude Platinum and Black cards.
Pros and cons of credit card car rental excess insurance
- Peace of mind. Car rental insurance helps make hiring a car more affordable by reducing your excess you must pay if you have a covered accident.
- Potential rental savings. While rental companies and insurance companies allow you to pay for car rental excess insurance, getting it through your credit card can reduce the daily cost of the car hire.
- Lots of terms and conditions. Each policy has different requirements to activate the cover, as well as details of what accident will be covered.
- You may still pay an excess. Many of the complimentary car rental excess policies charge an excess of between $200 and $500 per claim. While that's better than the thousands of dollars you could potentially pay without excess insurance, it's still a cost you need to consider.
What to watch out for
If you're thinking of getting a credit card that offers complimentary car rental excess cover – or if your existing card offers this cover – make sure you keep the following details in mind before hiring a rental vehicle.
- Eligibility. Most credit cards only provide this cover if you have used the card to pay for the rental vehicle or for the entire trip. Make sure you check these details in the insurance policy booklet before assuming you're covered.
- Coverage limitations. While complimentary car rental excess cover typically applies for vehicle damage or theft, exclusions could apply for damage to the tyres, windscreen or under body of the car. Most policies also exclude claims that relate to off-road driving.
- Location requirements. Credit card car rental insurance could cover you for domestic trips, overseas trips or both, but it does vary a lot based on the card.
- Other card costs. If you're looking for a new credit card that offers car rental excess insurance, make sure you also consider the card's other costs, including the annual fee, interest rates and any overseas transaction fees that may apply. Remember, you can always pay for car rental excess insurance, so the priority should be finding a card that's affordable for you – regardless of whether or not it includes insurance.
How do I make a claim?
Any claims you need to make will go through the insurance provider, rather than your bank. You can find these details in your credit card's insurance booklet, or by contacting your provider. You will also need to provide a range of documents to support your claim. This usually includes the following:
- Proof of your eligibility, such as a credit card transaction statement showing you paid for the rental vehicle.
- A copy of your car hire agreement.
- A copy of the incident report (which you would have to fill out after an accident or theft).
- Details of the damage and repair costs.
- Written notice from the rental company that outlines the amount you are required to pay.
Keep in mind that these requirements mean you'll usually have to cover the cost of the original car hire excess, then wait for your claim to be assessed before you're reimbursed.
Do I really need car rental excess insurance?
This type of insurance is optional, meaning you technically don't need it to hire a car. But if the rental company has a high standard excess, this cover could help you avoid paying thousands of dollars after an accident. While that doesn't mean you have to get cover, it is worth considering before you pay for a rental car.
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