Ask Mr. Thrifty: CDW Car Rental Coverage

Ask Mr. Thrifty

We use this forum to post follow-up Q&A on the topics in our blog.

Q. Which Canadian credit cards have the best car rental collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage — both theoretically, and practically (on record for giving great service when it was needed).
— Regards, Peter L

A. Hi Peter,

Thanks for your engagement !   

Your question is a good one, but this is not a topic that our staff has researched with much depth – so we can’t give you a ready answer. We can, though, offer you the following high level thoughts:

1. The CDW coverage across credit cards is pretty comparable, and there are many no-fee cards that provide good coverage.  Our reviews have so far focused on credit cards with no annual fees and there are many we list in our “favourite” category that have good coverage. Home Trust Preferred Visa, Canadian Tire World Elite Mastercard, PC Financial World Elite Mastercard and Rogers World Elite Mastercard all include collision damage insurance for car rentals.  Home Trust Preferred Visa also has no foreign currency conversion fee, so it’s particularly good for travel outside of Canada.

2. The biggest variables among policies include (i) the number of consecutive days of coverage (ranging, generally from 31 to 48 days), (ii) the amount covered (which generally maxes out at the lesser of (a) the value of the car rented and (b) a set amount, generally ranging from $65,000 to $85,000), (iii) the exclusions of both (a) car types (which exclusions can include not only “luxury” cars but pick up trucks and SUVs as well) and (b) geographic locations.  If none of these major variables is a practical issue then you may be indifferent as between the cards that have coverage.

3.  Fortunately, we have not had to make a claim on a policy, so we don’t have a personal framework to provide guidance on your secondary question. The difficult part of answering your secondary question is that it’s dependent on the insurer that the credit card company partners with, and these partners tend to change over time.

4.  There are sites that provide comparison tools but they often limit the cards to those that reward them with affiliate commissions, so we hesitate to recommend any one site.  The personal finance forum of Redflagdeals, where Canadian consumers share their experiences is, generally, a good source of unbiased information, and something you might want to check out (here’s a link to the relevant page:

Hope this helps !

Mr. Thrifty

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