From our friends over at The Points Guy (https://thepointsguy.com/)
By: Katie Genter
Rental cars have gotten much more expensive in many markets during the pandemic. I was often able to find great deals on rental cars through Autoslash before the coronavirus pandemic wrecked the car rental industry. But, these deals are far less frequent now.
I've found some decent rental rates through the carsharing service Turo. And I've seriously considered renting a car through Turo multiple times now. But, each time, I ultimately opted for a more expensive rental through a traditional car rental company. And the primary reason each time was a concern about insurance.
As you might know, many credit cards offer rental car coverage when you pay with your card. But, Turo is a peer-to-peer rental platform instead of a traditional car rental company. So, today I'll discuss whether credit card insurance covers Turo car rentals.
What does Turo say about credit card insurance?
Turo makes it clear on its website that you shouldn't automatically assume that credit card insurance will cover your rental. For example, Turo Support states, "your credit card company may not provide coverage for a Turo trip" in one article. Then, in another article, Turo Support further explains:
It’s very unlikely that your credit card company provides coverage for damage to a car booked through Turo. It’s even less likely that it provides liability coverage for injuries or damage you may cause to other people or their property. That’s because Turo is not a rental car company. We’re a peer-to-peer car sharing platform, so credit card companies may provide no coverage for a car booked through Turo.
Of course, we can’t provide advice on the specific terms of any coverage that your credit card may or may not offer. You’ll want to carefully review the terms they provided you and contact them if you have coverage questions.
So, let's take a closer look at the terms of several credit card issuers that offer car rental coverage.
American Express outlines the car rental loss and damage coverage for each card online. However, in looking through the benefits guide provided on Amex's website, I found that Amex's insurance excludes the following:
Vehicle sharing or peer to peer arrangements which allow independent owners to rent personal vehicles.
Based on this exclusion, it's clear that Amex won't provide coverage for most Turo car rentals. But, I still called the number on the back of The Platinum Card® from American Express for confirmation. And an agent told me that Amex's insurance wouldn't cover rentals through Turo unless I completed the rental through a commercial car rental agency.
But, what about Amex's Premium Car Rental Protection? Amex's Premium Car Rental Protection program may provide primary rental car coverage when you enroll an Amex card in the program and then use your card to pay for an eligible rental. However, this coverage explicitly defines a rental company as follows:
“Rental Company” means a commercial car rental agency that is licensed under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction and whose primary business is renting private passenger automobiles. A Rental Company does not include a moving van rental company or any business which may incidentally rent an automobile to a customer, such as an auto dealership or auto body repair shop.
Turo considers itself a peer-to-peer carsharing company, not a commercial car rental agency. Plus, Amex's landing page for premium car rental protection has the following note:
Coverage is not available for ride-sharing companies that allow individuals to rent out their personal vehicle.
So, Amex's premium car rental protection won't cover most vehicles you rent through Turo. However, you may be covered if you rent from a commercial car rental agency that's a Turo commercial host. If you have any questions about a specific rental, I recommend calling Amex before booking your rental car.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides the best travel protections among Chase credit cards, so I examined its guide to benefits. Under the "What's not covered?" section of the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit, "leases and mini leases" as well as "vehicles that are not rented from a rental agency" are listed. The guide to benefits defines a rental agency as follows:
A commercial rental company licensed under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction and whose primary business is renting automobiles.
Turo does not consider itself a car rental agency. But, to double-check, I called the number on the back of my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (which also excludes "leases and mini leases" and "vehicles that are not rented from a rental agency").
The initial Chase agent transferred me to a benefits specialist, who said Chase's insurance doesn't exclude all Turo rentals. But, the agent said Turo rentals are excluded unless you complete the rental through a commercial car rental agency and get a car rental contract showing that you are renting from a commercial rental company and not from an individual.
If you have any questions about whether Chase's insurance will cover your Turo rental, it's best to call and speak to a Chase benefits specialist before booking. This way, you'll know whether you should buy insurance through Turo when you book.