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Does Credit Card Car Rental Insurance Cover Priceline and Hotwire?

Written by Nickel - 141 Comments

Does Credit Card Car Rental Insurance Cover Priceline and Hotwire?

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

Published on October 17th, 2011
Modified on November 25th, 2013 - 141 Comments
Filed under: Frugality, Travel

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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141 Responses to “Does Credit Card Car Rental Insurance Cover Priceline and Hotwire?”

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  1. 1
    Steve Says:

    Rental car LDW seems like such a scam. Why does it cost $15-30 a day when my regular car insurance (for two vehicles) costs less than $2 per day?

  2. 2
    Wendy Says:

    The problem I had with my last rental was they wanted me to return the car with the same amount of gas as when I rented it, which was like a quarter of a tank. How do you measure that? I’m so used to just topping off the gas tank. I ended up having my friend keep an eye on the gas gauge while I filled up to let me know when I got to that point. I’m going to have to check my car insurance and credit cards so I can avoid those rental charges. I don’t rent that often, but it’ll come in handy when I do.

  3. 3
    Abhisek Says:

    I read these stories in all personal finance blogs. Make sure you understand the situation. All these credit card insurances(including paid Amex premium rental insurance and your personal car insurance companies
    ) does not cover few charges which can substantial in case of accident. They are loss of value and loss of use(Amex can cover this if rental company shares the orderbook to show that they lost business as the car was out for maintenance, but rental company will share that).

    So my advice, make a deal on rental rate but buy CDW.

  4. 4
    Bill Says:

    I work for a rental car company. If you have collision/comp with your current vehicle you don’t need to buy any insurance because your insurance company will cover you. The only downfall to using your insurance is that there’s a possibility of your premiums going up. Dont buy Priceline or Hotwire insurance it’s crap bare minimum coverage and if you get into an accident there going to go through that insurance and then after your personal insurance as well

  5. 5
    Bill Says:

    “My credit card covers the Insurance” BS it covers 30% max unless your fortunate to be one of the few 100 people in the US that has an American Express Black Card that card pays 100 %

  6. 6
    Baba Booey Says:

    I work for a rental car company..

    Rental car insurance from the car rental companies are not a SCAM!

    Sure, it’s a lot higher cost and the company makes a lot of money on it, but it is not a scam- it’s a choice!

    Some credit cards covers, but only as a secondary once your personal insurance have been applied (and you MAY end up paying out of pocket for your deductible)

    Also, some insurance companies does NOT cover downtime (loss of use) which is a daily loss of revenue fee that rental car companies will charge you while the car is out of service- this can be any fee- but usually around 40 bucks..(per day!)

    Like someone said- check with your insurance company- check with the credit card- and be informed of what’s covered..

    Also, consider that some things that happens out on the road.
    Tire damage, loss of keys, lockout service, tow-truck (when its your fault) etc can become additional charges for you and may not be covered.

    If you rent a car for one day or two, these options could be convenient… not to worry about stuff. but I agree- when you keep a car a long time, its certainly a big expense..

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