Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Review: American Express Car Rental Insurance

For a general review on car rental insurance click here.

Amex Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance:
When renting a car using your Amex card, you are automatically covered for Collision Insurance. This means that if the rental car gets damaged or stolen, you won’t have to pay a penny.

You should decline any collision insurance that the rental company offers you, e.g. CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) or LDW (Loss and Damage Waiver).

There are two levels of Amex insurance coverage: (Neither one includes Liability insurance!)

  • Included free when renting using an Amex card.
  • Insures vehicles valued up to $50,000; with the Platinum card: $75,000. (The car cannot be valued more than that, not just the damages.)
  • Insures vehicles rented for 30 days or less.
  • This coverage is secondary to any other insurance you might have. If you already have collision insurance on a car you own, the rental company will first try to collect money from your insurance. If they still want more money, they will collect from Amex. If something happens to the rental car, your premium may go up (for the car you own).
  • This coverage does not cover full size SUV's, 15 passenger vans, pick-up trucks and cargo vans. (for a complete list of excluded cars, click here and select your card)

If you want more coverage, then you should consider signing up for:

  • Costs $19.95 per rental - not per day! ($15.95 in California). (There is a more expensive one as well, click here for more info):
  • Insures vehicles valued up to $75,000.
  • Insures vehicles rented for 42 days or less.
  • This is a primary insurance. (So even if you have this insurance on your car, your premium will not go up if something happens!)
  • This coverage does cover full size SUV's, 15 passenger vans, pick-up trucks and cargo vans. (Click here for detailed list of cars included.)
  • No coverage for U-haul trucks, Motorcycles and RV’s.
  • Click here to read about the other things this insurance covers. E.g. items in the rental car that were damaged, medical expenses etc.

Why Amex is better than other credit cards when renting cars:
In each of the following situations, you will be better off with Amex than with other cards.

1) The car rental company forces you to take collision insurance, with a deductible. This often happens in many countries.
Amex will pay the deductible (approx $1000).
Other credit cards:
You must totally decline the insurance no matter what! If you have partial insurance with a deductible, they WILL NOT cover the deductible!

Note: In Israel, you will need to use a MasterCard. Make sure that the rental agreement clearly states that all collision insurance was declined.
Once, when I rented a car in England, they told me that if I take off the Collision insurance, my rental rate will skyrocket! (The internet rate automatically included collision.) Luckily I was using my Amex - as I usually do.

2) You want to rent a car for a few weeks.
Covers 30 day rentals! Premium car rental protection is 42 days!
Other Cards: Most other cards only cover rentals up to 15 days. When you are out of your home country some cards do offer 30 days.

3) You get in to a accident.
They make it a painless procedure (They contacted the rental company, fought over the charges etc. and left me out of it.)
Other cards: They can make you run after the car rental agency for paperwork.

General Notes:
1) No credit card covers liability insurance.
2) Amex does not cover cars in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand.
3) Amex Business credit cards only cover in the US.
4) If you are using Hotwire or Priceline to rent a car, make sure to use your Amex when paying them. Use your Amex again at the rental counter.

If you don’t have an Amex card, you are missing out! Click here for recommended Amex cards.

Disclaimer: Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, no responsibility is taken for errors. Click here to see what your specific Amex card covers.


Anonymous said...

I'm enrolled in Amex Premium Rental Protection Insurance and although I've never had any accident while renting (thanks God, hope it'll never happen:), I'm pretty satisfied with it. Besides the price is very reasonable ($24.95/rental), it also gives me a lot of peace of minds. I really recommend you to enroll in this protection from Amex.

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