Have you wondered what are the best credit cards with rental car insurance in Canada are? Admittedly, they’re all very similar. What you’re looking for is a card that covers the length of your trip and the MSRP of your vehicle. Even though the policies may be nearly identical, it’s worth knowing what’s available so you don’t end up paying for insurance that you don’t need.
Note that you also need to read the fine print of your credit card insurance policies. In most cases, you need to decline the insurance offered by the car rental agency for your credit card policy to apply. It’s also worth mentioning that credit card insurance doesn’t typically provide third-party liability insurance, but your car rental agency has to give you a minimum amount based on local laws. That said, it may not be enough so there are times where buying an additional policy might make sense.
The best credit cards with free rental car insurance in Canada
|Credit card||Days covered||MRSP covered|
|American Express Platinum Card||48||$85,000|
|American Express Cobalt Card||48||$85,000|
|Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card||48||$65,000|
|Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card||48||$65,000|
|Tangerine World Mastercard||31||$65,000|
American Express Business Platinum Card
- $499 annual fee ($799 as of Sept. 26, 2023)
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points when spending $10,000 in the first 3 months. Must use a referral link
- Earn 1.25 points per $1 spent on all purchases
- Unlimited airport lounge access
- $200 annual travel credit (as of Sept. 26, 2023)
- $120 annual wireless credit (as of Sept. 26, 2023)
- $100 Nexual credit every 4 years (as of Sept. 26, 2023)
- Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
I’ve included the American Express Platinum Canada Card on this list since it’s one of the best travel credit cards in Canada. Not only that, but the American Express car rental insurance is excellent since it covers you for up to 48 days of consecutive travel with an MRSP of $85,000. This is on the higher end of the credit card rental car insurance so if you hold this card, know that you’re covered.
If you’ve been hesitant to apply for the American Express Platinum Canada Card due to the high annual fee of $699, I can tell you the card is worth it since you get a sign up bonus that’s usually worth at least $1,000.
What many people don’t realize is that American Express Membership Rewards is one of the best travel rewards programs. You can convert your points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio or 1:1.2 if you want Marriott Bonvoy points. Once those points are converted, you could easily get some high value redemptions. If that wasn’t enough, you also get a yearly travel credit of $200, unlimited lounge access, hotel status upgrades and more.
BMO Ascend World Elite™* Mastercard®*
- $150 Annual fee – First year free*
- Get 30,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, and 2,500 points for each subsequent month in which you make at least $2,000 in purchases on your card, for 12 months
- Earn 5 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on travel
- Earn 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spent on dining, entertainment, and recurring bills
- Earn 1 BMO Rewards point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Complimentary membership in Mastercard Travel Pass provided by DragonPass, plus 4 annual passes
What makes the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* a good choice as a credit card with car rental insurance is that it’s a premium that has no annual fee for the first year. Normally, you’d pay $150 for the yearly fee, but it’s waived for the first year. On top of that, the welcome bonus is usually quite generous. The included rental car insurance covers you for 48 days as long as the MRSP of the rental car does not exceed $65,000.
What’s also nice about this card is that you get a Mastercard Airport Experiences membership provided by LoungeKey, plus 4 annual free passes. Think about all those benefits for a second. You can basically use the welcome bonus to offset your car rental costs, you get car rental insurance, and you get airport lounge access. All of this is free for the first year.
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card
- $150 annual fee
- 25,000 Scene+ points when spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
- 10,000 points when spending $40,000 in the first year
- Earn 3 Scene+ points per $1 spent at Empire owned supermarkets
- Earn 2 Scene+ points per $1 spent on eligible grocery stores, dining, entertainment, and daily transit purchases
- Earn 1 Scene+ point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
- Visa Airport Companion Program membership + 6 passes per year
- No foreign transaction fees
The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is very similar to the BMO World Elite Mastercard as they both give you rental car collision/loss damage insurance for 48 days at a maximum MSRP of $65,000. What makes the two cards different are the additional benefits that the Scotiabank card gives you. You’ll get six free annual lounge passes and the card has no foreign transaction fees. Those extra perks are great, but Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card’s annual fee of $139 is not waived for the first year.
It’s also worth mentioning that Scotia Rewards is slightly better than BMO Rewards. With Scotia Rewards, you can redeem your points for any type of travel including things you find that aren’t on the Scotiabank travel portal. That means if you find a cheaper car rental on Expedia or directly with the rental car agency, you can charge the purchase to your Scotiabank card and then redeem points later at full value. This flexibility can be quite handy.
Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card
- $120 annual fee – first year free
- Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to $2,000 in purchases)
- Earn 4% caash back per $1 spent on groceries, recurring bills, and subscription purchases
- Earn 2% cash back per $1 spent on gas and daily transit purchases
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases with no cash back limit
- Travel and mobile device insurance included
The Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card is a cash back card, but it gives you comprehensive travel insurance. Having that combination is rare, that’s why it’s consistently one of the best cash back credit cards in Canada. The rental insurance included is similar to other cards on this list. You’ll be covered for 48 days for vehicles with an MRSP of up to $65,000.
What makes this card stand out are its other benefits. You get an amazing 4% cash back on groceries and recurring bills, 2% on gas and transit purchases, and 1% on everything else. This is one of the highest earn rates for any cash back credit card. Plus, the annual fee of $120 is usually waived for the first year.
Tangerine World Mastercard
- No annual fee
- 10% cash back up to $1,000 in spending ($100 cash back) for the first 2 months.
- 2% cash back on up to 3 categories
- 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
- Mobile device insurance
- Rental car insurance
The Tangerine World Mastercard is an upgraded version of the popular Tangerine Money-Back credit card. This higher tier card may earn you the same amount in cash back, but it now includes free credit card rental car insurance. Your policy covers you for 31 consecutive days of travel and the car rental’s MRSP can’t exceed $65,000. That’s pretty awesome for a credit card with no annual fee.
The earn rate is great at 2% on up to three categories of your choice. You can two categories right away and a third one if you set up your cash back to automatically deposit into your account. All other purchases earn you 0.5% cash back.
You also get mobile device insurance (let’s hope you never need to use it) and Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey. Although LoungeKey gives you access to many airport lounges, you still need to pay $32USD to enter each time.
What credit card rental car insurance covers
I want to mention right away that your credit card rental car insurance only applies if you decline the auto insurance from the car rental company. That means if you decide to purchase insurance from the car rental company, your credit card car rental insurance is no longer valid.
As you can imagine, every credit card rental car insurance policy is different, but generally speaking, you’d be covered for the following:
- Collision and damage
- Towing fees
Unlike travel medical insurance, for your credit card rental car insurance to be valid, you must pay the entire balance of the car rental with your credit card. If you’re using points, you need to charge any outstanding amount to your card.
Depending on the policy, you’ll usually be covered between 31-48 days of consecutive travel and the maximum amount you can claim is based on the MRSP between $65,00 – $85,000
What credit card rental car insurance doesn’t cover
Every credit card rental car insurance policy is different and what you’re not covered is often buried in the fine print, but generally speaking, these are things you’re not covered for.
- Liability insurance
- Days that exceed the maximum days outlined in your policy
- Vehicles that have an MRSP greater than what’s outlined in your policy
- Exotic cars, motorcycles trucks
- Vehicles that are used for commercial purposes
- Accounts that’s aren’t in good standing
- Inebriated driving or illegal activity
- Some countries
This list of free credit card rental car insurance exclusions may seem long, but when you look at it, it makes a lot of sense. The only thing that throws people off is the lack of liability insurance (which you need in case someone sues you for pain and suffering). This may be concerning, but many car rental companies around the world are required by law to include liability insurance with any car rental. That said, the amount required may differ by country. For example, one country may only require $200,000 in liability insurance to be included but if you’re sued for $1,000,000 you might run into an issue.
The other exclusions are pretty understandable but I still want to highlight the fact that most cars beyond sedans, SUVs and minivans are typically not covered. You also can’t use your renal car for commercial purposes. That includes renting an SUV to move your personal possessions across the city. If you did that and got into an accident, your free credit card rental car insurance would not apply.
I don’t think I need to explain why inebriated driving or illegal activity would void your insurance but you should also know that your policy may also become void if you’re travelling to a country with a travel advisory.
Is car rental insurance mandatory?
In most cases, some insurance needs to be provided to car rentals by law. That said, how much coverage you get will depend on the country or even the city you’re renting from. As mentioned, you’re only covered for certain things, so the included insurance often isn’t enough.
However, let’s say you own a vehicle at home that’s insured. Almost every home auto insurance policy covers car rentals, so you wouldn’t need to buy any additional coverage. Make sure you check the details of your policy so you know exactly what you’re covered for.
While having a credit card with rental insurance is important, not having included liability insurance is problematic. You want to protect yourself, but you also don’t want to pay for any insurance that you don’t need. Check to see if any of the current policies you have already cover you when you’re abroad. If not, credit card car rental insurance is not bad, but it doesn’t cover you from liability.
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