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American Express car rental benefits

Your card can save you big-time in case of an accident

Summary

Many American Express cards come with some car rental insurance benefits, and all Amex users have the option of getting premium car rental protection at an extremely affordable price. If you’re a road warrior, chances are that protection is worth considering.

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American Express car rental benefits come standard with more than 60 credit cards from this issuer, but it’s important to note how this coverage works. Unfortunately, there are no Amex credit cards that offer primary rental car coverage as a complimentary cardholder perk.

For the most part, American Express car rental benefits only include secondary coverage that kicks in after you use other insurance you have, such as your own auto insurance coverage.

That said, those with American Express credit cards can choose to pay extra for their Premium Car Rental Protection product. This upgraded coverage is primary and comes with higher limits for damage or theft, but an extra fee of $12.25 to $24.95 applies.

Either way, you should know what Amex car rental benefits cover, what is excluded and which cards offer this perk. Read on to learn everything you need to know about American Express car rental insurance.

What does American Express car rental insurance cover?

When it comes to the Amex car rental benefits cardholders get for free, it’s important to note that coverage limits vary from card to card. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with up to $75,000 per rental agreement for damage or theft that occurs in a covered territory. But the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is worth only up to $50,000 per rental agreement for damage or theft that occurs in a covered territory.

Coverage limits aside, secondary auto rental coverage from Amex can protect against the following, depending on the card you have:

  • Vehicle damage and theft: American Express car rental benefits are most useful for covering damage or theft to a rental vehicle. This can be accidental damage that takes place when you’re driving or intentional damage caused by criminals or thieves.
  • Accidental death or dismemberment: Amex car rental benefits for select cards also include coverage for accidental death or dismemberment, such as losing an arm or a leg. This coverage can apply when the death or dismemberment is the result of a car accident during a covered rental period, and it is typically not secondary to other coverage you have.
  • Accidental injury coverage: American Express Platinum car rental benefits, as well as coverage from some other premium cards, also come with accidental injury coverage. This protection can kick in when an eligible car rental claimant is hurt during an accident in their rental car.
  • Personal property coverage: Car rental personal property coverage can also apply if your personal property is damaged or stolen as the result of damage or theft of a rental car during an eligible rental period.

It’s essential to keep in mind that not all Amex credit cards offer each type of coverage listed above. For example, car rental coverage from the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers only up to $50,000 in coverage for damage or theft that occurs during an eligible rental period, and it skips over accidental death and dismemberment coverage, accidental injury coverage and personal property coverage completely.

For the most part, you’ll get added car rental benefits like accidental injury coverage and personal property coverage with premium Amex cards like the Amex Platinum and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

What does American Express car rental insurance not cover?

American Express car rental benefits can come in handy when you’re renting a car, but it’s important to note that there are plenty of exclusions listed. The majority of cards do not honor their auto rental coverage under the following circumstances:

  • Acts of war
  • Use of a vehicle outside the terms of the rental agreement
  • Use of vehicle that involves illegal activity
  • Use of vehicle when the driver is impaired
  • Off-road operation of a rental vehicle
  • Intentional damage
  • Damage that occurred before the rental period started
  • Manufacturing defects in the rental vehicle
  • Confiscation by a government authority
  • Theft or damage if the car was left unlocked
  • Theft or damage to car tires (with some exceptions)
  • Sales tax related to the repair of damages
  • Gasoline, airport or roadside assistance fees

These are just some of the exclusions listed within the terms and conditions of Amex car rental benefits, but there are others. For example, coverage does not apply in instances of personal liability or for uninsured/underinsured motorists, personal injury protection, worker’s compensation injuries or disability benefits.

Also, keep in mind that coverage does not apply in all countries around the world, and that many types of vehicles are specifically excluded. For example, cargo vans, vans that seat more than eight people, limousines and off-road vehicles are excluded from coverage.

Premium car rental protection from Amex

If you find that Amex’s secondary car rental insurance benefit doesn’t give you the coverage levels you need, you might want to look into the card issuer’s premium car rental protection program.

This optional insurance product provides higher coverage limits in exchange for a flat fee rather than a per-day rate. Perhaps most important, coverage is primary – you don’t have to go through the hassle of filing a claim with your own insurance first.

Activating coverage is as easy as navigating to this page and clicking on “Enroll Now.” After that, you’ll have to log in to your American Express account and choose among the coverage options available to you. If you have more than one card with Amex, pick the one you’re most likely to use to pay for future car rentals.

Once enrolled, you won’t pay anything until you use your card to pay for a rental vehicle, at which point you’ll automatically be charged the applicable rate for the premium coverage level you selected.

How to file a claim

You have two options for filing your car rental claim with Amex. You can either file online at the American Express Claims Center or by phone at 1-800-338-1670. If you’re calling from an international number, you can also call collect at 1-303-273-6497.

Before you start the claims process, Amex suggests gathering your rental agreement or contract, personal insurance information and a police report with information about related damage, vandalism or theft.

According to Amex, you have to initiate your claim within 30 days of the covered event or “as soon as reasonably possible.” You also have to submit any requested proof of loss, which may include documents such as an itemized repair bill, within 60 days. Other proof of loss documentation can include your rental car agreement, any police reports filed, a copy of the charge slip for the rental vehicle and more.

Generally speaking, American Express says it will pay out eligible claims within 30 days of receiving satisfactory proof of loss information.

Amex cards that offer car rental insurance

At the moment, 66 different American Express credit cards come with secondary car rental loss and damage insurance. Some of the best American Express credit cards of 2022 (based on CreditCards.com ratings) that offer this benefit are detailed below:

Card nameRewardsAnnual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)

6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions

3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit

1% back on general purchases

$95
American Express® Green Card3X points on travel, transit and dining worldwide

1X points on all other purchases

$150
American Express Cash Magnet® Card*1.5% cash back on all purchases$0
The Platinum Card® from American Express 

5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year

5X points on eligible prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel

1X points on all other purchases

$695
American Express® Gold Card4X points at restaurants

4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1X points)

3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or via amextravel.com

1X points on all other purchases

$250
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card 14X points on Hilton stays

7X points on airfare, car rentals and restaurants

3X points on other purchases

$450
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card2X miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and on U.S. supermarket purchases

1X points on all other purchases

$99, $0 intro for first year

Limits and exclusions vary by card, so make sure to read over the terms and conditions that apply within your credit card’s policy. You can also view the current policy for your particular Amex card here.

Bottom line

If you plan on using rental coverage from Amex, you should know that the complimentary coverage this issuer offers works secondary to your own insurance. However, you have the option to purchase premium rental car coverage from Amex, too, which is primary and offers higher coverage limits.

Note that many credit cards from other issuers offer primary coverage as a cardholder perk. This includes several popular Chase credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

All information about the American Express Green Card, American Express Cash Magnet Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. These offers are no longer available on our site.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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