What is credit card car rental excess insurance?
Complimentary credit card car rental excess insurance can help cover costs if a rental vehicle is damaged or stolen and you need to pay an excess amount to the car hire company.
Depending on the credit card and policy, you could get cover when you rent a car overseas, in Australia or both.
What credit cards offer car rental insurance?
Credit cards with complimentary insurance may include some form of car rental insurance. There are 2 main options:
- Car rental excess insurance in Australia
- A car rental excess benefit as part of an international travel insurance policy
As with any type of insurance, the cover and details vary. So it's important to check the insurance policy document for any card (or cards) you're looking at. To give you an idea, here is a table with some examples of credit cards and car rental insurance options for trips in Australia and overseas.
|Credit card provider||Credit cards||Insurance details|
|Bank of Melbourne|
|Citi||Level 1 cards:|
Level 2 cards:
|NAB||Level 1 cards:|
Level 2 cards:
Pros and cons of credit card car rental excess insurance
- Peace of mind. Car rental excess insurance means you're not on the hook for potentially thousands of dollars as it reduces the excess payable if you have a covered accident.
- Saving money. Instead of paying the rental company for additional car rental excess insurance, get it through your credit card, which saves you the cost of that extra premium.
- Lots of terms and conditions. Each policy has different requirements to activate the cover as well as what type of accident will be covered.
- You may still pay an excess. Many 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.
How do I use my credit card's car rental excess insurance?
To activate your rental car insurance cover, you usually need to do the following:
- Use your eligible credit card to pay for the rental car or other travel spending.
- Follow the policy's terms and conditions, such as not driving while under the influence of alcohol.
How to make a claim
The process can be slightly different depending on the insurance provider, so it's important to check the insurance policy document for full details. But as a general guide, you'll need to take the following steps:
- Contact the insurance provider
As soon as you think you'll need to make a claim, let the insurance provider know. The contact details will be in your credit card complimentary insurance policy booklet.
- Fill in a claim form
Depending on the insurer, you may be able to submit a claim online, over the phone or through a printed form.
- Include supporting documents and submit your application
This could include the rental vehicle hire agreement, any relevant police reports, photo evidence or receipts that relate to your claim. In general, the more details you can include, the better.
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 underbody 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 there may be restrictions related to location or distance travelled.
- 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.
Do I need car rental excess insurance?
This type of cover is usually optional. But excess payments to a car rental company can be as much as $8,000 without this cover, compared to around $0 to $400 with cover.
How much does car rental excess insurance cost to buy?
Car rental companies typically offer excess insurance (or excess reductions) for about $20 to $30 per day, per car. It can go above $50 per day if you want a $0 excess.
There are also separate car rental excess insurance policies you can buy from as little as $2.83 per day. The cost depends on factors including the insurance provider, type of car and payable excess.
Based on these details, if you got complimentary car rental excess insurance through a credit card and hired a car for 7 days, you could save between $19.81 and $350 compared to paying for a car rental excess insurance policy.
But keep in mind that credit cards may have annual fees and other potential costs that you may want to factor in when you're considering different options. It's also a good idea to check the different policies so you know what's covered, what the limits are and how much you could be out-of-pocket.
- American Express Credit Card Insurance Terms and Conditions effective 15 March 2022
- ANZ Platinum and Black Credit Cards Complimentary Insurance Policy Information Booklet effective 27 April 2022
- BankSA Credit Cards Complimentary Insurance Policy information booklet effective 27 October 2021 with amendments effective 30 June 2022
- Bank of Melbourne Credit Cards Complimentary Insurance Policy information booklet effective 27 October 2021 with amendments effective 30 June 2022
- Citibank Insurance Cover effective 1 June 2022
- CommBank Credit Card Insurances Product Disclosure Statement and Information Booklet effective 10 August 2022
- HSBC Complimentary Insurance Policy Information Booklet effective 14 October 2022
- HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card Complimentary Insurance Policy Information Booklet effective 30 September 2022
- NAB Card Insurance Policy Information Booklet effective 31 March 2021 with amendments effective 30 June 2022
- Qantas Premier Credit Card Complimentary Travel Insurance Terms and Conditions applicable 1 June 2022
- St. George Credit Cards Complimentary Insurance Policy information booklet effective 27 October 2021 with amendments effective 30 June 2022
- Westpac Credit Cards Complimentary Insurance Policy information booklet effective 27 October 2021 with amendments effective 30 June 2022
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