Credit Cards with Primary Car Rental Insurance
When choosing a credit card, one consideration is the car rental insurance coverage provided. Using a credit card with Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance included means you can decline that (often very expensive!) coverage at the car rental counter.
Credit Cards with Included Primary CDW Insurance
In all cases, you’ll want to make sure that you reserve and pay for the car rental with your credit card with the coverage, decline the rental company’s CDW (but do take the liability coverage if you don’t have personal insurance – that’s important!) and you make sure that your rental meets all applicable terms of the provided insurance. For example, many credit card CDW coverages exclude cars over a certain value (or car types) and exclude various countries, such as Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Australia, and Israel.
While a great many credit cards offer “secondary” insurance, which means they will cover the excess after you file a costly claim with your own car insurance provider, a handful of cards offer primary coverage. Primary car rental CDW insurance means that even if your rental car is damaged, the credit card will handle all covered costs (again, subject to their fine print!) without you having to involve your own insurance.
Also keep in mind that these will not cover extended rentals, generally over 28-30 days. They also do not cover non-passenger car vehicles (that means no pickup trucks or vans!).
Here are our top picks for credit cards with included and primary CDW car rental insurance coverage:
Personal Credit Cards Cards with Primary Car Rental CDW Coverage
Both of the premium Chase Sapphire cards include primary CDW. The main difference is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve covers a higher limit on the car value ($75,000 as of time of writing – confirm when applying). However, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a much lower annual fee.
Note that if you don’t qualify for Chase cards, most American Express credit cards provide secondary rental coverage.
Business Credit Cards Cards with Primary Car Rental CDW Coverage
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Chase Ink Business Cash (no annual fee)
- Chase Ink Unlimited Business Credit Card (no annual fee)
- United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
- CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard
When using a Business credit card domestically for a car rental, please keep in mind the coverage is only primary if the car rental is for legitimate business purposes. Our top choices for this benefit alone are the Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited Business Credit Card because they don’t carry annual fees.
In all cases, the precise benefits for credit card provided CDW insurance varies from card to card. Always confirm before renting that the card’s provided benefits meet your needs.
The Bonus amounts listed below refer to the value of the bonus you can get for opening a new card and meeting the required minimum spend.
|1. Chase Ink Business Preferred||$1,440|
|2. United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card||$1,300|
|3. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||$1,080|
|4. CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard||$1,050|
|5. Chase Ink Unlimited Business Credit Card||$900|
|6. Chase Sapphire Reserve||$900|
|7. Chase Ink Business Cash||$900|
|8. United Explorer Card||$520|