Visa Expands Auto Rental Insurance Coverage

March 2, 2004

Visa USA has begun providing car rental insurance to all of its credit card holders, effective March 1.

The company, based in San Francisco, said the insurance — also known as collision damage waiver coverage — previously was available only for select cards.

As a result of these changes, an additional 75 million Visa card holders, and more than 185 million in total, will now benefit, said Al Banisch, senior vice president for Visa’s consumer credit products.

To get the coverage, consumers must use their Visa card when renting a car and decline the rental car company’s offer of collision damage coverage. Visa estimates consumers will save $10 a day on insurance costs when they rent cars.

Similar car rental insurance is available on most American Express cards and on many MasterCard credit cards, including all corporate cards and on gold and platinum consumer cards with credit lines above $2,000, the companies said.

Some insurance policies for privately owned vehicles also extend to rental cars.

Banisch said Visa was expanding its car rental insurance “because it’s well-liked by consumers.” Expanding the service to all cards will eliminate any confusion over which cards qualify, he added.

He said the insurance would cover damage to the rented car as a result of collision, theft or vandalism. It will not cover personal injury or the loss or theft of personal belongings.

Banisch said that there were some 22 million auto rental transactions a year on Visa consumer credit cards.

Coyright 2004. Associated Press.

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