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Amex rental car insurance: Get added protection for road trips and adventures

by Staff

Besides generous rewards, the best credit cards offer several valuable perks to benefit cardholders. One of these perks is rental car insurance, which helps protect you when you use your credit card to rent a car. Several card issuers, including American Express, provide a rental car insurance benefit.

If you’re an Amex cardholder, here’s what to know about its rental car insurance, how it protects you, and how to file a claim.

What is the American Express rental car insurance policy?

American Express provides secondary rental car coverage as a complimentary benefit with many of its credit cards. This coverage serves as a backup to your primary insurance coverage when you use your card to rent a car and decline the rental car company’s collision damage waiver (CDW). 

“Generally, your personal auto insurance would need to be utilized first before submitting a claim with the insurance provided through your credit card,” says Kim Chambers, Product Manager, Credit Cards for Georgia’s Own Credit Union. “The major benefit of secondary coverage is it often covers the deductible for your primary insurance.” 

Your credit card rental car insurance can also help cover the gap if another driver hits your rental car and the cost of the repairs exceeds your primary insurance policy’s limits. Certain premium Amex cards, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, provide additional insurance coverage beyond coverage for damage or theft.

In addition to the secondary coverage benefit with many of its cards, Amex offers optional premium rental car coverage for a flat rate. This coverage also protects your rental if it’s damaged or stolen, but it serves as primary instead of secondary coverage. This means you’d file a claim with Amex for damage or theft before contacting your personal insurance. While Amex’s premium coverage comes at a cost, you won’t pay a deductible before it kicks in. 

What is covered?

The complimentary coverage benefits you receive as an Amex cardholder will vary depending on your card. Most cards offer protection against theft or damage, though some may provide additional coverage, such as accidental injury or accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

Besides protecting your rental car if it’s damaged or stolen, premium rental car coverage from American Express provides these additional protections for drivers and passengers.

  • Secondary medical coverage
  • Secondary personal property coverage
  • Accidental death and dismemberment coverage

“There are limitations to be aware of with credit card rental car insurance,” warns Stuart Winchester, founder and CEO of digital insurance wallet Marble. “The amount of coverage may not be sufficient, and you might not be covered everywhere you travel. It’s important to read the fine print to understand potential exclusions.” 

Note that neither the standard rental car insurance nor the premium insurance provides liability coverage, which protects you if another driver or their passengers are injured or another vehicle is damaged due to an accident you cause.

Who does the policy cover?

Coverage varies slightly by card, but it applies to the following drivers in most cases. Certain cards, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, also offer protections for passengers.

  • Cardholder
  • The cardholder’s spouse or partner
  • Authorized drivers on the rental contract

Amex rental car insurance pricing

As mentioned, American Express offers complimentary rental car insurance with many of its cards. You won’t pay anything out of pocket for this secondary coverage. But if you opt for its premium car rental coverage, you’ll pay a flat rate of $12.25 to $24.95 per rental period, depending on your coverage level. 

Amex rental car insurance coverage levels

  • Complimentary coverage: Up to $50,000 or $75,000 for theft or damage, depending on the card. Certain cards also provide additional accidental death and dismemberment, accidental injury, and car rental personal property coverage.
  • Premium coverage: Up to $100,000 for theft, damage, accidental death and dismemberment coverage; up to $15,000 for secondary medical expenses; and up to $5,000 in secondary personal property coverage.

Which Amex cards include car rental insurance? 

Over 60 American Express cards include car rental insurance, but coverage amounts vary by card. For example, the The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to $75,000 in coverage for damage or theft of a rental car. By comparison, the American Express® Green Card has $50,000 worth of theft and damage coverage. 

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

To view rates and fees of Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card , see this page.

To view rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

To view rates and fees of Blue Cash Everyday® Card, see this page.

How do I file a claim?

Amex cards come with secondary rental car insurance, meaning you must first file a claim with your personal insurance company if your rental car is damaged or stolen. That said, primary coverage is available for an added cost with Amex premium rental car insurance. 

You can file a claim with American Express after a qualifying incident online or by calling 1-800-338-1670. Be prepared to provide copies of the following as part of the process:

  • Rental agreement
  • Police reports
  • Insurance coverage information
  • Relevant repair bills or receipts

Amex generally takes about 45 days to process claims, and you can check on your claim’s status anytime online or by calling (800) 338-1670. 

The takeaway 

Amex has two rental car insurance options for cardholders: secondary coverage, a free perk with many of its cards, and optional primary coverage available for a fee. The secondary coverage benefits will vary depending on your card, with premium cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express offering more comprehensive coverage. 

But both its secondary and primary rental car coverage provide valuable protection. The secondary coverage available to cardholders can reimburse you for the deductible on your primary insurance, as well as any costs exceeding your personal policy limits. If you opt for its primary coverage for a fee, you’ll get up to $100,000 in theft and damage insurance, plus other coverages for added protection.

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

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