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USAA car rental insurance: How does it work?

You'll find coverage on all of these military-affiliated cards.

Updated

Fact checked

If you’re affiliated with the military and looking for car rental coverage with your credit card, USAA is a strong choice. All of its products offer this benefit.

Does USAA have car rental insurance?

USAA offers car rental coverage with all of its credit cards in the form of collision damage waivers. You’re covered for 31 days from the start of your rental period, up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.

Where is USAA car rental insurance available?

You’re covered by USAA car rental insurance in the US and most foreign countries. Coverage doesn’t apply where it’s banned by law, when it conflicts with your rental agreement or when certain merchants don’t allow it.

USAA car rental insurance: What it covers

Your USAA collision damage waiver covers you for:

  • Physical damage to your rental vehicle
  • Theft of your rental vehicle
  • Eligible towing charges
  • Eligible loss-of-use charges
  • Administrative fees

A rental car company may charge for loss of use, which is the amount the company forfeits for having the car in the shop instead of renting it out. Some card providers don’t cover loss-of-use charges, so this feature is a nice touch with USAA cards.

What does USAA car rental insurance not cover?

Certain vehicles aren’t covered, such as high-value vehicles, cargo vans, motorcycles and limousines.

The “high-value vehicles” exclusion list includes Tesla, Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though certain models are exempt.

Your collision damage waiver also doesn’t apply in circumstances like violations of the rental agreement, theft of your personal items, leases and more.

Is USAA car rental insurance primary or secondary?

Within the country you live, USAA car rental coverage is secondary. This means you must make a claim through your insurance company before claiming through your USAA policy.

In all other countries, USAA car rental coverage is primary. This means you claim directly with the USAA benefit administrator for a covered incident.

How does your insurance coverage affect your USAA coverage?

The scope of USAA coverage changes depending on whether you have personal auto insurance.

  • If you have personal insurance: Your USAA collision damage waiver covers your deductible. It also covers unreimbursed charges for administrative, loss-of-use and reasonable towing costs.
  • If you don’t have personal insurance: Your USAA collision damage waiver covers you for theft or damage to your rental vehicle, as well as administrative, loss-of-use and reasonable towing costs.

How to use USAA car rental insurance

Here’s how to activate your USAA car rental coverage:

  1. Before reserving a rental vehicle, read your credit card’s guide to benefits for your collision damage waiver policy.
  2. Pay for your entire rental with your USAA credit card or rewards. Decline the rental car company’s coverage.
  3. Before singing your rental agreement, check it for existing damage.

If the representative at the counter says you must purchase the rental company’s coverage, call your USAA benefit administrator at 844-288-2141. If you’re outside the US, call collect at 804-673-1164.

How to make a claim for USAA car rental insurance

  1. Immediately after you learn of theft or damage to your rental vehicle, call your USAA benefit administrator at 844-288-2141. If you’re outside the US, call collect at 804-673-1164. You must call within 45 days of the incident.
  2. Request required information from the rental company.
  3. Submit required documents to the USAA benefit administrator.

Required information for your USAA collision damage waiver claim

In the event of a theft or accident, request the following from the rental car company:

  • A copy of the accident report form
  • A copy of the rental agreements — initial and final
  • A copy of the repair estimate and itemized repair bill
  • If possible, two photos of the damaged vehicle
  • If police were involved, a police report
  • A copy of the demand letter, which should include the costs you’re liable for and what you’ve paid toward the claim

Documents to submit to your USAA benefit administrator

  • A collision damage waiver claim form, completed and signed. This must be postmarked within 90 days of the covered incident.
  • A credit card statement showing you charged the rental to your credit card.
  • A statement from your insurance provider with the amount you’re liable for and how much you’ve paid. If you don’t have insurance, include a statement saying so.
  • A copy of the declarations page of your insurance policy that lists your deductible.
  • Other information requested by your benefit administrator.

Compare USAA credit cards with car rental insurance

USAA offers car rental insurance as a standard benefit, but your specific benefit may vary based on your card. Check your guide to benefits to make sure.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card
N/A
N/A
$0
Enjoy USAA's lowest rate card. Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fee.
USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
2,500 points with your first purchase
2x points on gas and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$0
Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase. Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fee.
USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
N/A
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$0
Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limits or category restrictions. Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fees.
USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card
2,500 points with your first purchase
3x points on dining, 2x points on gas and groceries and 1x points for all other purchases
$0
Earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on gas and groceries and 1x points for all other purchases.
USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
N/A
5% cash back on up to $3,000 in combined annual gas and military base purchases, 2% on up to $3,000 at supermarkets annually and 1% on all other purchases
$0
Earn 5% cash back on the first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on the first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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Who gets to use USAA car rental insurance?

You’re eligible for USAA car rental coverage if:

  • You have a US-issued USAA credit card with your name on it.
  • You pay for your entire rental with your USAA credit card or rewards.
  • You’re the primary renter of the vehicle, or you’re a driver who’s been added to the rental agreement.

Bottom line

According to the provider, all USAA credit cards offer car rental coverage. Check the guide to benefits that comes with your card to confirm your account has the feature.

If you can’t find a USAA card that meets your needs, compare other cards with car rental insurance.

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