Credit cards covering rental car insurance

(CBS News) During the summer travel season, consumers rent more cars than ever. And at the checkout counter, you're likely to be asked if you want to buy insurance. That's where confusion reigns.

Linda Taylor rents a car about twice a month. Each time, she's asked if she wants insurance from the rental company.

"Do you accept the insurance or decline it? I have insurance on my credit card so I use that insurance," Taylor says.

Which is something many consumers don't realize. Rental customers often say yes to the extra insurance at up to $40 a day because they're not sure if they're covered elsewhere. In fact, if you're charging the rental to your credit card, you might be okay.

"American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover all offer some sort of rental car coverage. You should check with them before you go on your trip but it may be far cheaper than buying that supplemental coverage," says CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger.

Different credit cards offer different levels of coverage and different limitations, so you'll want to check the details. The other place to call is your insurance company. If you have your own car at home, your auto policy may extend to rentals.

More exotic cars or off-road vehicles might be excluded, so if that's a part of your travel plan, make sure to read the fine print on your police before you hit the road.


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