How to Get Proof of CDW/LDW Insurance from Your Credit Card Provider How to Get Proof of CDW/LDW Insurance from Your Credit Card Provider

How to Get Proof of CDW/LDW Insurance from Your Credit Card Provider

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If you've ever rented a car, no doubt you’ve been given the hard sell on purchasing insurance as part of the rental agreement. The fee can range anywhere from $10 to $50 per day depending on factors such as the provider, your age, the country where you're renting, the coverage offered, and the type of car you'll be driving. The good news? You might not need to pay to get Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) on your rental car.

Many travelers may not realize that they may already carry a credit card that provides Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Several credit cards cover cardholders against damage caused due to theft or collision. Coverage usually comes in the form of reimbursement after you pay for any losses.

A question we field on a regular basis — both in the blog comments and AwardWallet’s Facebook community Award Travel 101 — is: “how do I obtain proof of the CDW offered by my credit card company?” The answer is as simple as making a phone call. But before we jump into the details, let's review some of the basics of Auto Rental CDW policies offered by major card providers.

person driving car
Some rewards credit cards offer Primary Auto Rental CDW/LDW coverage

What is an Auto Rental CDW and How Does It Work?

The auto rental coverage offered by your credit card takes the place of the traditional Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) provided by the rental company. Having this insurance through your card can save you hundreds of dollars per rental in additional fees.

How do you get this coverage when renting a car? Just swipe the card offering the highest level of coverage when you pay for your rental car. Damage to the vehicle is automatically covered in the event of an accident or if the car is stolen — if you follow just a few rules.

To take advantage of the CDW policy provided by your credit card, you must:

  1. Decline the CDW offered by the rental company
  2. Be registered as the primary renter of the vehicle, and
  3. Pay for the rental in full with the card providing coverage.

You need to check your card’s guide to benefits to determine what coverage is offered. Only a select group of credit cards offer primary rental coverage. And each provider stipulates country and vehicle exclusions.

Which Credit Cards Offer a Car Rental Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)?

Some of our favorite cards providing primary rental CDW include:

And some cards that are no longer available to new cardholders:

  • United MileagePlus® Club Card
  • The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® (secondary coverage in the US unless you have no insurance and then it is primary, primary coverage internationally)

Limitations on Credit Card Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) Coverage

An important aspect to note is the CDW policy provided through credit cards doesn’t cover you for liability insurance if another person or their property is damaged in a crash. You’ll need to check that your personal or travel insurance covers you, or purchase supplemental liability insurance from the rental company.

Alternatively, cardmembers of premium Amex cards can purchase Premium Car Rental Protection. For a modest fee of $15.25 to $24.95 per rental, you'll get primary damage coverage as well as accidental death and dismemberment, secondary medical expense coverage and secondary personal property coverage.

We also want to note that there are business credit cards like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and the Capital One Spark Miles for Business that offer rental car coverage. However, remember that the primary coverage is intended for rentals on business trips. You could be out of luck if you need insurance after an accident but are using the car on a leisure trip, so consult your card's policy terms.

Do I Need to Provide Proof of CDW Insurance to the Rental Agency?

In most cases, you aren’t required to show proof of the CDW offered with your card. In practice, many rental agencies — particularly those in other countries — have little to no knowledge of the benefits of U.S.-issued credit cards. We frequently hear stories of travelers forced to take out additional coverage when they can’t present proof of the policy and what it covers.

If the rental company is not happy with the evidence supplied, you can find yourself slapped with unwanted fees for insurance you don’t need, or they may place a significant hold on your credit card until you return the vehicle. This ties up money on your card and throws your credit utilization rate under the bus.

Learn more: How your credit utilization affects your credit score

Call the Benefits Administrator and Request a Letter of Coverage

The easiest and fastest way of obtaining proof of coverage from your credit card provider is to call the Benefits Administrator and request it. You can call the number on the back of your card or supplied in your Guide to Benefits, and ask for a proof-of-coverage letter stating which countries the policy covers, what damage it covers. Get a hard copy, and take it with you to the rental agency when you pick up the vehicle.

  • Capital One — Call the Benefits Administrator on 800-825-4062 (or call collect outside the U.S. at 1-804-965-8071) to request a letter of coverage
  • Chase Call the Benefits Administrator on 1-888-675-1461 (or call collect if you're outside of the US at 1-804-281-5772) to request a letter of coverage
  • Barclays Call 1-800-Mastercard (627-8372) to request a letter of coverage. Outside of the U.S.? Call collect to 1-636-722-7111.
  • American Express Call 1-800-338-1670 (or call collect from overseas: 1-303-273-6497) to request a letter of coverage

Final Thoughts

Requesting a letter of coverage from your credit card provider takes five minutes. Doing so can save massive headaches and hundreds of dollars when renting vehicles — domestically and abroad. Just be sure to read the policy offered on the card and check all the fine print, so you aren't left to foot the bill in case of an accident or theft.

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  • Thank you for the info. But since the pandemic rise in rental car rates, I have re-arranged how I travel to avoid rental cars as much as possible (replacing some flying with driving, making greater use of public transit, ride sharing, taxis, walking, bicycling). So when I do rent a vehicle, just as well to avoid all the possible hassles, based on past experience – accept the CDW/LDW. Yes, costs more, but car rental already expensive and dont rent vehicles very often, and it is nice when even after a significant damage issue, rental counter says they see that I had purchased CDW/LDW so I am free to go, do not owe ANYTHING further!

  • says:

    It’s a 50-50 toss up. None of these documents are valid in Mexico per most car rental requirements. You can usually get lucky, but many rental car companies demand a Spanish language copy, for example. I have been refused a rental many times due to CDW/LDW not being in Spanish.

  • Thank you so much. We had no luck calling numbers on the back of card, so went to Visa Signature’s website and found Benefits Administrator # 1-800-348-8472.

  • David Addison says:

    I rent cars in the UK (from the US) all the time using a consolidator (Autoeurope in my case) and have never had a problem until now (including renting from Europcar). My wife had to go at short notice for a family emergency and the Europcar representative wouldn’t give her the car until she took the cover. Her father was in hospital so she didn’t have time to argue. Enterprise is a bit more expensive but the service is so much better. A lesson learned.

  • Excellent article. But I wish they would allow you to make the request online.

  • Does anyone have knowledge of a card that offers CDW coverage when the car is rented through a agency such as Turo for a US rental.

  • Very helpful, thanks! Chase was a breeze, Citi was a pain (probably just the agent I spoke to). I’ll be using my Reserve for car rentals then.

  • If you’re relying on your credit card’s insurance to pay for any damage to the rental car, it’s smart to get the letter first as limits to coverage may vary from card to card. With issues involving insurance, it’s usually better to have coverage that you won’t need to use rather than need it and not have it.

  • I haven’t encountered this before but good to know.

  • Logan Fisher says:

    Even with proof, some rental car counters will still give you a hard time and refuse to rent unless you take out their insurance. I’ve had a few battles over this but have won each time. Just be persistent.

  • I’m an expat living in Asia, no car or car insurance in USA anymore but I do rent there quite often. No liability insurance is a big issue for anyone not a resident in the US or those that do but don’t own cars and rely on uber/public transportation and car rentals when they need to drive.

  • I also heard some countries such as Ireland may require a recent letter

  • Useful info, especially when renting cars on vacation!

  • Some rental agencies want a current letter, a few months old is too old for them. I try to get a letter in advance, for every trip, and it comes very quickly, even while am speaking with them. In the past it could take a day!

  • Very helpful advice. I’ve made note of these numbers to call for when I rent vehicles.

  • Wow, I never knew it was that easy. Proof of insurance has never presented any difficulty for me when renting cars abroad, but I prefer to be prepared. I’ll be making some copies of these docs, for sure.

  • Good tip.

    Also, if you say you are resident in the UK or some other European country, you generally have the standard LDW insurance package included for close to free. (with a relatively high deductible)

    This is why many overseas rental companies are perplexed by Americans booking car rentals without insurance and then claiming that they have their own insurance…

  • Great coverage, I only used my free cover a few months ago and saved me a fair bit of money. It’s an added perk a lot of people do not know about.

  • Jacqueline says:

    Thanks, I have a hire car rental coming up soon and forgot about this cover.

  • Didn’t know that cards don’t provide liability insurance. That is a big gap in coverage as medical expenses can easily be more than the cost of the car. I don’t and I’m sure many others don’t own a car and so don’t have my car insurance that would cover injury to others in case its my fault. I’ve never seen just liability insurance offered by car rental companies either, its usually one “all in” insurance option. Have you?

  • Is this something I can get once and then just make copies of it as needed, or is this something I would need to get for each trip for which I planned to rent a car?

    Also, about how long does it take to arrive, i.e. how far in advance should I reach out to procure it?

  • Count this as one of the perks I love on my CSR card.

  • When Chase started covering all those countries that were banned before, I needed proof from chase, no problem at all email sent.
    By now the rental companies in Israel know that chase covers CDW. So despite different devaluations and rumors about no point combining, Chase still rocks!!!

  • Good advice. I use amex platinum and have saved a great deal of money over the years

  • Good recommendation and it only took five minutes to get the Ltr of Coverage.