The Chase Sapphire Preferred Rental Car Insurance Explained [2020]

The Chase Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance comes in the form of a collision damage waiver (CDW), which provides reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.

Even though CDW is not technically car insurance (no liability coverage), many refer to it as “rental car insurance.” I’ll use both interchangeably but keep that distinction in mind.

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Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred come with primary rental car coverage?

Yes, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with primary rental insurance (or primary CDW coverage). (Read here for the full detailed review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.)

This is significant because it means that you can avoid filing a claim with an insurance company, which also means you’ll probably be able to avoid fees along with an increase in your monthly premium.

The savings are also great because many rental car companies will charge you anywhere from $8 to $30 per day for a damage waiver. I was once quoted  at over $100 for just for 3 days of coverage. So my Sapphire Preferred covered its annual fee on that single occasion by offering me built-in coverage.

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How do I get rental car coverage with the Sapphire Preferred?

To get Chase Sapphire Preferred rental car coverage (CDW) you need to:

  • Place the entire rental transaction on your Chase Sapphire Preferred.
  • Keep a copy of your receipt showing that the entire vehicle rental was charged to and paid for with your eligible card (you can likely use your or monthly billing statement if you lose track of your receipt).
  • Decline the damage waiver from the rental car company. If you accept the collision damage waiver offered by the rental company, you will not be eligible for Auto Rental CDW.

When you’re checking out a rental car, it’s easy to get into a rush due to the excitement of being in a new place. But don’t rush through that paperwork and always verify that you declined the rental car company’s damage waiver if you want this benefit.

Who is covered by the Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance?

  • Cardholder (name is embossed on the card and listed as the primary renter)
  • Additional drivers permitted by the rental agreement (authorized persons)

It’s always important to add your travel partner as a driver if they’re going to ever get behind the wheel. That’s because they won’t be covered unless their name is listed in the rental agreement.

Note: Some rental car companies like Avis will allow you to add a spouse for free but this could differ in countries outside the US.

Related: How to Get an International Driving Permit

What countries are not covered by the Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance?

The benefit is available in the United States and “most foreign countries.” You should be aware that regulations abroad could vary, so it’s recommended that you check with your rental car company and Benefit Administrator to verify your coverage before you travel.

  • You can call 1-888-675-1461 with your inquiries.
Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance coming in handy.
That time I got into a car accident in Iceland.

What is the rental car coverage limit?

The coverage will cover claims subject to the following restrictions:

  • “Auto Rental CDW is primary coverage and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle as it was originally manufactured”
  • Vehicle rental periods that do not exceed nor intend to exceed 31 consecutive days

The Chase Sapphire Reserve states the coverage limit at $75,000 while the Sapphire Preferred merely excludes expensive and exotic vehicles. This essentially caps the coverage limit to “the actual cash value” of non-expensive, non-exotic vehicles.

What does the Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance cover?

  • Physical damage and/or theft of covered rental vehicle
  • Valid loss-of-use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and is not available for use, as substantiated in the company’s fleet utilization log
  • Valid loss-of-use charges incurred by the rental car agency

What is not covered by the Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance?

The Sapphire Preferred coverage excludes: “expensive, exotic, and antique automobiles; certain vans; vehicles that have an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles.”

This is a stark difference from the Chase Sapphire Reserve coverage which does not exclude these types of vehicles but instead limits coverage up to $75,000.

Chase provides some examples and definitions of these excluded terms so you can know what to expect:

  • Examples of excluded expensive or exotic automobiles are these brands: Aston Martin, Bentley, Bricklin, Daimler, DeLorean, Excalibur, Ferrari, Jensen, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Porsche, and Rolls Royce. However, selected models of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered.
  • An antique automobile is defined as any vehicle over twenty (20) years old or any vehicle that has not been manufactured for ten (10) years or more.
  • This benefit is provided only for those vans manufactured and designed to transport a maximum of eight (8) people and which are used exclusively to transport people.

The terms also list a host of events that would exclude coverage. Some of these include:

  • Any obligation you assume under any other agreement
  • Any violation of the auto rental agreement
  • Confiscation by authorities
  • Cost of any insurance or collision damage offered or purchased through the auto rental company

Note: Personal liability for damage to other parties is not covered by the damage waiver. So if you damage another vehicle or physically injure someone else, this coverage will not apply to that scenario.

Sorry, Lambos are not covered by Sapphire Preferred rental car coverage! Photo by llee_wu.

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Important Claim Information

If you do get into an accident, it’s important that you notify the Benefit Administrator as soon as possible.

Chase requires you to notify the Benefit Administrator within 60 days of the damage or theft. You also need to promptly respond to any paperwork inquiries when they send you the claim forms to fill out.

Here are the official guidelines:

  • If you, the Cardholder, have an incident, contact the Benefit Administrator immediately to report theft or damage, regardless of whether your liability has been established
  • You must notify the Benefit Administrator within 60 days of the damage or theft
  • The Benefit Administrator will send you a claim form when you report your loss; you must submit a completed claim form within 100 days of the damage or theft
  • Submit all required supporting documentation within 365 days of the damage or theft

Collect your documents

In addition to the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Claim Form that you’ll receive and your receipt for your rental car transaction, you’ll want to keep evert document sent to you by the car rental company.

You should ask the rental company for the following documents as soon as possible after an accident.

  • A copy of the Accident Report Form and claim document: these documents should show the costs you are responsible for and any amounts that have been paid toward the claim.
  • A copy of the entire auto rental agreement(s)
  • A copy of the repair estimate or itemized repair bill
  • Two photographs of the damaged vehicle, if available
  • A police report, if obtainable
  • Any other documentation deemed necessary, in the Benefit Administrator’s sole discretion, to substantiate the claim

If you have issues gathering any of these documents within 100 days of the date of theft or damage, just submit the claim form and any documentation you have available.

Remember, you still have an entire year from the time of the incident to provide the other documents.

How long does it take to process a rental car claim?

Generally, the claim will be paid within fifteen days after the Auto Rental CDW Benefit Administrator has received all documentation needed to fully substantiate your claim.

Note that working with car rental companies can be a major PIA some times so you could find yourself attempting to resolve your claim for months. Just be prepared to be a bit aggressive to make sure that things get taken care of for processing your claim.

Final word

The Sapphire Preferred rental car insurance or collision damage waiver is one of the best benefits of the Sapphire Preferred. This benefit alone can more than make up for the $95 annual fee and so you should definitely make sure you have an idea on how to use it.

Cover photo by Michael via Flickr


  1. An AVIS agent has told me that CDW provided by a credit car will cover loss or damage to the car but it will not cover LOSS OF WAGE meanung loss of income from the car being in a repair shop or awaiting replacement to their fleet. The rental company will charge for that loss of wage which could be quite high with a badly damaged car.
    Is this true?

  2. How can a verify a BMW Series 2 in Germany would be covered under Chase Sapphire’s car rental insurance?

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