Credit card rental car insurance can be primary or secondary. Primary means it’s a first line of defense. Secondary means it’s, well, secondary. “Many people incorrectly assume that all credit card rental protection is the same,” said Mark Orlowski, Marketplace Morning Report travel contributor. “If it’s secondary coverage, you’ll be forced to involve your primary personal auto insurance company and file a claim before you can get anything from your credit card company.”
The coverage offered by my Chase Sapphire Preferred card is primary, and offers reimbursement up to the value of the car if the car is damaged or stolen. It does not cover personal liability — that is, if you or someone else gets hurt.
Some cards, like the American Express Platinum Card, offer limited personal liability. Car rental companies offer supplemental liability insurance, typically increasing the coverage amount to $1 million. Do you need that much coverage? Probably not. Are there times when it makes sense? Sure, especially if you have a high deductible.