While in Lake Tahoe, I’ll be renting a car for about a week and the usual Collision Damage Waiver (insurance) cost approximately $15/day and they’re generally regarded as a waste of money because most credit cards will cover you as a secondary insurance (your primary auto insurance comes first). I saw that my Costco American Express TrueEarnings card  has a Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance policy as a free benefit for all cardholders but was concerned at the fine print: “Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0925 and is subject to change with notice.” Try to find Policy AX0925 anywhere online… guaranteed you won’t. (don’t bother, I asked a CSR and he said it’s not online anywhere).
I called them up and got a full explanation of both their standard car rental loss and damage insurance, free for all TrueEarnings card members, and their premium car rental loss and damage insurance, which has a $24.95 fee per car rental.
Essentially the standard coverage is identical to the car rental agency’s Collision Damage Waiver, which covers any damage or loss to the vehicle (not your items inside!). Some highlights:
- It has no deductible
- Covers you for a rental period of up to 30 consecutive days.
- It will cover you worldwide except Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland and Jamaica.
- It does not have liability coverage, but your primary auto insurance will have that.
- It also does not cover fifteen passenger vans, pickup trucks, large SUVs, and vehicles over $50,000 in value.
- Finally, it’s a secondary insurance so your primary insurance picks up the tab and it will cover what your primary insurance does not.
What does the Premium Car Rental Protection cover?
- The policy becomes your primary insurance policy for your rental period.
- It also covers some liability, loss or theft of items inside the vehicle,
- some death and dismemberment,
- and a handful of other ancillary insurance items.
All you do is enroll in the program, which is free, and you are charged $24.95 each time you rent a car. There is no cost to join or cancel.
The basic program is pretty good because it basically replaces comprehensive and collision insurance, which I don’t carry, and my liability insurance, which would be first anyway, covers the liability portion it does not cover. For a mere $25, I can get primary coverage for nearly everything (and some) which comes out to approximately $3+ per day.
I reached a CSR by calling 800-338-1670.