American Express (AMEX) is one of the leading credit card companies that offer rental car insurance coverage. With this, AMEX members can enjoy peace of mind when renting a vehicle in the United States. If you’re an AMEX cardholder, you may be wondering about the benefits and what exactly American Express covers when you’re renting a car. In this post, we’ll explain the AMEX car rental insurance coverage and how it works.
AMEX Rental Car Insurance Coverage
AMEX provides rental car insurance coverage as a cardholder benefit. The coverage varies depending on the type of card you have, with Platinum and Delta Skymiles Reserve cardholders enjoying both damage and personal accident cover. Platinum cards also provide a higher coverage limit of up to $75,000 on rental car damage and theft, which is good for up to 30 days of rental hire. Personal property protection, and up to $5,000 in medical expense coverage are included. No cover for rentals in Italy, Antipodes, Eire, Israel, and Jamaica.
All other cards (eg. Gold, Green, Blue, etc.) provide rental vehicle damage and theft coverage up to $50,000 but no accidental death or injury cover. The damage and theft cover also includes loss of use, which happens when the rental agency has incurred a financial loss due to the inability to rent out your vehicle for some period of time following an accident. With loss of use coverage, you’re protected from having to pay any additional rent or unexpected charges that may be levied by the rental car company when a breakdown or collision occurs. If you’re not sure about what coverage you have, make sure to check the policy that applies to your specific card type.
While the American Express Platinum and Delta Reserve offer good car rental insurance, you should be aware that the coverage is only secondary (except for accidental death or dismemberment). The same goes for the coverage on all other AMEX cards. Since the insurance is secondary, you’ll need to file with any other insurance you have before attempting to submit a claim to AMEX.
American Express Car Rental Insurance Premium Option
While most American Express credit cards don't automatically offer primary car rental coverage (many offer secondary coverage, though), most will offer the option to purchase a Premium Car Rental Protection policy that provides primary coverage. The optional Premium Car Rental Protection policy can be added to rentals made using an eligible Amex card for a small fee.
For a fee of $25 per rental period, the renter can opt for American Express Premium Car Rental Protection. The Premium option differs from all other credit cards as it includes more by way of cover, and also provides primary coverage that is not subject to a policy deductible.
Premium provides coverage up to $100,000 for damage or theft of the rented vehicle. A similar benefit applies to accidental death, and up to $15,000 for secondary medical expenses per person in your vehicle. Premium cover does not extend to other parties in the event of an accident, nor does it cover liability in the event of legal expenses accruing.
Eligibility and Activation of AMEX Benefits
To qualify for auto rental insurance through your credit card, you have to satisfy a few conditions:
- You must decline the rental company's full collision damage waiver (or loss damage waiver) and any other insurances offered for your credit card company to agree to cover you.
- Moreover, you have to charge the entire cost of the rental via that credit card.
Keep all receipts because in the event of an accident, you may be required to submit proof to your card operator that you did in fact rent the vehicle using their credit card. Be sure to have your American Express card with you when you pick up your rental car so that you can show it to the agent. Also, ensure that the primary credit card account holder’s name matches the name on the auto rental contract.
American Express Car Rental Insurance vs Bonzah.com
AMEX’s premium car rental insurance offer is pretty solid at the flat rate of $19.95 / $24.95 per rental period, but only if you’re looking to rent for a longer term. It ends up being costlier if you’re only renting for a day or two.
Aside from the cost, you also need to consider that AMEX only covers damage/theft and personal accident, but is missing liability coverage. That means you’re left with little to no protection if you cause bodily injury or property damage to a third party while driving the rental vehicle.
And unless you sign up for premium coverage, your AMEX only provides secondary coverage. This means you’ll have to claim from your primary insurance provider first before AMEX will pay the rest. That could include hundreds or even thousands of out-of-pocket expenses if you have a high deductible from your primary insurance provider. If you don’t have any other insurance coverage, you’ll end up paying for any amount over the policy limit covered by American Express.
Wise renters would elect to have Affordable Car Rental Damage Insurance in place. Bonzah provides primary damage cover that takes care of protecting you from unexpected losses. Having this cover means you can confidently decline the waivers at the rental desk, knowing that up to $35,000 coverage is offered for as little as $7.99 per day. No quibble in the event of a claim, as long as a Rental Agreement is in place and you comply with the conditions therein.
Should you choose to sign up for AMEX premium for primary damage cover, then don’t forget to get Bonzah’s supplemental liability coverage, so you’re sure that you’re fully protected from unforeseen events while on the road.