Living or Working Overseas: Part 6 – Car Rental Insurance Reductions – For US and Non-US Licensed Drivers

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This series of posts is written by the Wandering US Expat, who’s lived in Australia and Panama.  And applied for cards from there!

Don’t let living abroad stop you from getting miles and points bonuses from credit cards!

It’s no secret that US banks lead the world in promotional point bonuses for new customers.  They give away lots of points to get a new customer in the hopes that you’ll remain, and spend, with them for years.  Lots of non-US folks wish they could get access to the same deals!

But many US citizens and ex-permanent residents, known as expats, often wonder whether they can still get credit cards if they leave or have already left the US.  Perhaps they’ve relocated for a job or have gone for an extended trip abroad.  Some expats have left permanently to start a new life.

Car Rental Insurance Reductions For US And Non US Licensed Drivers

While Living Abroad, You Have Options That Can Save You Money When Renting a Car

Are you or someone you know in this category?

Figures are hard to determine because the US does not track expats who are traveling or living abroad.  But a recent report estimated the number to be living overseas at about 2 to 7 million. There are millions more who leave, or “visit” outside the US for months at a time all year round.

This series will help folks living outside the US have Big Travel with Small Money!

“Living or Working Overseas” Series Index

Which Rental Car Insurance Should You Use?

While living overseas you may want to rent a car.  And there are ways to save money on the insurance!

You can read my post about car rental insurance but here I’ll discuss ways to reduce your rental insurance while abroad, whether you have a US driver’s license or 1 from another country.

Car rental insurance costs a lot more in the US and Canada compared to many places in the rest of the world.

While many US credit cards come with car insurance included, they may NOT always fully cover you in an accident.  And none that I’ve seen cover you for 3rd party liability.  So if you injure someone or damage property or another car, your credit card will NOT protect you from potentially huge financial claims.

Car Rental Insurance Reductions For US And Non US Licensed Drivers

Rental Car Coverage Provided by Your Credit Card Will NOT Protect You If You Damage Property or Hurt Someone

Rental car companies operate on a very small margin and they try to increase their profits by selling you insurance.

Car Rental Insurance Reductions For US And Non US Licensed Drivers

Many Rental Car Companies Make Most of Their Profit From Insurance. You Can Choose Coverage Through the Rental Car Company, Your Credit Card, or Another Company.

For simplicity, you may choose to purchase the insurance offered at the counter.  Because some folks would rather not deal with the hassles of “jumping through extra hoops” to save a few bucks.  But there are more affordable options.  Just be sure you understand the risks!

The Scary High Deductible

If you’re willing to consider a few extra steps, you may be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars on car rental insurance overseas.

Say you’re going to Australia and want to find the best way to save money on your car rental.  You find a car for 4 days at $126.  You consider whether to use your credit card insurance or the rental car insurance.  But the rental car insurance costs anywhere from $112 to $160!

However, paying this large amount lowers your deductible in an accident from $3,360 to ~$300.  Most folks are scared to death of a $3,360 deductible!  So people often pay the extra fee for insurance.

But there are other options besides buying insurance at the counter or using your credit card’s insurance.

Companies That Specialize in Car Rental Insurance Deduction

Link:   us.protectyourbubble.com

Link:   uk.protectyourbubble.com

Link:   worldwideinsure.com

There are several companies competing for your insurance dollars.  We’ll cover a few here.

1.   us.protectyourbubble.com

 

For folks who still have a US driver’s license and residency or citizenship status, you can buy car rental insurance from us.protectyourbubble.com

I have NOT used this company but they offer car rental car insurance for ~$8 per day, which is significantly cheaper than what you’ll pay from the rental car agency.  The service says you are covered for up to $35,000 in physical damages and theft with no deductible.

The plan does not cover personal accident insurance.  Many rental car agencies don’t cover this either unless you pay extra.

You can use the coverage worldwide as long as your destination is at least 100 miles from your home address.

Inexpensive insurance of any kind is always great when you avoid making a claim.  But if you’re in an accident, that’s when you find out what your insurance is really worth!  So do what’s comfortable for you.

Car Rental Insurance Reductions For US And Non US Licensed Drivers

UK Residents Can Get Cheap Rental Car Insurance From uk.protectmybubble.com and US Residents Can Insure Themselves for Less at us.protectmybubble.com

2.   uk.protectyourbubble.com

 

ProtectYourBubble has a UK version for those with UK citizenship or residency.

This company specializes in reducing your deductible to very low or zero.

Outside of the US, the most basic insurance included in your rental car agreement has 3rd party liability (such as injuries to other people).  It’s mandatory.  But check with the rental agency or country you’ll be visiting.  So if you have a car accident and hurt someone while overseas, the injured person can get medical care paid for as part of the insurance.

But outside the US there’s a HUGE deductible.  It can be ~$2,000 to ~$3,000!

Protectyourbubble offers policies which cover you for the 1st $3,500 of the rental deductible.  Generally this is the amount in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere, that would you be liable for in an accident.  Even if you bumped a tree, the damages could reach over $3,500.

The insurance companies will try to get you to reduce your deductible down to $300 or lower by purchasing their optional additional insurance which can be $25 to $40 day or more.

Car Rental Insurance Reductions For US And Non US Licensed Drivers

You Can Save Lots of Money Buying Insurance From Companies Such as Protect Your Bubble That Will Lower Your Deductible

Prices are very reasonable and could save you a lot instead of buying directly at the rental car agency itself.

But I’ve read some negative feedback in forums about Protectyourbubble.  You never know what your insurance is worth until you have to make a claim!  So know the risks and do what’s comfortable for you.

3.   Worldwideinsure.com

 

Worldwideinsure.com is similar to protectyourbubble, except the feedback I’ve read about them isn’t as negative.  Their rates are sometimes lower than protectyourbubble.

When visiting the US and renting a car, you can use worldwideinsure.com because you can show you’re not a US resident.  Here are the current rates.

When renting a car in Europe or anywhere else in the world, you can see the current rates here.

These companies can save you lots of money on car insurance when covering yourself for emergencies.  But I haven’t had to file a claim, so please consider that part of the process if you were to have an accident.

Other Points to Consider

When you pick up your rental car they may or may not decide to charge your credit card an amount as a pre-authorization.  This could be thousands of dollars, depending on where you are and the rental car agency.  This is so they are covered should you have an accident, because you’re not using their insurance.

But what happens if you have an accident?  The rental car company MAY go ahead and charge your credit card!

Car Rental Insurance Reductions For US And Non US Licensed Drivers

If You Turn Down the Rental Car Company’s Insurance and Get Into an Accident, They May Charge Your Credit Card

This shouldn’t be a surprise, because you declined their insurance.  But if you have all the necessary paperwork (make sure you have it all!) and send it immediately to the insurer, these companies pledge to handle claims promptly.

But you could still be out thousands of dollars while you wait for a resolution between your insurance provider and the rental car agency.  It’s a risk, but it may be worth it to you for the big savings.

Bottom Line

Using an alternate insurer instead of the 1 provided by the rental car company could save you hundreds of dollars per rental.  But in the unlikely event of an accident, it could cost you more time and headaches.  There are definite savings if the risk is worth it for you.  But as always, do what’s comfortable for you.

In the next post of this series, I’ll explain how to get extra miles & points if you have more than 1 citizenship or residency.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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4 responses to “Living or Working Overseas: Part 6 – Car Rental Insurance Reductions – For US and Non-US Licensed Drivers

  1. Thanks, but the biggest question wasn’t even covered. What do we do about liability insurance abroad? My Ink cards provided good coverage for damages to my rental car, but if they don’t cover damages to other cars and neither does rental agency insurance, who does?

  2. Pingback: Expat Us Credit Card | Million Mile Secrets

  3. I agree with Rick B, the biggest question how to get third-party liability insurance is not answered. I work overseas and come home twice a year for 2 weeks each time. I have searched everywhere for a low-cost solution to this problem and was hoping that I would find it here.
    You also did not mention Primary Rental Coverage for a flat fee if one has the Amex Gold Rewards and higher card to get Premier Insurance ($17.99 in California) for the period of the rental up to 30 days, if I recall correctly. I use this now, but it still does not have third-party liability insurance.

  4. Only the very basic “run of the mill” cars are covered by your CC insurance. Not even a SUV will be covered, as I found out after renting one in Switzerland during the winter period.
    The additional Amex Primary Rental Coverage has the same limitations and will not cover outside the basic cars and excludes the small camper vans that I love to rent in Oz or New Zealand, where your CC insurance is also excluded and extra insurance rates are astronomical.

    Daraius, could you please address these issues ?
    It would perfect your coverage of this chapter in your “expat” series !