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Are you planning on renting a car soon for a holiday or road trip? Don’t get stung paying the car rental excess insurance - at least not before you check your credit card policy.

Many credit card providers offer complimentary excess insurance on rental cars as an added perk.

What is car rental excess?

Excess is the agreed amount of money that you would be liable for if there was any damage to your rental car during the rental period. The amount of excess can put consumers in a tricky position, tacking on hidden fees and rates to what may have appeared from the outset to be an affordable rental car.

For example, you may find a rental car rate that you are happy with, only to discover that it includes insurance with a $4,000 excess. This means that you would need to pay $4,000 out of your own pocket to cover the cost of any damage to the rental car.

Here’s the kicker - you can reduce your car rental excess, for a price. This means paying more to hire the car in the first place, turning your affordable rate not-so-affordable in a very short space of time.

How can my credit card reduce my car rental excess?

Many credit cards offer free car rental excess insurance as an added benefit.

This benefit usually comes bundled with other travel insurance perks, such as lost or stolen personal property, medical and hospital and travel cancellations.

What should I look out for in a credit card with rental car excess insurance?

It’s important to remember that your credit card doesn’t automatically cover you for rental car excess. Rather, your credit card provider may offer a complimentary insurance policy that could partially or entirely cover the cost of your car rental excess (should you need it).

Like all insurance policies, it’s important to find out the policy name, and read the product disclosure statement (PDS) before you rely on it. Many of these insurance policies will not cover your car rental excess in certain situations, such as if you violate the terms of the car rental agreement or if the cardholder is not driving the car at the time of the damage or accident.

How do I find a credit card with free car rental insurance?

When comparing credit cards, look out for phrases such as “rental vehicle excess insurance”. You should also look out for cards that are marketed as a travel credit card, or advertise travel insurance perks or benefits. Rental car insurance can usually be found bundled into a more comprehensive travel insurance policy, and less often as a standalone perk.

As with all credit cards, make sure to weigh up the cost of the annual fee and interest rate compared to the perks or benefits before committing. If everything else adds up, you may have found a way to reduce your car rental excess without paying through the nose for it.

^The best credit card for you may not be the best option for somebody else in different financial circumstances. As well as looking at the excess insurance options, it's important to consider the other features and benefits from a variety of credit card providers to ensure you're receiving value. If you're not sure which credit card could be the best option for you, consider contacting a qualified financial adviser. 

Frequently asked questions

Does Woolworths Qantas offer any credit card insurance?

Credit cards can be useful for managing your expenses, but they also come with other advantages like credit card insurance. Your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card may offer a host of complimentary insurance options, which include: 

  • Travel insurance: Cover for your whole family when they travel with you, with unlimited overseas medical emergency cover and $500,000 accident insurance for accidental loss of life.  
  • Purchase security insurance: If you purchase an eligible product with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the cost of theft or damage that occurred within 90 days of the purchase will be covered, provided the amount doesn’t exceed the purchase price of the item or up to $2500 per event. 
  • Extended warranty insurance: If you purchase eligible goods with your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, this complimentary insurance will extend the manufacturer’s Australian warranty by up to 12 months. 
  • Global hire car excess waiver: If you’re legally liable to pay an excess or deductible in the event of loss or damage to a rental vehicle that was booked using your Woolworths Qantas Platinum Credit Card, the costs will be covered. 

To find out more about Woolworths Qantas credit card insurance, you can call them on 1300 10 1234. 

What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

Does Macquarie Bank offer any credit card insurance?

Yes, Macquarie Bank may offer credit card insurance; it just depends on the type of Macquarie Bank credit card you have. There is a range of credit card insurance offers you can benefit from when you take out a Macquarie Bank credit card.

If you have a Macquarie Black or Platinum credit card, you have access to travel insurance for you, your spouse and any dependent children while travelling overseas. Under this travel insurance you receive:

  • Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance, which provides cover for meals and clothing, depending on the delay
  • Medical Emergency Expense Cover, which offers you unlimited cover for most medical expenses, and limited cover for dental treatment and emergencies caused by an act of terrorism
  • Baggage, Money and Documents Cover, which is subject to certain sub-limits mentioned in the terms and conditions

As a Macquarie Bank credit cardholder, you could be eligible for Extended Warranty insurance, which provides an extension to the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products. To access this cover, you must have purchased the product using your Macquarie Bank credit card.

Select Macquarie Bank credit cardholders might also be able to take advantage of Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance. This insurance will cover you for any excess or deductibles that you’re liable to pay during the rental period.

Most Macquarie Bank credit cards also come with purchase protection insurance which protects you against fraudulent transactions. You should check the terms and conditions to find out more.

Do I qualify for Bank of Melbourne credit card insurance?

You may be eligible for transit accident insurance, purchase security insurance, and extended warranty no matter which type of Bank of Melbourne credit card you own. 

Some credit card customers may get coverage for international or domestic travel insurance, rental vehicle excess in Australia, and price guarantee as well. 

However, the exact terms of the insurance coverage can differ based on the specific credit card. For instance, if you buy any personal items with a Level 1 credit card, your purchase security insurance may be valid for up to four months from the purchase date. For someone with a Level 2 credit card, such coverage may only be available for three months. 

What type of complimentary travel insurance is available with Citibank credit cards?

The Citi Prestige, Premier, Rewards, Emirates Citi World MasterCard, and Gold cards provide complimentary travel insurance to customers. These Citibank credit card insurance benefits are managed and issued by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA).

Depending on the type of card, the Citibank credit card insurance coverage may include:

  • Foreign travel insurance
  • A comprehensive insurance policy for foreign travel for up to six months
  • Transit accident insurance
  • Accidental injury or demise while travelling on aeroplanes, buses, trains, or ferries in foreign locations
  • Interstate flight inconvenience insurance
  • Cover for unexpected cancellations, damaged or lost baggage, flight delays, or rental vehicle excess expenses for up to 14 days while travelling within Australia.

To be eligible for the complimentary Citi credit card insurance, you must book tickets using your card or through the Citi Travel Program.

Does Bendigo Bank offer credit card insurance?

No matter which type of Bendigo Bank credit card you own, you may qualify for complimentary purchase protection insurance, extended warranties, and best price guarantee. 

If you are eligible for one or more of these complimentary insurances, you won’t need to activate them separately. Consider checking the coverage limits as well as the terms of purchase to find out if they apply to your purchases. For instance, the annual coverage limit under Bendigo Bank’s purchase protection insurance for one type of credit card is $25,000. However, the coverage limit per item is $5,000, and you may have to pay an excess of $250 every time you file a claim.

Some Bendigo Bank credit card customers may also qualify for mobile device insurance, which covers the accidental damage to or loss of your phone. Again, the coverage limit varies for repairing or replacing your phone,compared to repairing accidental damage to your phone’s screen. Other complimentary insurance offered by Bendigo Bank on some credit cards includes coverage for overseas travel, domestic flight inconvenience, and transit accidents. If you rent a car using an eligible Bendigo Bank credit card, you may be able to get a waiver on the car rental excess as well. 

Does St. George Bank offer any credit card insurance?

Depending on the type of card they hold St. George Bank credit cardholders can benefit from a host of various credit card insurance offerings including:

Complimentary overseas travel insurance, covering:

  • Medical and hospital expenses incurred while travelling overseas, with the exclusion of pre-existing conditions
  • Loss or damage to personal property
  • Legal liabilities
  • Loss or damage to rental vehicles
  • Unexpected cancellation of travel arrangements or any other unforeseen expenses

Complimentary purchase security insurance may be available to level 1 cardholders for four months and three months of complimentary insurance accessed by level 2 cardholders. This type of insurance covers loss, theft, and damage costs to eligible products purchased anywhere around the world, provided that the product was purchased using the St. George Bank credit card. 

Extended warranty insurance may be available to St. George Bank credit cardholders, which extends the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products purchased. For example, if you purchase a pair of headphones that comes with 11 months of warranty, St. George Bank will provide an extended warranty of 11 months, provided the entire purchase is charged to the St. George Bank credit card. 

Select cardholders may be able to take advantage of St. George Bank’s rental vehicle excess insurance, which covers up to $5,500 for any excess or deductible which the cardholder is legally liable to pay during the rental period. 

How does CBA credit card insurance coverage work?

If you have a Commbank credit card, insurance may be one of the benefits on offer. 

You may be eligible for overseas medical and travel coverage, as well as coverage for interstate flight cancellations, transport accidents, extended warranty and price guarantees. You may need to check which types of insurance coverage you can access, as some types are not available to all customers. 

To apply for CBA credit card insurance, you can contact the bank via its website. It’s also worth checking which types of insurance are available automatically and which require you to fulfil some conditions. 

The  Commbank credit card purchase insurance - called Purchase Security -  is available to most CBA cardholders. You can find out more about the different types of insurance, their coverage limits and inclusions and exclusions in the Product Disclosure Statement.

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

What is a balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card lets you transfer your debt balance from one credit card to another. A balance transfer credit card generally has a 0 per cent interest rate for a set period of time. When you roll your debt balance over to a new credit card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the interest-free period to pay your credit card debt off faster without accruing additional interest charges. If your application is approved, the provider will pay out your old credit card and transfer your debt balance over to the new card. 

How many numbers are on a credit card?

The numbers on your credit card actually follow a universal standard which is used to identify specific functions. Each credit card has a different amount of numbers. Visa and Mastercard have 16, American Express has 15 and Diner’s Club has 14. 

The first number on a credit card always identifies what type of credit card it is. Visa cards start with a 4, whereas Mastercard starts with a 5 and American Express with a 3. The remainder of the digits represent the account number, including the last number which is used to verify that your credit card is actually valid. 

Credit cards also have additional verification numbers, which are mainly used when the card isn’t present for phone and online purchases. These are the three-digit numbers on the back of Visa and MasterCard or the four-digit numbers on the front of an American Express card.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

How do you cancel a credit card?

It’s important to cancel your old cards to avoid any additional fees. Unless you’re doing a balance transfer, you’ll need to pay the outstanding balance before you cancel your credit card. If you’ve opted for a card with reward points, make sure you redeem or transfer the points before you close your account. To avoid any bounced payments and save yourself an admin headache, redirect all your direct debits to a new card or account. Once you’ve done all the preparation, call your bank or credit card provider to get the cancellation underway. Once you receive a confirmation letter, destroy your card and make sure the numbers aren’t legible.

Is instant approval possible for credit cards?

Instant approval may be possible – but please note that the term may be misleading. “Instant” approval tends to mean that when you apply online the lender will let you know the likeliness of your eligibility for a credit card within 60 seconds of receiving your application.

Can I get a credit card with bad credit?

Yes, some lenders will provide credit cards to Australians with bad credit scores. It depends on the provider's individual lending criteria and whether you’ve presented your personal finances to show you’re an ‘ideal’ applicant.

Are there credit cards for students?

Yes, there are credit cards available with students in mind. These can help young Australians to build their credit report and learn crucial life skills around budgeting and managing personal finances.