Using personal auto insurance + Costco Citi Visa for rental car

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Kookaburra
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Using personal auto insurance + Costco Citi Visa for rental car

Post by Kookaburra »

I plan to rent a car in Hawaii and would like to use either my personal auto insurance or Costco Citi Visa as rental insurance coverage. What do I need to be aware of when doing this? Any gotchas?

My personal auto has a large combined single limit for liability plus prop damage, as well as collision and comprehensive.

Thank you!
Last edited by Kookaburra on Sat Sep 18, 2021 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
123
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by 123 »

To utilize the Costco Citi Visa rental car coverage you simply have to use that card for all the car rental charges. The Costco Citi Visa protects only the car you rent, your personal insurance still would coverage any liability issues.

If you rent from a major rental company, like Hertz, you simply decline the coverage they offer. If you rent from one of the 2nd or 3rd tier car rental companies they have to endure more sales efforts to get you to sign-up for the vehicle protection plan they offer at a high daily rate.

(The car rental company personnel all know how all these credit card coverages work. But they likely receive incentives for any coverage they sell to you so they are eager to do that. They hear the same arguments and responses all day long. It is their job to sound knowledgeable and correct even when they may make misleading statements. Just say "No".)
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
Greg in S. Carolina
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by Greg in S. Carolina »

Another risk is liability for loss of rental fees when the vehicle is being repaired if you are involved in an accident. The rental company is entitled to be made whole for that loss. Does your auto insurance cover that?
Starfish
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by Starfish »

Credit card insurance is secondary in US (except for 2 credit cards).
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Watty
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by Watty »

Kookaburra wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:53 pm Any gotchas?
There could be a 30 day limit to the coverage. When I had a rental car for the airbag recall for an extended time I had to swap cars every 30 days to restart the 30 day clock.

As I recall to get the credit card rental car coverage some cards require that you decline the coverage that they sell at the rental car counter. If you get talked into buying some additional coverage you could pay more money and actually end up with less coverage.

A lot of credit card companies dropped the rental car coverage within the last year or so. Make sure your card still covers rental cars even if you have some old paperwork saying that they do.
DarkHelmetII
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by DarkHelmetII »

Kookaburra wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:53 pm I plan to rent a car in Hawaii and would like to use either my personal auto insurance or Costco Citi Visa as rental insurance coverage. What do I need to be aware of when doing this? Any gotchas?

My personal auto has a large combined single limit for liability plus prop damage, as well as collision and comprehensive.

Thank you!
Typically, based on what I've seen:
1) Credit card only covers damage to the car you rent and excludes liability, providing limited benefit. In other words, your credit card covers you for something like tens of thousands of dollars - the cost of the car - whereas your damage to others could be hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
2) If you also have personal auto insurance, the credit coverage will typically only reimburses you for your deductible necessitating that you still file a claim against your insurance (assuming the $$ exceeds the deductible). In this sense the credit card insurance only provides coverage for hundreds or low 1000's of dollars (based on your comprehensive deductible).
DarkHelmetII
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by DarkHelmetII »

Kookaburra wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:53 pm I plan to rent a car in Hawaii and would like to use either my personal auto insurance or Costco Citi Visa as rental insurance coverage. What do I need to be aware of when doing this? Any gotchas?

My personal auto has a large combined single limit for liability plus prop damage, as well as collision and comprehensive.

Thank you!
Also, I recently rented using orbitz.com and they offered the comprehensive coverage for $10 / day which does *not* require dipping into your personal insurance. Much cheaper than the $30 - $40 / day offered directly from the car rental agency. If you are renting for long-term this gets expensive quickly. But if a short-term rental of a few days and there are particular concerns (e.g., parking in shady neighborhood) $10 / day for a few days might be a cost effective way to achieve some additional peace of mind.
mr_brightside
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by mr_brightside »

Starfish wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:43 pm Credit card insurance is secondary in US (except for 2 credit cards).
this is the key

need to check to see what coverage is primary vs. secondary. the 'additional' coverage you pay for may not even apply...

it's one of those tedious things you gotta read the fine print. reading insurance documents ranks right up there with oral surgery.

--------------------------------
seawolf21
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by seawolf21 »

Kookaburra wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:53 pm I plan to rent a car in Hawaii and would like to use either my personal auto insurance or Costco Citi Visa as rental insurance coverage. What do I need to be aware of when doing this? Any gotchas?

My personal auto has a large combined single limit for liability plus prop damage, as well as collision and comprehensive.

Thank you!
Using Costco Citi VISA as rental insurance coverage is NOT really an option if you have a personal auto insurance policy that covers rentals as the coverage provided by Costco VISA becomes secondary.
jlawrence01
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by jlawrence01 »

I rented a vehicle in Milwaukee in 2018. While stopped at a light, my rental vehicle was seriously damaged by a young uninsured driver.

My insurer, Auto-owners, covered all of the damage after the $1000 deductible under the uninsured motorist coverage. Capital One Visa covered $500 of the damage which is the limit of the policy coverage. I paid the remainder to Hertz.

The process took about 45 days from the time of the accident until Hertz was paid off by Auto-Owners, Visa, and myself.

This was the second time that we had an accident with a rental car. In the first case, Diners Club was offering PRIMARY coverage and they handles the entire cost which was minimal as my wife was not at fault,

It is critical that before you rely upon your own personal insurance that you actually read your policy declaration to ensure that you are covered in a rental car. No policy that I have ever purchased does not cover rental cars, but other people have told me that their policy does not cover it.
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Watty
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by Watty »

DarkHelmetII wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:52 am Also, I recently rented using orbitz.com and they offered the comprehensive coverage for $10 / day which does *not* require dipping into your personal insurance. Much cheaper than the $30 - $40 / day offered directly from the car rental agency. If you are renting for long-term this gets expensive quickly. But if a short-term rental of a few days and there are particular concerns (e.g., parking in shady neighborhood) $10 / day for a few days might be a cost effective way to achieve some additional peace of mind.
If you feel that you need to buy insurance then another option is that American Express has an option to cover rental car damage for about $20 per rental(not per day).

The normal credit card coverage by other countries excludes coverage in several countries so I have used that when traveling overseas where my personal car insurance does not cover me either.

I have even used that in countries where in theory other credit cards should cover car rentals me just for simplicity since it is only $20. I have not had to use them but from what I have read they have handled claims very well when a large charge is made to your American Express card to cover damage. My impression is that rental car companies have dealt with American Express enough that they are less likely to play games with them.

There is one other possible "gotcha" that I did not mention in my prior post.

I am not completely sure how it works but with your personal car insurance I think (but I am not sure) that the amount of coverage for damage to the rental car may be limited to what your normal car is worth. For example if you own an older car that is worth $7,000 and you rent a car that is worth $30,000 and you total it then your personal car insurance may only cover $7,000 of the damage to the rental car you were driving. If you hit a some other expensive car that damage should be covered just like you would be if you were driving your own car. I normally only rent a compact car and I also have the credit card coverage so I have never worried about the amount of coverage since between the two I am pretty well covered.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by adamthesmythe »

123 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:01 pm (The car rental company personnel all know how all these credit card coverages work. But they likely receive incentives for any coverage they sell to you so they are eager to do that. They hear the same arguments and responses all day long. It is their job to sound knowledgeable and correct even when they may make misleading statements. Just say "No".)
I think the primary reason for counter personnel is to do upsells of insurance and/or larger cars.

If you regularly rent from a particular company, I think they have a way of noting your previous choices. They don't waste time on trying to upsell people who know what they want, they will usually skip the upsell on these so they have more time to use on the marks.

So to save time (1) if possible use the same company more than once and/or (2) state your preferences immediately.

I give my name, followed by "I don't need a larger car and I do not need any of the coverages."
knicknut
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by knicknut »

I echo the primary/secondary distinction as the biggest thing to consider.

https://www.valuepenguin.com/travel/cre ... -insurance - not necessarily a complete list, but essentially:

Chase Sapphire (Preferred and Reserve)
Chase United (a few different cards)
Chase Ink Business (a few different cards)

have primary coverage, along with a few ultra-premium ($400+ annual fee) cards from other issues, though that does not include the other two largest issuers, Citi and Amex. Amex offers separate coverage for a fee, while Citi removed nearly all travel protections from their cards 2 years ago (seems like the Costco card is an exception, but the normal rule of thumb these days is to never use Citi for travel expenses).

Also note that for business cards (Chase Ink and Chase United Business), coverage is only primary when the rental is for business use in the US, but can be for business or personal use outside of the US. Some personal cards also become primary outside the US, but are secondary inside the US.

I used a Chase Ink card to rent in the Netherlands a few years ago. My car was side-swiped while parked. I did everything through Chase's benefits administrator. Since it was outside of the US, I didn't need to submit proof that the rental was for business use, but it did require lots of documentation, which fortunately the highly-rated rental company I used provided with the receipt for the charge, rather than making me chase them down. It took about 2 months for reimbursement, although at least a month of that was the benefits administrator waiting to have one of the documentation forms translated from Dutch to English. In the end, not only did I have zero out-of-pocket from the ordeal, I ended up with points from the ~$4000 charge, as I was reimbursed via check rather than back onto my card. I don't think this was the intended outcome, but I didn't complain.
jlawrence01
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by jlawrence01 »

Watty wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:33 am
I am not completely sure how it works but with your personal car insurance I think (but I am not sure) that the amount of coverage for damage to the rental car may be limited to what your normal car is worth. For example if you own an older car that is worth $7,000 and you rent a car that is worth $30,000 and you total it then your personal car insurance may only cover $7,000 of the damage to the rental car you were driving. If you hit a some other expensive car that damage should be covered just like you would be if you were driving your own car. I normally only rent a compact car and I also have the credit card coverage so I have never worried about the amount of coverage since between the two I am pretty well covered.

That has not been my experience. The only car that I own is a 2007 Toyota Corolla which at the time of the accident was 11 years old. The Nissan Altima that was damaged had $10-12K in damages. It was BRAND NEW.

Now would I head out to Las Vegas and rent an exotic and use my own insurance? Probably not. That might be pushing it
jlawrence01
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by jlawrence01 »

adamthesmythe wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:23 pm
123 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:01 pm (The car rental company personnel all know how all these credit card coverages work. But they likely receive incentives for any coverage they sell to you so they are eager to do that. They hear the same arguments and responses all day long. It is their job to sound knowledgeable and correct even when they may make misleading statements. Just say "No".)
I think the primary reason for counter personnel is to do upsells of insurance and/or larger cars.

If you regularly rent from a particular company, I think they have a way of noting your previous choices. They don't waste time on trying to upsell people who know what they want, they will usually skip the upsell on these so they have more time to use on the marks.

So to save time (1) if possible use the same company more than once and/or (2) state your preferences immediately.

I give my name, followed by "I don't need a larger car and I do not need any of the coverages."

Let's name names.

I have never encountered that with Hertz and Avis because I have the Avis Preferred and Hertz 5 Star. My only gripe is that they have a tendency to upgrade me all of the time from what I want (compact - midsize) to a SUV. That is another issue.

Alamo, Thrifty, Dollar and the like always seem to do that and often, to a ridiculous extent.
Horologium
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by Horologium »

One point that others who are more knowledgeable might want to address is ‘loss of use’. In addition to reimbursement for damage, a car rental agency may seek reimbursement for the number of days their car is idle and not being rented. I don’t know if personal auto insurance covers this or not.
jlawrence01
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by jlawrence01 »

Horologium wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:54 pm One point that others who are more knowledgeable might want to address is ‘loss of use’. In addition to reimbursement for damage, a car rental agency may seek reimbursement for the number of days their car is idle and not being rented. I don’t know if personal auto insurance covers this or not.
Loss of use is the provision in many state laws that allow rental car companies to charge renters for the "loss of use" of the vehicles while the car is getting repaired. Since I have never had to pay for a collision, I do not know what the insurance companies actually pay or would pay. For example, if a garden variety car like a Ford Fusion is seriously damaged and will take a while to repair or it is totaled, an insurance company adjuster will insist that the vehicle be replaced from a local dealer than to pay for months of "loss of use."
lazydavid
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by lazydavid »

Horologium wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 9:54 pm One point that others who are more knowledgeable might want to address is ‘loss of use’. In addition to reimbursement for damage, a car rental agency may seek reimbursement for the number of days their car is idle and not being rented. I don’t know if personal auto insurance covers this or not.
In my experience, it does not. However, I was able to add a UNOC (Universal Non-Owned Car) rider to our policy for $60/year. This covers claims on vehicles we don't own with NO deductible, provided a few conditions are met--notably that I do not use the vehicle for business and the rental period does not exceed 45 days. Most importantly, it DOES cover loss of use fees. I haven't had to use it, but it's cheap peace of mind.
Starfish
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by Starfish »

knicknut wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:20 pm I echo the primary/secondary distinction as the biggest thing to consider.

https://www.valuepenguin.com/travel/cre ... -insurance - not necessarily a complete list, but essentially:

Chase Sapphire (Preferred and Reserve)
Chase United (a few different cards)
Chase Ink Business (a few different cards)
That's surprising and good news. I though only Reserve was primary. There is not much reason to have a Reserve right now.
cheerfulcharlie
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by cheerfulcharlie »

Here's another gotcha to be aware of.

Your credit card CDW only covers you for collisions. If your car just breaks with no collision, then of course, your credit card CDW won't cover that.

In that instance, you would expect the rental car company to cover that damage, but if the rental car company claims that the damage occurred due to your negligence in driving the car, then you're in a no man's land and can get charged for the damage by the rental car company.

Happened to me renting in Europe. Enterprise claimed I damaged the clutch, when I drove their manual car the same way I drove the previous 40 manual cars that I rented from them. I have no idea what the previous drivers did to the clutch, but I was the unlucky soul who had the car when the clutch finally gave out, so they claimed it was my fault with no proof other than the clutch happened to go out when I was driving their car.

And no, disputing the repair charges with my credit card company didn't help. The credit card company took the rental car company's side even though the rental car company's extra $1,500 charge was not authorized by their rental contract, but my credit card company dispute resolution folks couldn't be bothered to read and parse rental contract terms.

This sort of thing should be a rare occurrence, but it's something that can really screw you over if it happens.
killjoy2012
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by killjoy2012 »

As others have said, download the Terms from the particular card you're planning to use. There's going to be carve outs on many things... from certain makes/models, no coverage off-road, etc.

I've used Visa Signature car insurance coverage internationally many times, and unfortunately had a couple incidents on various trips, but Visa was good to work with and I wasn't out any money. But in the USA, for an American, I too thought that your personal auto coverage is what covers you when driving a rental domestically.
knicknut
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by knicknut »

Starfish wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:53 pm
knicknut wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:20 pm I echo the primary/secondary distinction as the biggest thing to consider.

https://www.valuepenguin.com/travel/cre ... -insurance - not necessarily a complete list, but essentially:

Chase Sapphire (Preferred and Reserve)
Chase United (a few different cards)
Chase Ink Business (a few different cards)
That's surprising and good news. I though only Reserve was primary. There is not much reason to have a Reserve right now.
Agreed, especially at the $550 annual fee ($250 net after $300 travel credit). The opportunity to cash out a bunch of points at 1.5 cents via grocery purchases (plus Priority Pass, which may be available via other cards you have) isn't worth enough unless you're pooling points from multiple family members' sign up bonuses to monetize them.
tibbitts
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Re: Using personal auto insurance for rental car

Post by tibbitts »

cheerfulcharlie wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:42 pm Here's another gotcha to be aware of.

Your credit card CDW only covers you for collisions. If your car just breaks with no collision, then of course, your credit card CDW won't cover that.

In that instance, you would expect the rental car company to cover that damage, but if the rental car company claims that the damage occurred due to your negligence in driving the car, then you're in a no man's land and can get charged for the damage by the rental car company.

Happened to me renting in Europe. Enterprise claimed I damaged the clutch, when I drove their manual car the same way I drove the previous 40 manual cars that I rented from them. I have no idea what the previous drivers did to the clutch, but I was the unlucky soul who had the car when the clutch finally gave out, so they claimed it was my fault with no proof other than the clutch happened to go out when I was driving their car.

And no, disputing the repair charges with my credit card company didn't help. The credit card company took the rental car company's side even though the rental car company's extra $1,500 charge was not authorized by their rental contract, but my credit card company dispute resolution folks couldn't be bothered to read and parse rental contract terms.

This sort of thing should be a rare occurrence, but it's something that can really screw you over if it happens.
This is an important point. My example was that my rental car had wheel covers, and apparently one fell off on the highway (not the smoothest road.) I should have anticipated that and removed it, because I'd noticed one of them was slightly damaged, but not until after leaving the rental facility. The credit card wouldn't cover that loss.

I do think some credit cards cover you for theft of the vehicle, although probably every card varies.
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