Do Visa Signature Cards Cover Car Rental Insurance Abroad?
I’ve been in Europe for about two weeks, & have already rented a car twice: first, in France’s Loire Valley, & now, in the Italian Alps. While at the rental car counter in France, I realized that I had THREE auto coverages: my policy at home, a rather useless Allianz coverage that was “added on,” & finally, the car rental company’s coverage (which I was convinced to purchase)! But the truth was: I also had a FOURTH coverage, via my Capital One Venture card benefits. Realizing how ridiculous this excess of coverage was, I set out to answer the question: do Visa Signature cards cover car rental insurance abroad?
This post could potentially save you hundreds of dollars while traveling internationally ~ & more importantly, give you the peace of mind to know confidently whether you should accept or decline car insurance coverage, when you’re super tired & jet-lagged at the rental counter. No more confusion, & no more guessing!!
What are Visa Signature Cards?
- What are Visa Signature cards, first of all? Let’s make that clear right up front. The three main Visa Signature cards are: 1) Chase Sapphire & Chase Sapphire Reserve, 2) Capital One Venture, & 3) Hyatt Credit Card. But if your credit card is a card with “travel perks,” then chances are, it’s a Visa Signature card. Check with your credit card provider to be sure.
What Does Visa Signature Cover?
- What does Visa Signature cover, with regard to car rental insurance? When you use your Visa Signature card to purchase the car rental, you’ll automatically receive their built-in Auto Rental Coverage. This covers: 1) Physical damage to the vehicle, up to the actual cash value of the car (motorcycles, mopeds, open-bed trucks, most vans, & exotic vehicles are excluded from this, i.e. Aston Martin, Porsche, etc.); 2) Theft (but not theft of personal belongings); 3) Reasonable & customary towing; & 4) Loss of use charges (for the rental car company).
- To receive coverage, you must: 1) DECLINE the rental car company’s insurance, & 2) Be the primary renter on the auto rental contract.
- Visa Signature cards cover trips of fifteen (15) consecutive days in your home country, or thirty-one (31) days outside your home country.
- Is Visa Signature considered primary or secondary insurance? Typically, secondary. This means that, if you have car insurance at home, they’ll typically require that you go through your primary coverage first. And then, if not everything is covered, your secondary coverage will kick in. If you DON’T have car insurance though, the good news is: your Visa Signature card will become your primary coverage, & will assume all responsibility for the benefits they cover.
- Though Visa Signature does NOT cover exotic, luxury vehicles such as Aston Martins & Porsche’s, it likely WILL cover most models of Mercedes & BMW (which are much more common rentals in Europe than in the States). Check with Visa to be sure, for your specific model.
What Does Visa Signature NOT Cover?
- Countries Excluded from Visa Signature car rental coverage: Visa Signature cards DO NOT cover you when traveling in Israel, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and/or Jamaica.
- Visa Signature Cards DO NOT cover: 1) Injury to anyone or anything outside the vehicle; 2) Personal liability; 3) Loss or theft of personal belongings within the vehicle.
- What if an Accident Does Happen? You must file a claim within 45 days of the date of the incident. Call 1-800-348-8472 to report the claim.
For a detailed explanation of Visa Signature card car rental benefits, click here.
Other Visa Signature Travel Benefits
- What are other benefits of Visa Signature cards? Visa Signature cards are meant for travelers ~ so you’re right to assume there are other benefits for cardholders. These include: 1) 24/7 Roadside Assistance, simply call 1-800-847-2869 wherever you are, & they’ll arrange assistance or towing; 2) Lost Luggage Reimbursement (if you used your Visa Signature card to purchase the airline ticket); 3) Travel Accident Insurance; & 4) Travel & Emergency Assistance Services, such as assistance with medical referral, emergency transportation, legal referral, emergency ticket replacement, lost luggage locator, & even emergency translation service ~ in case you really get in a jam!
Call 1-800-992-6029 to access these services, if you’re a Visa Signature cardholder.
Do Visa Signature Cards Cover Car Rental Insurance Abroad?
Here’s the BOTTOM LINE: when you use your Visa Signature card to purchase the car rental, essentially everything having to do with that rental car WILL be covered, up to the value of the car (excluding luxury vehicles). But, NOTHING to do with personal injury or injury to other parties/cars is covered. That’s where your regular car insurance and/or medical or travel insurance would kick in.
I hope this has thoroughly answered your question, “Do Visa Signature Cards Cover Car Rental Insurance Abroad.” Knowing that I already had car insurance in the U.S., plus the confidence of my Visa Signature for any damage related to the car itself ~ I confidently DECLINED the rental car company’s insurance in Italy, as well as the crappy Allianz policy they always try to sell me when I book online!
We´re actually in Europe right now too, & contemplating renting a car. So basically, if you damage anything OTHER than the car itself, Visa Signature won´t pay for it, correct? Granted, the main thing that´slikely to happen are minor scratches, etc. to the car itself. But we´re not sure if our own insurance in the States covers us outside the U.S? Thanks, Dan
Hi Dan! You are correct: Visa Signature is only covering the car itself ~ nothing else. All U.S. auto policies are different, so I’m not sure what your covers ~ but I would definitely make sure that you have travel insurance (like World Nomads), in case of personal injury. Hope that helps!