Knowing Your Car Insurance Options When You Travel

When you travel abroad or even in your own country, it’s important to know your car insurance options.

When you travel in the states, I suggest paying for your rental car with a credit card that has rental car insurance option. We have our Discover card and it has this option. Before we had a credit card though, we booked a trip with our debit card. Accidents happen. We were in Hilton Head visiting family and vacationing, when we parked our car at a beach. When were only at the beach for about 15 minutes when we decided this wasn’t the beach we were looking for and got up to return to the car. When we came back, someone had made a huge dent on the rental. Too big to be just an accident. Since our debit card did not have rental car insurance protection and we hadn’t bought rental car insurance through the rental car company, we had to file a claim against our own insurance. We didn’t know this will remain on my husband’s record, and be counted against him when insurance companies used their fancy algorithm to calculate his premium.

On a side note: I actually can’t wait for my husband to turn 25 in six months. It’ll suddenly be cheaper for  to rent cars, so we’ll be able to do some cool road trips and my husband’s insurance premium should decrease!

When you travel abroad, check with your credit card company if they cover your rental car. Also, ask for extra coverages. I know in certain countries, where roads are not necessarily as developed as in first world countries, you may encounter super bumpy roads that could hurt your rental car. Costa Rica is a country we hopefully will be able to go see, and I’ve read some rental insurance companies charge extra for needed coverage. Anybody had any sort of experience with this?

In the UK, you can Insure 4 a Day. You can choose the option of one day car insurance, for example, if your car is undergoing repairs. Traveling for a holiday? Choose the option for one week. Or if you don’t drive your vehicle very often, choose a short term solution.

Always have comprehensive insurance when renting abroad—especially in Europe, where your personal car insurance is unlikely to be valid and deductibles are high. If you want to learn more about rental car insurance options in Europe, check out this super informational article: How to Buy Car-Rental Insurance in Europe.

Here’s a recap of the tips that will be useful for all trips abroad:

Paula Lyons of says you are likely to get better CDW prices through an independent insurer rather than through the car-rental company. She recommends getting a quote

Credit-card coverage is good for 30 to 45 consecutive days, depending on the card.


Have you traveled abroad and rented a car? What has been your experience?


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