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Over the weekend, I went online to rent a car for an upcoming trip. As usual, I used a combination of Hotwire and Priceline to get the lowest possible rate, ultimately winding up with a reservation through Hotwire.
During the checkout process, I was offer rental car insurance. The policy that I was offered was through Hotwire, and it was significantly cheaper than what the car rental agencies offer, costing something like $35 for the whole rental term vs. $20-$30/day. Nonetheless, I declined.
Why decline rental car insurance? For starters, our regular car insurance policy extends to rentals as long as they’re being driven in place of our regular car. In addition, our Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express offers car rental loss and damage insurance as long as: (1) you decline the rental agency’s insurance, and (2) you pay for the entire rental with that card.
Many other credit cards offer similar protections, though it’s always best to check the details yourself. Some credit card policies pick up where other coverages end, essentially covering your deductible, while others will cover the whole thing. And, of course, some cards don’t offer this sort of protection at all.
As I was about to click the “Rent Now” button, however, I got to wondering… Does credit card car rental insurance extend to rentals through third-parties like Priceline or Hotwire? Hmmmm. I wasn’t sure. I did a bit of Googling, but could find anything definitive. Thus, I decided to contact Amex directly to ask.
Here was their response:
“Good Morning! Yes, these would be covered as well, as long as the rental is charged on your card. You would need to waive their insurance.”
Excellent. Now I’m double covered, with our regular car insurance policy extending to the rental, and the Amex policy also covering the rental. No need to spend a bunch of extra money on that scammy loss and damage waiver (LDW) from the rental agency. And I got the rental itself for more than 30% below prevailing rates.
Obviously, you should double-check with your card issuer to be sure that they have a similar policy. But I would guess that most, if not all, card issuers treat rentals through third-part travel discounters in a similar fashion.
Now I just need to remember to return it with a full tank so I don’t get hit with that pesky fuel surcharge…
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