American Express Car Rental Insurance

american express car rental insuranceLast Reviewed: 4/16/2012

Today we’re taking a good look at American Express Rental Car Insurance (officially referred to as “Car Rental Loss and Damage”, and covered by policy AX0925/CRLDI-IND).  There are quite a few details and carve-outs to this policy, so make sure to read below before automatically assuming you are covered just by using your Amex card.

Amex Cards Providing Car Insurance Coverage

Here are the Amex cards providing car insurance coverage:

  • Platinum Card® From American Express
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • American Express® Green Card®
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • Hilton HHonorsTMSurpass® Card from American Express
  • Hilton HHonorsTM Card from American Express

American Express Rental Car Insurance Details

Activating Amex Car Rental Insurance

  • Use your Amex card to rent the car in question
  • Make sure to decline the full collision damage waiver (CDW) offered by the rental company, or pay for a partial CDW.
  • You must be the primary renter (your name must be written on the rental agreement).
  • Renting a car by presenting a Membership Rewards redemption certificate will also cause the coverage to kick in.
  • Coverage ends when you either return the car. Also, Amex won’t provide coverage if you rent a car for more than 30 consecutive days out of a 45-day period within the same geographic location (defined by a 75 mile radius).

What’s Covered by American Express Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

  • american-express-car-insurance-coverageYou can get reimbursed for damage to or theft of your rental car, based on the lesser of: (a) the actual cost of repair, (b) wholesale book value minus salvage and depreciation cost; or (c) the purchase invoice price of the rental minus salvage and depreciation costs.
  • You also can get reimbursed for any basic charges imposed by the rental company, such as towing and storage costs.
  • Amex’s Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan is EXCESS coverage. In plain English, this means that first any and all other insurance plans that you have (such as personal auto insurance, partial collision damage waiver, employer’s auto insurance, etc) must first respond to the claims. If and only if they don’t cover the full amount of the claim, then the Amex policy kicks in.

Kinds of Cars Not Covered by Amex Car Insurance

  • Expensive cars (with an MSRP of $50K or more), and so-called “exotic cars”, such as the Dodge Viper, Maserati, etc.
  • Trucks, pick-ups, full-size vans and cargo vans. Generally, mini-vans are covered.
  • Full-size SUV’s (e.g. Chevy/GMC suburban, Tahoe and Yukon, Ford Expedition, etc); however, compact SUVs are covered when driven on paved roads.

Types of Losses Not Covered by the Amex Auto Insurance Policy

  • amex car insurance doesnt cover the getaway carOperating the rental car in violation of the terms and conditions of the rental car company.
  • Leased vehicles.
  • Intentional damage.
  • Illegal activity where the rental car was involved (think: get-away car).
  • Pre-existing damage.
  • Alcohol intoxication of the driver.
  • War or military activity (sweet! I was just cruising in the DMZ, taking some mortar rounds, I assume you cover that!)
  • Radioactivity (I’m wondering if when you returned the rental car, Avis would bring out the Geiger counter and call you out: “Sir, I’m sorry but your car is radioactive, we’re going to have to charge you for that.”)
  • Confiscation by authority.
  • Wear and tear.

Well, there you have it, all the gory details of the American Express Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Policy. Now you can brag to your friends that you understand this benefit better than 99.9% of the general American Population.

  • KJ

    You say thatu00a0Amexu2019s Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan is EXCESS coverage. If I drive but don’t have auto insurance because I don’t currently own a car, will I still be covered by this plan?

  • http://www.plasticiq.com/ Marc Davis

    Hmm, that’s a tough question, on which you may want to call Amex directly on. This insurance is considered secondary, meaning it will only cover any excess above what your primary insurance covers, but it’s not 100% clear what happens if you don’t have primary insurance. I’m guessing the car rental company may require you to obtain primary insurance prior to renting to you.