3 Tips for Primary Insurance Coverage With Car Rentals Over 31 Days

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Ana, commented:

What’s your recommendation for primary auto rental insurance if I pay using the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the rental period is longer than 31 days?

The Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards are great choices to pay for car rentals.  Because you get primary insurance coverage for collisions and damage.

But with these 2 cards, the coverage only applies to rentals of 31 consecutive days or less in the US and most foreign countries.

To get around the time limit, I’d recommend returning your car and renting another one.  This way, you’ll restart the clock for insurance coverage.

3 Tips For Primary Insurance Coverage With Car Rentals Over 31 Days

Having Primary Auto Rental Insurance With the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve Is a Great Perk.  But It Only Works on Rentals of 31 Days or Less

I’ll share tips for getting coverage on long car rentals!

Save Money Using Primary Rental Car Insurance With Certain Credit Cards

Link:   13 Credit Cards That Offer Primary Rental Car Insurance

Link:   What to Do When Renting a Car & You Don’t Have Personal Car Insurance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve come with primary rental insurance when you use one of the cards to pay for your rental and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver (often called CDW or LDW).

The primary rental insurance covers theft or damage to your vehicle.  But NOT damage to other vehicles, property, or injuries.

For liability coverage, you’ll have to rely on your own personal auto insurance or purchase a supplemental policy from the rental car company.

3 Tips For Primary Insurance Coverage With Car Rentals Over 31 Days

Primary Rental Insurance With the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve Covers Damage to Your Vehicle, but NOT Another Vehicle, Property, or Any Injuries

The rental car insurance with Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards applies to rentals of 31 consecutive days or less in the US and most foreign countries.

If you’re planning a longer car rental, here are 3 tips to make sure you have coverage.

1.   Book Multiple Rentals

For a trip longer than 31 days, the easiest way to keep your primary rental insurance is to book multiple rentals.

You can book one rental less than 31 days and return the car.  Then, pick up a new rental for the remainder of the trip.

This is an ideal strategy for folks who will be staying in the same area and can drop off the car where it was picked up.

3 Tips For Primary Insurance Coverage With Car Rentals Over 31 Days

Avoid Losing Primary Rental Insurance for Trips of 31 Days or More by Booking Multiple Rentals

On a one-way road trip, you can still book multiple rentals and swap cars along the way.  But one-way rentals are typically more expensive than booking a round-trip.

That said, I’d rather pay slightly more to book 2 separate one-way rentals to have primary rental coverage for the entire trip.

2.   Purchase Coverage With the Rental Car Company

You always have the option to purchase a loss or collision waiver from the rental car company.  But for a long car rental, this can be very expensive option.

For example, I searched a 42-day rental with Hertz.  And the loss damage waiver for this sample itinerary costs ~$1,344.

3 Tips For Primary Insurance Coverage With Car Rentals Over 31 Days

You Can Purchase a Damage Waiver From the Rental Car Company. But This Can Be a Significant Expense!

While purchasing a waiver is a significant expense, it can potentially save you money should you have an accident with your rental car.

3.   Check Your Personal Auto Coverage

Before purchasing a waiver from the rental car company, you should check what’s covered on your personal auto policy.

Because if you already have sufficient coverage, you can avoid extra expenses.

For example, if your rental car is damaged or stolen, your Comprehensive and Collision coverage on your everyday auto policy might cover this.

I’d recommend talking with your insurance agent or company to confirm the coverage you get when renting a car.

Bottom Line

The primary rental insurance you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve only applies to rentals of 31 consecutive days or less.

If you’ll need a car for longer, I recommend booking multiple car rentals.  You can book one rental less than 31 days and return the car.  Then, pick up a different car for the remainder of the trip.

You also have the option to purchase a loss or collision waiver from the rental company.  But this can be very expensive.  Or check your personal auto insurance policy to see if you can avoid purchasing supplemental coverage.

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3 responses to “3 Tips for Primary Insurance Coverage With Car Rentals Over 31 Days

  1. In some cases, you may do better with the Amex Premium car rental protection. It costs $20 or $25 per rental, but covers up to 42 days.

  2. Every insurance policy contains exclusions. From the Chase website on 3/13/2017, here is the list of exclusions from Chase Sapphire Preferred page (and always subject to change):
    What else is not covered?
    • Any obligation you assume under any other agreement
    • Any violation of the auto rental agreement
    • Confiscation by authorities
    • Cost of any insurance or collision damage offered or purchased through the auto rental company
    • Depreciation of the rental vehicle caused by loss or damage, which includes but is not limited to “diminished value” (“diminished value” is the monetary difference between a vehicle’s pre-accident retail book value and its retail book value after reasonable repairs are made as the result of an accident)
    • Expenses assumed, waived, or paid by the rental agency or its insurer
    • Expenses reimbursed under your personal auto insurance policy, your employer or your employer’s insurance
    • Injury of anyone or anything inside or outside of the vehicle
    • Items not installed by the original manufacturer Outside of the U.S., call collect at 1-804-673-1691 3
    • Leases and mini leases
    • Loss due to hostility of any kind (including but not limited to war, invasion, rebellion, or insurrection)
    • Loss due to intentional acts or due to the driver(s) being under the influence of alcohol, intoxicants, or drugs, or due to transportation of
    contraband or engagement in illegal activities
    • Loss due to off-road operation of the rental vehicle
    • Loss or damage as a result of the Cardholder’s lack of reasonable care in protecting the rental vehicle before or after damage occurs (for example, leaving the vehicle unattended and running)
    • Loss or theft of personal belongings
    • Losses for which a claim form has not been received within one hundred (100) days†from the date of the loss
    • Losses for which all required documentation has not been received within three hundred and sixty-five (365) days from the date of loss
    • Losses reported more than sixty (60) days† from the date of loss
    • Personal liability
    • Rental periods that exceed or are intended to exceed thirty-one (31) consecutive days within your country of residence or thirty-one (31) consecutive days outside your country of residence.
    • Vehicles that do not meet the definitions of covered vehicles
    • Wear and tear, gradual deterioration, or mechanical breakdown

    Personally, I use the American Express Premium Car Rental. https://feeservices.americanexpress.com/premium/images/SampleDescriptionofCoverage.pdf
    For $24.95 you can get continuous coverage for 42 days of $100,000 primary physical damage coverage. But, there are exclusions (as there are with every insurance policy). Note that depreciation and diminished value are excluded by both Chase and Amex. I haven’t found a way around this exclusion, other than to buy the very-expensive rental car coverage.

  3. Also, there are some travel insurance policies that offer included or ‘reasonable’ cost CDW coverage. It is still hard to recover depreciation and ‘loss of use’ charges. Something to think about when driving a rental car–an accident probably will cost you something.

    FWIW, whenever we leave the US, I get travel insurance to cover medical, evacuation and a few more things. These are inexpensive insurance policies (less that $200). A friend of mine was injured in a foreign car accident and faced $40,000+ in costs to get back to a hospital good enough to do the proper repair work. For a 31+ rental you can certainly get medical insurance plus CDW for less that the car rental agency charges, sometimes even less than AMEX.