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I know auto rental insurance is not usually a good deal if you purchase it at the car rental place at the time and different credit cards already include the coverage if you book the rental with the card.


I was made aware of the American Express Premium Car insurance available for  AMEX cardholders and a few features make me think it might be worth the cost over their free coverage.  First, it's considered primary coverage and you won’t have to file a claim with your insurance company first if anything happens. Also, the coverage amounts are  higher and there is no deductible. It's $24.95 per vehicle rental (not a per day rate) up to 42 consecutive  days. Coverage is worldwide except for Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand. We're trying it next trip and will see if the $24.95 is worth it.

Please share what cards have worked for you and any pitfalls you've had if things go wrong .



If you want a thing done, ask a busy man.

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It sounds like a very convenient, inexpensive option.  Why not?  But wait a minute Rob, won't you have to wreck your rental, to one extent or another, to know if it's "worth it"? 


It also says "Liability coverage not included" as well as other missing coverage in the fine print at the bottom.  Apparently the rental agencies' own insurance, the policy that covers the company, not us, can cover liability, or maybe one would have to tap into one's own car insurance for the rest.  It seems far from straightforward at first glance.  Maybe the marketing guys are having their way with us?

Not to get too deeply into it now (and maybe a blog later) but here are a few points that have come up in my research.


1. The cost of the rental-company provided insurance is nearly always a VERY bad deal.

  • It's generally only a collision-damage waiver
  • In nearly all domestic instances, it only covers beyond your own insurance, so you may be spending $20 a day to cover only $500-1000 worth of benefit


2. Always check very specifically with the card issuer and your insurance company before deciding which card to use. Ask specific questions: ("I am renting in France for 6 days," not "Do you cover Europe")

  • Many cards provide one coverage in the U.S., and a different coverage overseas
  • Many U.S. insurance companies have different rules for U.S. and overseas.
  • Coverage may be limited to a specific number of days, or change if you cross a border.

3. Primary and secondary: that's a critical question while traveling. In the U.S., card-based insurance is usually secondary to your own policy if you have one, but it makes little difference to you. All the U.S. rental companies know all the U.S. insurance companies. But if you are traveling in Europe, you do NOT want to be involved in three-way negotiations between the card-issuer's insurance carrier, your insurance carrier and a rental company that may not be familiar with either.

  • When you speak to the card issuer, be very clear on the primary/secondary issue. If you have cards that say primary, that's the one to use.
  • Be specific about the card. For instance, Chase business cards make the insurance primary, but on the consumer cards it's secondary.
  • Once you've spoken to the card issuer, talk to your insurance company also.

Okay, now for the personal experience. Last summer, in eastern Normandy, I was too far left and scraped the rental car along a metal road divider. Not much harm, once past the startled phase, and the door was difficult after that. On returning to Paris, I contacted my insurance company (Sorry! don't cover rental cars overseas.) and the carrier for Chase's Ink business card, which we had used for the rental.


On that card they are primary; they sent me forms by e-mail, as did the renter, Sixt. I was able to fill both sets of forms online, and direct them to each other. After that, my role was only to monitor the e-mails they sent me, and finally the notice by the insurer that they had paid, and from Sixt that they had received.


If the Amex plan can guarantee that kind of experience for $25, and if you don't have a card that is primary...take it!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Well ,we definitely  don't want to have an accident and if we are billed correctly ,I'll consider it a success too! When I shopped for car rentals, the ones I looked at said liability coverage was included in the price but I didn't research it further than than that.

Notice , certain state laws really add value to those residents when purchasing this.

If you want a thing done, ask a busy man.

Some countries have mandatory insurance priced into the rental.  For example, in Iceland, there was a substantial amount of insurance covered with the base rental.  You can buy more, but I didn't because of coverage from my credit card and personal policies.  


Damage to the car in an accident is the simple part and easy to calculate, including days the car is out of service.  Your greatest risk is hurting someone (heaven forbid) and the liability that imparts to you.  So definitely make sure you have some liability coverage or you're taking a substantial risk.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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