July 3rd, 2013
Effective immediately Hertz in Israel is requiring you to furnish a letter of coverage stating that your credit card covers car rental CDW insurance. If you don’t have that letter you will be compelled to purchase CDW from Hertz. Worse than that, like all CDW policies sold in Israel, the Hertz provided CDW comes with a deductible that you will have to pay on top of the daily CDW coverage in case of any alleged damages. Plus your credit card will not cover CDW if you do not decline the car rental agency CDW coverage.
Car rental companies in Israel love to ding people with alleged scratches and dings whether they caused the damage or not. My assumption is that this is likely the reason Israel is one of just 3 countries in the world that is excluded from most credit card coverage. To save yourself a lot of headache always take extensive pictures of your rental car while it’s still on the lot and make sure the agent signs off on every miniscule scratch on the car.
To get a letter of coverage you can call World Mastercard at 800-622-7747 and then push prompts 1, 1, and 3 to speak to someone.
It used to be that all World Mastercards covered CDW in Israel even though almost every other credit card excludes coverage in Israel, Ireland, and Jamaica.
The reason for the requirement now is due to numerous World Mastercards no longer covering Israel including Chase United, Chase Ink, Barclays Arrivals, and Barclays USAirways.
Cards that currently still provide coverage include the Sapphire World Mastercard. There’s no public link for the Sapphire World Mastercard but if you call or send a secure message to Chase they can still convert the Sapphire Preferred Visa or the Sapphire Non-Preferred Visa into a World Mastercard. The Preferred card card gives 2.14 points per dollar on all dining and travel including car rentals and it has no foreign exchange fees, making it the best card to use for rentals in Israel. The non-preferred version gives 1 point per dollar and has a 3% foreign exchange fee.
Those World Mastercards cover up to $50,000 in damages to your rental car for rentals up to 31 days in length.
Coverage is primary if your own personal auto insurance does not cover rentals outside of the USA. I called Geico and they confirmed that on my policy I’m only covered for rentals in the USA, so coverage from the World Mastercard anywhere else in the world is primary. This means that the credit card will pay for damages without having to get your personal insurance involved which can raise your premiums.
It’s worth noting that the Discover cards like the Discover IT card cover CDW in Israel as well and they don’t charge a foreign exchange fee. However they limit their total coverage to $25,000 so if you wreck your rental car you may be on the hook for damages as cars in Israel typically cost at least double what they do in the US. However for regular scratches and dents this should work just fine.
Even if your card does give CDW coverage agencies in Israel require you to purchase liability insurance for damages caused to other people as CDW only covers damages to your own vehicle. Reputable agents like Noach build this into their quote but most prices online that you’ll find do not include this daily fee.
As far as rentals in the US go, if you have your own policy you’ll most definitely want to rent on the United Explorer card as it is one of the few cards that give free primary CDW coverage. Almost every other credit card will not cover damages if you have a personal car insurance policy.