Why you need to be careful with rental car upgrades when using the CDW coverage from your credit card

If you recall we’ve had a couple posts surrounding one of my family’s car rentals recently. More specifically the 10 day rental in Maui:

Everything was fine for us and as we mentioned in those posts we were upgraded from a Ford Explorer or equivalent to a Infiniti QX80 that was fully loaded. When I looked up what this car was worth it was in the $70,000 to $80,000 range. The rental was with Hertz as being Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members makes the pick up easy and fast as Maui usually has pretty long line up at all their car rental offices. Also being Hertz Gold Plus rewards means they have my credit card on file, the Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard and that I decline all insurance coverage, primarily the CDW. However, CDW coverage varies by card and by issuer. So when I found out about the upgrade I wasn’t concerned as Diners Club does not put a dollar limit on the car but they do exclude certain makes of cars. Here is Diners’ coverage note:

Here are the exclusions:

However if I had used another card and got into an accident I could have been screwed as many issuers cap the limit of the value of a car to C$65,000. Here is the excerpt from all Visa’s general coverage:

and BMO World Elite MasterCard’s:

Consider this a reminder, a tip and/or a warning. If you are renting a car and you get upgraded (or even pay for a higher end car right off the bat) double check the coverage from your credit card to ensure you are covered for the type of vehicle you get. Even if you have your personal car insurance as back up, some of those also limit vehicles to $65,000, so double check that as well.  In the end you may just have to dish out the money to buy CDW from the car rental company if you want that Cadillac Escalade to drive a bride and groom around for their wedding!