Rental car insurance: buy local or depend on credit card coverage?

Buying collision, glass, hubcap insurance in Croatia is kind of pricey.
But it is worth it?
Or should we be content to depend on the coverage offered by our
USA credit card company?

Any personal experiences will help us decide...

Thanks!

Posted by Andrew H.
Portland, Oregon
271 posts

I used my American Express card to pay my two rentals with Sixt (rental car company) in Croatia and Slovenia a few years ago. I also paid for American Express's "Premium Rental Car Protection" which in addition to the insurance offered on the card by default (which has deductibles), for $24.95 per rental I got $0 deductible coverage. (You have to call Amex and sign up - it's free unless you rent a car - anywhere - then you are automatically charged $24.95 for any rental, until you call Amex and cancel your enrollment.)

All I had to do was decline all insurance coverage (except liability, which is required and included in the rental price anyway I believe). I never needed to test the coverage to see how American Express's insurance worked, but I heard from someone who did that it was completely painless.

American Express is not widely accepted in Europe, but it was accepted by Sixt and would probably be accepted by other major rental car companies. Perhaps other credit cards offer similar kinds of extra coverage, but I am not familiar with them.

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
773 posts

We also used Amex premium insurance and felt comfortable with full coverage -- much lower cost than per-day insurance from rental agency. In the USA I go with my free Visa coverage on top of my auto insurance but not out of the country.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

If you do not have access to a plan like the AMEX rental insurance plan mentioned above then you will have to weigh the risk/cost for yourself. There are third party policies (just a google away) you can purchase that are substantially lower than what most rental companies offer just confirm the rental company accepts it and it covers the country you will be renting in. Also not all policies cover everything - most CDW's do not cover theft - there is a an extra premium for that! Some cc policies limit the # of rentals days - no coverage if the rental period is more than 15 days or if the MSRP of the vehicle exceeds a certain dollar amount, or for SUV's and trucks. In addition, if you decline the rental agency's insurance some places will place a hold on your credit card for a hefty amount - in Mexico it was $5000 to 10,000US! Remember the entire rental must be paid for on the same card for the insurance to cover.

READ THE FINE PRINT OF ANY POLICY BEFORE YOU COMMIT

Posted by Marcia
Spokane, WA, USA
17 posts

Driving and road conditions are more challenging in Croatia than in the US. We always use our credit card automatic insurance. The problem with that is if there's any damage, you will be charged for the 600 euro deductible. You then have to deal with the credit card insurance company to get your money back. We had to make a claim this year after minor damage to the car. We had coverage through Visa and we got our money within a month. However, there is a certain hassle factor involved, since I had to provide all kinds of documentation to the credit card company. If you don't want hassle, pay for the waiver. If you're willing to put up with some hassle, you can save the money.

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1412 posts

We also always get the AMEX Premium insurance. For Californians it costs $18.95 for up to 42 days. As it happens, we did need to use it for a rental in Croatia. Upon returning the car, the agent spotted a tiny (2 inch sq.?) flaw in the chassis below the front passenger side door. From the location and shape, I think a rock must have flown up from the road and caused it. An additional 300 euros was charged to our bill. I got all the documentation. When we reached home, I called AMEX to file the claim. They placed the charge on hold, so I never had to front any money. About 6 weeks after filing, I received word that the claim had been settled, and the charge disappeared from my account. This process was so efficient and painless that I think it wouold be worth getting an AMEX card - - if you don't have one - - just to be able to access the Premium insurance. I think the cheapest ones cost $95/year, probably less than those agencies want for their insurance.