If you’re traveling and want to make sure you have insurance on your rental car without having to pay additional fees to purchase a separate insurance policy, having a credit card with car rental insurance can save you hundreds of dollars.
One of the few no-annual-fee credit cards that offers car rental insurance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is at the top of our minds when looking for a personal credit card with rental car insurance.
In this case, we’ll highlight the features of the Freedom Unlimited card’s car rental insurance, as well as how to use it.
What Is Car Rental Insurance?
Car rental insurance is, well, insurance for your rental car. You have insurance for the car that you drive at home, but what about when you’re traveling?
Car rental insurance covers you in the event that any incidents occur while driving your rental car.
Although you do not need to purchase insurance when renting a car, we always recommend having some form of coverage, even if you’re an excellent driver.
After all, it’s impossible to control how other people drive, so getting yourself car rental insurance can protect you against other drivers’ behaviors, even if you’re a safe driver.
Freedom Unlimited Card Snapshot
As we’ve reiterated time and time again, the Freedom Unlimited card is one of the best credit cards available. Indeed, it’s our top no-annual-fee credit card, and it even offers a better value proposition than most credit cards with annual fees — that’s how good this card is.
Beyond that, you should expect to earn up to 5% cash back on your purchases:
- 5% cash-back on travel bought via Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 5% cash back on Lyft through March 31, 2025
- 3% cash-back on dining (including takeout) and at drugstores
- 1.5% cash-back on other purchases
The rewards you earn on this card can actually be converted to the coveted Ultimate Rewards points if you happen to have an Ultimate Rewards credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
If you have an Ultimate Rewards card, your 5%, 3%, and 1.5% cash-back can be converted to 5x, 3x, and 1.5x points, respectively.
By our valuations, you’ll be earning a return on spending of at least 3% on all purchases and a maximum return on spending of 10%. Earning 10% from a no-annual-fee card is almost unheard of.
The Freedom Unlimited card offers a series of unique benefits, such as:
- 3 complimentary months of DoorDash DashPass (activate by December 31, 2024)
- 3 complimentary months of Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024)
- $10 per quarter in Instacart+ statement credits through July 31, 2024
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance
- Travel and emergency assistance services
- Roadside dispatch
- Zero liability fraud protection
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
Plus, the Freedom Unlimited card offers fee-free authorized user cards and rental car insurance.
What Sets Apart the Freedom Unlimited Card for Car Rental Insurance
The Freedom Unlimited card offers secondary rental car insurance when renting within the domestic U.S. and primary rental car insurance when renting internationally.
Primary rental car insurance is superior to secondary rental car insurance because primary insurance will pay for damages first. On the other hand, secondary rental car insurance requires you to file a claim with your insurance company first before the secondary insurance kicks in.
The Freedom Unlimited card is one of the only no-annual-fee cards that offer rental car insurance at all. Rental periods of up to 31 consecutive days are covered — longer rentals will not be covered.
The maximum coverage allowed is the total value of the automobile.
Notable Exclusions From Car Rental Insurance
Chase outlines a series of vehicles that are not covered under this rental car coverage policy:
- Antique cars, defined as cars over 20 years old or that haven’t been manufactured for 10 years or longer
- High-value motor vehicles or exotic cars
- Motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes
- Passenger vans with seating for more than 9 people, including the driver
- Recreational vehicles
Examples of high-value motor vehicles or exotic car brands are Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla.
Selected models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, and Range Rover are eligible for coverage.
In addition, there are a series of events or incidents that would not be covered under this car rental insurance policy:
- Rental car periods of longer than 31 days
- Loss or theft of personal belongings
- Personal liability
- Injury of anyone or damage to anything inside or outside the vehicle
- Any violation of the auto rental agreement or this benefit
- Depreciation of the rental vehicle caused by the incident
- Reimbursable expenses from your insurer, employer, or employer’s insurance
- Theft or damage due to intentional acts or due to the driver(s) being under the influence of alcohol, intoxicants, drugs, contraband, or illegal activities
- Wear and tear, gradual deterioration, or mechanical breakdown
The list of exclusions goes on, but if you’re not performing any shady activities, you’re probably covered.
How To Use the Freedom Unlimited Card’s Car Rental Insurance
So now that you have an idea of what types of car rentals and incidents are covered under the Freedom Unlimited card’s car rental insurance coverage, let’s take a gander at how to use the perk.
First, you’ll need to pay for the entire rental car reservation using your Freedom Unlimited card.
You’ll also need to decline the car rental company’s collision damage waiver/loss damage waiver (CDW/LDW). If you accept the car rental agency’s waiver, you will not have any coverage from your Freedom Unlimited card.
Once these 2 steps are completed, you’ll have car rental insurance.
If an incident occurs while you’re traveling with your rental car, you’ll first need to report the incident to the local authorities and collect as much documentation as possible.
This includes reaching out to the rental car company to retrieve police reports (if obtainable), photographs of the damaged vehicle, an accident report form, and a copy of the repair estimate and itemized repair bill.
Hot Tip: It’s always best to collect as much of your own documentation as you can. Relying on the car rental company to furnish these documents can result in frustration and long waits. Take your own pictures!
After this is completed, decide whether you want to file a claim online or over the phone.
Filing a Claim Online
- Visit eclaimsline.com and click the button that says New Claim
- Enter your card number, first name, and last name. Click Get Started.
- Read through the consent form, scroll down, type in your name and email address, and click Accept.
- Select Collision Damage Waiver for the claim type and click Next.
- Fill out the personal information form and click Continue.
- Fill out the claim form and include a brief description of the incident. Click Continue.
- Upload supporting documents on the next page and click Submit Claim.
Filing a Claim Over the Phone
- Call the Benefits Administrator at 888-320-9656 (or call collect outside the U.S. at 804-673-1691) no later than 60 days after the incident.
- Begin the claims process over the phone and submit the documents required by the Benefit Administrator.
- Sign and complete your claim form with all of the documentation required within 100 days of the incident occurrence, even if you don’t yet have all of the supporting documentation.
- Continue sending all supporting documentation. All documents must be postmarked within 365 days after the theft or damage or your claim may be denied.
Examples of supporting documentation you may be asked to provide include:
- Auto insurance declaration page
- Credit card statement showing the rental car transaction and the last 4 digits of your card number
- Damaged vehicle photos
- Final bill for loss
- Finalized rental agreement
- Insurance settlement
- Initial auto rental agreement
- Itemized repair estimate
- Monthly billing statement
- Police/rental agency incident report
Bottom Line: The process is fairly straightforward for using your Freedom Unlimited card’s car rental insurance. Decline the rental car company’s CDW/LDW, pay for the entire rental using your Freedom Unlimited card, and follow the step-by-step process to file a claim if an incident occurs.
The Freedom Unlimited card offers its cardholders secondary rental car insurance on domestic U.S. rentals and primary rental car insurance on international rentals.
Although high-value vehicles and exotic vehicles are excluded from coverage, cars that are eligible for coverage can be reimbursed up to the entire value of the vehicle. Rentals for up to 31 days are covered — any rentals that are longer than 31 days will receive no coverage whatsoever.
Filing a claim can be done 100% online, as well as over the phone. Be sure to collect all of the necessary documentation as soon as possible to make the claims process as easy as possible.