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Visa car rental insurance: How does it work?

Visa has coverage depending on the provider.

Visa lists rental car insurance — more specifically, auto rental collision damage waivers — as a standard benefit. However, whether your Visa credit card has the benefit ultimately comes down to your provider.

Does Visa have car rental insurance?

Visa offers car rental insurance, but policies vary based on the provider. Furthermore, a provider may offer coverage with only some or none of its Visa cards.

Where is Visa car rental insurance available?

Visa car rental insurance is valid in the United States and most foreign countries. It doesn’t apply in Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.

It also doesn’t apply where it conflicts with a country’s laws, when it violates an auto rental agreement or when it’s disallowed by individual merchants.

Visa car rental insurance: What it covers

With a valid Visa credit card, you’re covered for:

  • Theft of your rental vehicle.
  • Damage to your rental vehicle.
  • Valid loss-of-use charges from the rental company.
  • Administrative costs and reasonable towing charges.

How much am I covered for?

You’re covered up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles. Actual cash value means the replacement cost of a damaged or stolen vehicle, not including depreciation.

What does Visa car rental insurance not cover?

Your Visa policy doesn’t cover you for:

  • Expensive or exotic vehicles such as Ferrari, Porsche or Tesla. However, your policy may cover certain models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln and Range Rover.
  • Antique cars.
  • Cargo vans and other types of vans.
  • Vehicles with open cargo beds.
  • Trucks.
  • Motorcycles, mopeds and motorbikes.
  • Limousines.
  • Recreational vehicles.

Your coverage is also invalid in certain instances — for example, for violations of the rental agreement, if your personal belongings are stolen, etc.

Is Visa car rental insurance primary or secondary?

When you’re renting a vehicle inside your country of residence, Visa coverage is secondary. You must claim with your personal insurer or through other forms of coverage before claiming with your Visa benefit administrator.

When you’re renting a vehicle outside your country of residence, Visa coverage is primary. After an incident, you can claim with your Visa benefit administrator first.

Your Visa policy is affected by whether you have personal auto insurance:

  • If you have personal auto insurance, your Visa policy will reimburse you for your deductible. It’ll also reimburse you for administrative fees and reasonable towing charges.
  • If you don’t have personal auto insurance, your Visa policy will reimburse you for theft or damage to your rental vehicle. It’ll also reimburse for loss-of-use, administrative and reasonable towing charges.

How to use Visa car rental insurance

Activate your Visa coverage by initiating and completing your entire rental with your Visa card. Then, decline the rental company’s coverage.

If the representative at the counter says you must buy coverage, call the Visa benefit administrator at 800-348-8472. If you’re outside the United States, call collect at 804-673-1164.

Before driving the car off the lot, check the vehicle for existing damage.

How to make a claim for Visa car rental insurance

After you learn of damage or theft to your vehicle, call the Visa benefit administrator within 45 days. A representative will tell you what to do next, and what information you’ll need for your claim.

What to submit with your claim

After the incident, acquire the following information:

  • A police report, if possible.
  • If possible, two photos of the damaged vehicle.
  • A copy of the rental company’s accident report form.
  • A copy of the initial and final rental agreements, front and back.
  • An itemized repair bill and a copy of the repair estimate.
  • A copy of the demand letter, which shows what you must pay and what you’ve paid toward the claim.

When submitting your claim, include the information above as well as the following:

  • Your completed and signed auto rental collision damage waiver claim form.
  • Proof that you paid for your rental with your Visa, via a copy of your receipt or monthly billing statement.
  • A statement from your insurance provider listing the costs you’re liable for and what you’ve already paid.
  • A copy of your primary insurance policy’s declarations page.
  • Other information required by your benefit administrator.

To submit a valid claim, forward all of the information above within 365 days of the incident.

Compare Visa credit cards with car rental insurance

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
United℠ Explorer Card
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
16.49% to 23.49% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
British Airways Visa Signature® Card
5x Avios on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL in the first 12 months (then 3x), 3x Avios on directly purchased hotels in the same timeframe (then 2x) and 1x Avios on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
Earn 100,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
United Club℠ Infinite Card
4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases
16.49% to 23.49% variable
Get United Club membership with access for you and two guests at any United Club or Star Alliance lounge -- a value of up to $650 annually.

Compare up to 4 providers

Who gets to use Visa car rental insurance?

You and eligible drivers on the rental agreement qualify for Visa car rental insurance.

Bottom line

Many Visa credit cards from various providers offer car rental insurance, but whether your card offers the benefit ultimately depends on your provider. If you’re unsure, check your card’s guide to benefits or contact your issuer.

If a Visa card is not right for you, compare other cards with car rental insurance.

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