Bank of America Credit Card Benefits for Rental Car Insurance

Bank of America Credit Card Benefits for Rental Car Insurance
Last updated Sept. 29, 2022 | By Ben Walker, CEPF | Edited By Melinda Sineriz
Man receiving keys for car

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Bank of America credit cards often provide a wide range of benefits to cardholders. Some cards offer travel benefits such as rental car insurance that could come in handy on your next trip.

Paying for a rental car with a credit card that offers this insurance could help you save money and provide you with essential coverage at the same time. Let’s dig into the details of how Bank of America credit card benefits work with rental cars.

In this article

Bank of America credit cards with rental car benefits

Bank of America credit cards that offer travel rewards may also offer car rental insurance. But it’s likely best to check your card benefits guide or contact your benefit administrator to see whether this is actually the case before using your card to make a car rental purchase.

However, it’s certain that these Bank of America cards offer rental car insurance coverage:

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
  • Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
  • Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards® Elite credit card

These cards are geared toward earning and redeeming travel rewards, so having this added benefit makes sense. Here’s how the two cards’ car rental insurance benefits compare against each other.

Card Offers insurance Covers Primary or secondary
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card Yes, Visa Signature Damage due to collision or theft Secondary
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card Yes, Visa Signature Damage due to collision or theft Secondary
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card Yes, Visa Signature Damage due to collision or theft Secondary
Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards® Elite credit card Yes, Visa Infinite Damage due to collision or theft Primary

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card rental car benefits

The Bank of America Travel Rewards offers car rental insurance in the form of an auto rental collision damage waiver. This type of waiver typically means you’re covered against damage due to a collision or theft of the vehicle.

This card’s rental insurance benefit is secondary. This means it will only take effect after a claim has been made with any other applicable insurance, which could include your personal car insurance company.

Other notable card benefits include:

  • Sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Earning rate: 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Intro APR offer: See Terms intro APR for 18 billing cycles for any qualifying balance transfers made in the first 60 days (then See Terms)

This card has a $0 annual fee. Check out our Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card review for more details.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card rental car benefits

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature offers rental car insurance in the form of an auto rental collision damage waiver. This insurance is secondary to any other type of applicable insurance you might have and covers against damage due to a collision or theft of a vehicle.

Other notable card benefits include:

  • Sign-up bonus: Buy one ticket, get one for just the taxes and fees (plus 40,000 bonus miles) after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days (limited time offer).
  • Earning rate: 3X miles on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X miles on all other eligible purchases
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare: Receive a companion fare each account anniversary that lets you book a companion flight from $121 on any Alaska Airlines flight booked on alaskaair.com

This card has a $75 annual fee. Read our Alaska Airlines Visa Signature review for more information.

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card rental car benefits

The Bank of America Premium Rewards also offers car rental insurance in the form of an auto rental collision damage waiver. This secondary insurance applies after any other insurance you have has already taken effect.

Other notable card benefits include:

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 online bonus points (worth $500) after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earning rate: 2X points on travel and dining, and 1.5X points on all other purchases
  • Travel statement credits: Receive up to $100 in statement credits for qualifying purchases such as airport lounge fees, baggage fees, seat upgrades, and more.

This card has a $95 annual fee. Check out our Bank of America Premium Rewards review for more details.

Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards® Elite credit card rental car benefits

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite also offers an auto rental collision damage waiver benefit that covers rental car damage due to a collision or theft.

This card’s rental insurance benefit is primary, so you likely wouldn’t have to make a claim with any other insurance policy before this benefit kicks in. This auto rental collision damage waiver offers up to $75,000 in coverage (up to the actual cash value of most rental cars).

Other notable card benefits include:

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 online bonus points (worth $500) after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Earning rate: 2X points on travel and dining, and 1.5X points on all other purchases.
  • Statement credits: Receive up to $550 in statement credits, including $150 annually for lifestyle services, $300 annually for airline incidental expenses, and $100 every four years toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

This card has a $550 annual fee.

Tips for renting a car with a credit card

Consider these tips to help improve your experience if renting a car with a credit card.

How it works

Using a credit card’s rental car insurance benefit is often straightforward, but you typically have to follow these steps to ensure you have coverage:

  1. Pay for the entire rental using your applicable credit card.
  2. Decline the collision damage waiver if offered by the rental car company.
  3. Finish and sign the rental agreement.

Keep in mind that different rental agencies could have different terms and conditions, especially in international locations. This could include requiring proof that your credit card company’s insurance benefit will actually cover the car rental. In this case, you might have to contact your credit card company before your trip to receive a confirmation letter or email.

What happens if you’ve followed the above steps and are involved in a covered incident with a rental car? You typically need to fill out a claim form provided by your credit card company or benefit administrator to submit a car insurance benefit claim.

Primary vs. secondary insurance

Primary coverage is considered a much better benefit than secondary coverage. If you have a covered accident in a rental car, you could immediately file a claim with primary coverage benefits.

But secondary coverage typically only covers anything your primary insurance provider doesn’t pay. Your primary insurance is often your personal car insurance policy. Having to first file a claim with your auto insurance could mean paying a deductible and an increase in your car insurance premiums.

Who’s covered?

It depends on the card, but typically the cardholder (primary renter) and any friends or family members listed as additional drivers on the rental car agreement receive coverage.

What’s covered?

Most credit card rental insurance benefits cover damage due to collision or theft. This isn’t liability or any other type of insurance unless specifically stated in your credit card benefits.

For example, certain cards might offer reimbursement for towing charges and other similar charges in addition to covering damage or theft of a rental vehicle.

What’s not covered?

It depends on the terms and conditions of your card’s benefits, but injuries and loss or theft of personal belongings might not be covered. Any type of car share service such as Turo is also typically excluded from these types of benefits.

Additionally, check your card’s benefit to see how much coverage is offered. A vehicle that’s over the coverage limit might not be covered. Further exclusions could include non-standard vehicles such as exotic cars, antique cars, motorcycles, limousines, and other types of vehicles.

Keep in mind that credit card rental insurance typically only covers rentals of up to around 28 days, though it could depend on the card and the rental country.

For example, Visa Infinite credit cards such as the Premium Rewards Elite typically provide primary coverage for rentals of up to 15 consecutive days within your country of residence and 31 days abroad. Countries where credit card rental insurance and similar services might not work include:

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Northern Ireland
  • The Republic of Ireland

Should you take the rental car company’s insurance?

You might want to take the rental car company’s insurance if it’s a reasonable price and gives you some peace of mind. But it’s typically not a reasonable price when you buy it from a rental car company.

You could save money if you use a credit card that offers primary rental car coverage. It likely makes more sense to use this strategy if you already have a card that offers this benefit.

Other cards to consider

If these Bank of America credit cards don’t make sense to you, compare credit cards using our dedicated page with top offers. Here are three specific card options to consider from other credit card issuers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers primary car rental coverage and is often considered one of the best credit cards for travel. It has a $95 annual fee but offers opportunities to earn valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Other available travel insurance and purchase benefits include trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection.

Check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred review for more details.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card also offers primary car rental coverage. It has a $395 annual fee that could easily be offset by the card’s earning potential and benefits. Notable perks and benefits include a $300 annual travel credit, 10,000 anniversary miles, and a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

Read our Capital One Venture X review to learn more.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers secondary car rental coverage. This isn’t the end of the world because American Express has a Premium Car Rental Protection optional service available for American Express credit cards.

This service typically costs a flat rate of up to $24.95 total for primary coverage of rentals of up to 42 consecutive days. This could include up to $100,000 of coverage for damage or theft of a rental car.

Using this service could be an easy solution if you like the benefits of the Amex Platinum card. This includes potentially more than $1,500 worth of value from credits, which could more than cover the $695 annual fee.

Check out our American Express Platinum credit card review for more information.

FAQs

Can you get a rental car with a Bank of America credit card?

Yes, you can get a rental car with a Bank of America credit card. Bank of America credit cards typically use the Visa or Mastercard card networks, which are often accepted by most rental car agencies. These cards also offer rental car insurance:

What is Bank of America Premium Rewards?

Bank of America Premium Rewards is a credit card offered by Bank of America. This and other Bank of America credit cards provide opportunities to participate in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. You could earn 25% to 75% more rewards on your purchases through Preferred Rewards.

Does Bank of America Premium Rewards cover rental car insurance?

Yes, the two Bank of America Premium Rewards credit cards cover rental car insurance. This includes the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card with secondary coverage and the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card with primary coverage.

Bottom line

Using the right Bank of America credit card for a rental car purchase could provide you with helpful car insurance protection. Keep in mind that many credit cards offer secondary coverage, though the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Credit Card offers primary coverage.

Check out credit card offers from our list of the best travel credit cards for more cards with car rental insurance benefits.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Annual Fee

$0

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 25,000 points bonus offer
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Best for Bank of America customers
Card Details
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF Ben Walker, CEPF, is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially sound decisions. For over a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben is a Certified Educator of Personal Finance and has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.