AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

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AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby texasdiver » Thu May 17, 2012 2:24 pm

Has anyone used the AMEX Premium car rental insurance? As I understand it, you get basic car rental insurance from AMEX that is secondary coverage....you have to go through your own insurance first. But for a flat rate of $24.95 per rental period you get complete $100,000 loss and damage policy that applies worldwide for rental periods of up to 42 days. Apparently you sign up for the service and they automatically charge you any time you use your AMEX card for a car rental. Here's the AMEX link:

https://www295.americanexpress.com/prem ... ce=CCSG#01

I'm planning to do a 2-week rental of a 4x4 SUV in Costa Rica this summer and complete loss and damage coverage from the rental companies is going to be over $200 for a 14 day SUV rental. My regular auto coverage says it covers rental cars but it is difficult to get any firm answers of how easy or reliable that will be for a foreign rental in Costa Rica.

The $25 Amex premium insurance seems to be a cheap form of peace of mind for this sort of longer-term overseas car rental.

Am I missing anything? Has anyone else used this and/or had an experience making a claim overseas?
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby tludwig23 » Thu May 17, 2012 2:32 pm

I've been using it on longer and international rentals for a few years. I've had no problems, but I haven't made any claims. I believe you can also choose $75,000 of coverage for $19.95. There are a few countries it doesn't work in (Italy and Ireland come to mind). The other thing to note is that the coverage is automatic, meaning that whenever you get a charge from a rental car company you get $24.95 (or $19.95) worth of insurance. Even if the charge isn't for renting a car. I've had this happen a couple of times. The last time was for a $20 charge from Sixth for a photoradar ticket I (apparently) got in France. AMEX is happy to reverse the $24.95 of insurance they will put on the $20 charge, but you have to pay attention to your bill and call them to have it taken off.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby texasdiver » Thu May 17, 2012 2:41 pm

Thanks. I pretty much only use the AMEX at Costco anyway (It's the Costco AMEX) so shouldn't be an issue. I normally use my Alaska Airlines VISA for most normal purchases and would use it for other short term domestic car rentals that I didn't want the insurance for. I guess I will try it out this time in Costa Rica.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby tludwig23 » Thu May 17, 2012 2:50 pm

texasdiver wrote:...I guess I will try it out this time in Costa Rica.


Your biggest worry should be driving in Costa Rica! I still recall being in a bus and passing a large truck with radioactivity warning stickets. Passing on a blind curve--at about 70 mph. Peru is often called the bus plunge capital of the world, but I think only because it is more mountainous than Costa Rica.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby rfburns » Thu May 17, 2012 9:45 pm

You are confused. Look again. The protection is PRIMARY coverage which places your own coverage secondary. I'm enrolled and use my card for car rental every time.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby texasdiver » Thu May 17, 2012 9:59 pm

rfburns wrote:You are confused. Look again. The protection is PRIMARY coverage which places your own coverage secondary. I'm enrolled and use my card for car rental every time.


I think we are saying the same thing but I don't think i was clear in my original post.

My understanding is that AMEX AUTOMATICALLY gives you free secondary coverage when you rent with an AMEX card. That is one of the standard benefits. It is the same with VISA Gold and Platinum cards. I think all the major cards offer some sort of secondary coverage. However If you want primary coverage from AMEX you must pay the $24.95 for the premium coverage. That is what I had intended to write in my original post.

And that is why it seems an especially good deal for overseas travel when dealing with foreign rental car companies and unfamiliar conditions. Here in the US for short term rentals I'm comfortable using my regular auto policy and credit card for secondary coverage because I'm on familiar ground and I know I'm dealing with big companies that are used to doing business that way. Foreign car rental companies are a whole different animal and can be tremendously difficult to deal with, especially after you left the country as anyone who's spent time on the tripadvisor forums reading the stories will know. I'm not really worried about a major hassle from Budget when I'm in the Seattle airport for a flight back to Texas. The bored customer service guy with the handheld scanner barely glances at the car when he checks you in and prints the receipt. I'm much more worried about a major hassle with a Costa Rican car rental company who found a scratch on the wheel and a dent in the bumper when my international flight is 3 hours away as they are liable to do in Latin America. I've rented cars in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brasil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile and it's always an adventure, even from the major US brands as they are usually locally-owned franchises. For me the $24.95 seems well worth it to let AMEX deal with that hassle if it comes to it.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby neurosphere » Thu May 17, 2012 11:14 pm

texasdiver wrote: I'm much more worried about a major hassle with a Costa Rican car rental company who found a scratch on the wheel and a dent in the bumper when my international flight is 3 hours away as they are liable to do in Latin America. I've rented cars in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brasil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile and it's always an adventure, even from the major US brands as they are usually locally-owned franchises. For me the $24.95 seems well worth it to let AMEX deal with that hassle if it comes to it.


I'd probably pay up to $50 to cover a rental in the countries and situations you have described. Buy it, and hope you never need it. $25 is peace of mind, and it sounds like you've already talked yourself into it. Nothing anyone writes here is likely to convince you otherwise.

Now, I personally would not purchase it for short trips in the US. But for a long rental, I would strongly consider it.

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby MDfive21 » Fri May 18, 2012 1:28 pm

thanks for posting.. just signed up for the premium coverage.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby rapscallion » Fri May 18, 2012 4:25 pm

I don't believe the $25 provides any liability coverage. Something to keep it mind.

Rap
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby strafe » Fri May 18, 2012 6:39 pm

No, it is not worth getting, for two reasons.

(1) Unless your auto insurance covers international claims, the credit card's default "secondary" policy becomes primary.

(2) AMEX (including the 'premium' coverage) and MasterCard do not cover "loss of use" charges which can exceed the actual cost of repairs. AMEX will only pay if provided "fleet utilization" logs by the rental car company, which none of them are actually willing to do. Anecdotally, VISA Signature is much better about this.

If your main purpose in all of this is to avoid dealing with a shady foreign rental car company, you should just buy their (expensive) loss waiver and be done with it. Filing a claim through AMEX or any other third party would be just as much of a hassle with or without the 'premium' coverage. You'll find yourself coordinating the claim between the credit card company and the rental company.

Also, remember none of these policies provide liability coverage.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby texasdiver » Fri May 18, 2012 11:00 pm

strafe wrote:No, it is not worth getting, for two reasons.

(1) Unless your auto insurance covers international claims, the credit card's default "secondary" policy becomes primary.

(2) AMEX (including the 'premium' coverage) and MasterCard do not cover "loss of use" charges which can exceed the actual cost of repairs. AMEX will only pay if provided "fleet utilization" logs by the rental car company, which none of them are actually willing to do. Anecdotally, VISA Signature is much better about this.

If your main purpose in all of this is to avoid dealing with a shady foreign rental car company, you should just buy their (expensive) loss waiver and be done with it. Filing a claim through AMEX or any other third party would be just as much of a hassle with or without the 'premium' coverage. You'll find yourself coordinating the claim between the credit card company and the rental company.

Also, remember none of these policies provide liability coverage.


Costa Rica has required liability coverage built into all car rental policies so at least that is dealt with.

I'm wondering though, how exactly a foreign car rental company is going to extract claims from me though if they only thing they have on record is my AMEX card number and AMEX is providing the insurance? Does anyone have experience with this? Sure they can run up charges on my AMEX card after I leave the country but what is to prevent me from calling AMEX when I get home to dispute the charges and have them reversed and applied against the insurance? How am I going to be stuck coordinating a claim between the credit card company and insurance company? Here in the US a car rental company has many options such as turning over their claim against you to a collection agency and their legal department. But a small foreign company with no office in the US?

I'm just trying to understand exactly how this would all play out.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby tludwig23 » Sat May 19, 2012 1:41 am

strafe wrote:(2) AMEX (including the 'premium' coverage) and MasterCard do not cover "loss of use" charges which can exceed the actual cost of repairs. AMEX will only pay if provided "fleet utilization" logs by the rental car company, which none of them are actually willing to do.


True. Then AMEX refuses to pay them for loss of use if they don't provide a utilization log. Have you heard of anyone having to then pay this out of pocket? From what I've read on other forums (see fatwallet, for example) the car rental company usually drops it at this point.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby wander » Sat May 19, 2012 2:08 am

rapscallion wrote:I don't believe the $25 provides any liability coverage. Something to keep it mind.

Rap

No, it does not cover liability. But if you own a car, you are required by most state to have liability coverage.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby Leesbro63 » Sat May 19, 2012 4:33 am

How would this work for someone who does not own a car and just wants insurance for when he/she rents one?
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby briguy7676 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:47 pm

I know this is late, but I've been researching this as well. The coverage on the AMEX premium is primary and DOES cover loss of use. this is a list of what is included...


• The Cardmember must be the primary renter on the rental agreement
• Primary coverage is provided for theft or damage to a rental vehicle
• There is no coverage provided for liability
• Coverage is provided for Accidental Death and Dismemberment
• Coverage is provided for Excess Medical Expenses
• Coverage is provided for Personal Property
• Coverage is worldwide except for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand
• There is coverage provided for Loss of Use or Loss of Revenue
• Cardmember must use an enrolled Card to pay for a rental auto
• Full-size vans, full-sized SUV's, pick-up trucks, and luxury vehicles are covered
• Coverage is provided for up to 42 consecutive days
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby davidyal » Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:33 pm

I'm a fan of this program. Heads up if you rent cars for other people though....you will be charged on AMEX even though the driver doesn't receive the benefit. If you'd like the driver to receive the beenfit, you must add the cardholder as a secondary driver.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby neurosphere » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:57 pm

Posting this info here as well as in another related thread: the Discover Escape card offers primary car rental insurance, and is a good alternative to paying a $25/rental fee to Amex. Note, the Escape card has a $60 annual fee, but there are some promotions out there which can effectively make this card free for 2 years.

I have not compared the quality of coverage between the Escape card and what Amex offers, however. I only know that it is primary insurance.

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby Leesbro63 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:59 pm

I am reviving this thread. Is there a Mastercard or Visa card that offers a similar program?
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby hicabob » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:56 pm

I believe the United Explorer Visa card also claims "primary insurance". I use the Amex $19.95 version and I noticed that if you decide to use a different card to pay when you return the car - the 19.95 is removed from the amex bill. It would seem one can get the insurance then if they didn't need it upon return - not be charged.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby lws6772 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:59 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:I am reviving this thread. Is there a Mastercard or Visa card that offers a similar program?

That was my question and after reading various pros and cons on the web, I decided we would buy the additional rental car insurance. 8-)
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby deepu1 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:51 pm

I can't use my Fidelity Amex card to sign-up for this benefit, I called Amex and they told they are not able to add that card for this insurance.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby umfundi » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:15 am

I have this, and use it all the time.

Have never had a claim, but:

I rent cars on business a lot, and this takes my personal insurance out of the loop. (I do not have a business credit card.) My expense report grinch agrees to pay the $25 per trip rather than the optional per day rental coverage.

I talked to AMEX about this a few weeks ago, trip booked through Expedia. So long as the final billing is to your AMEX card, you are covered. The problem with Expedia is that package deals do not show up as car rentals.

For car rentals on foreign (overseas) vacations, there is no better deal.

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby Leesbro63 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:04 pm

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby Armada » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:33 pm

I have twice used AMEX premium car rental insurance to cover claims for rental car damage. They were excellent in handling the claims.

If you happen to have a Diners Club card (Mastercard), it also provides primary rental car insurance. Diners is not currently accepting applications for individual cards at this point, focusing on the corporate travel card business. I don't understand why Bank of Montreal bought the brand when they have not done anything with it.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby Rob5TCP » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:36 pm

I use this for most of my rentals because they tend to be 7-14 days. When I have a single day rental, I generally pass.
It is your PRIMARY coverage. I was offered two packages:

$20 for $75,000 total coverage and $25 for $100,000 coverage.

I take the lower level, which should cover me 99.9% of the time.
When it doesn't, my regular insurance and umbrella package should cover.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby moolman » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:59 am

I'll be renting a car in Europe and see no reason to use the AMEX premium insurance. Am I understanding this right?

In the states, I always get it no matter what since it's PRIMARY insurance. I have an insured car in the US with full coverage, so if I damage the car, AMEX pays for the car, my insurance would not. Using regular credit card rental insurance would mean that it's secondary, so my insurance pays first and credit card company pays second, usually the deductible if any.

Overseas in Europe, I have no primary insurance. So even the basic credit card insurance is PRIMARY, so I was looking at my Visa Signature rental car coverage vs the AMEX premium and I think you just get some extra personal property insurance with the AMEX but for the car, Visa Signature is primary and covers loss of use too.

Am I missing something?
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby umfundi » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:30 am

moolman wrote:I'll be renting a car in Europe and see no reason to use the AMEX premium insurance. Am I understanding this right?

In the states, I always get it no matter what since it's PRIMARY insurance. I have an insured car in the US with full coverage, so if I damage the car, AMEX pays for the car, my insurance would not. Using regular credit card rental insurance would mean that it's secondary, so my insurance pays first and credit card company pays second, usually the deductible if any.

Overseas in Europe, I have no primary insurance. So even the basic credit card insurance is PRIMARY, so I was looking at my Visa Signature rental car coverage vs the AMEX premium and I think you just get some extra personal property insurance with the AMEX but for the car, Visa Signature is primary and covers loss of use too.

Am I missing something?

I suggest you call your insurance company, AMEX, and also whatever card you are contemplating using to be sure what your options are. You might also check with the car rental company ahead of time.

In my experience, if you refuse coverage from the rental company for an overseas rental, they will demand a very large "in case" provisional charge on your credit card. To me, $25 per rental (not per day) from AMEX is well worth the peace of mind, especially overseas.

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby moolman » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:56 pm

umfundi wrote:I suggest you call your insurance company, AMEX, and also whatever card you are contemplating using to be sure what your options are. You might also check with the car rental company ahead of time.

In my experience, if you refuse coverage from the rental company for an overseas rental, they will demand a very large "in case" provisional charge on your credit card. To me, $25 per rental (not per day) from AMEX is well worth the peace of mind, especially overseas.

Keith


If you decline their insurance even if you have the AMEX Premium rental insurance, won't you still pay the large "in case" charge to your credit card. They have no way of knowing if you got the premium or default rental insurance on your amex or for that matter if you got the the Visa default insurance.

I guess I'm just trying to make sure I'm doing this right. The only time AMEX Premium car rental has an advantage is when you are traveling in the country you are insured in, ie. you live in the US and have US auto insurance, because in this case the regular AMEX or Visa rental insurance will be secondary since your insurance must pay out first.

If you're overseas with no insurance of your own in that country, how does paying for the AMEX Premium car rental work to your advantage. The regular AMEX car insurance or a Visa car insurance seems to be just as good.

Reading the fine print, it seems the AMEX Premium might cover some higher end cars compared to the regular insurance which doesn't affect my cheap, compact driving self. Also there's some medical and personal property coverage too.

The advantage of the Visa rental is that it specifically says that it will cover loss of use, which AMEX does too but also mentions it will cover the cost of towing if the car is in an accident.

Just throwing things out, maybe it'll help someone out in the future.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby umfundi » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:14 pm

Credit cards have different terms: Some provide primary insurance, most do not. Ask your card providers what the coverage in foreign countries is. Ask your personal auto insurance provider the same question.

I know that with AMEX $25 you are covered everywhere except for a few countries.

I go overseas to Africa for a couple of weeks every year. I put the rental and the retainer on my AMEX card, and thus also the $25 insurance. I figure that if there is a problem, AMEX can resolve it by talking to themselves. I'm there two weeks, it's $2 a day, I really don't need to optimize it.

And, when I travel on business 5/6 times a year, it takes my personal insurance out of the equation, domestic or overseas.

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby moolman » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:36 pm

It does say in the fine print that AMEX Premium is always primary.
AMEX regular and Visa car rental insurance is secondary if you have a primary. If you don't have a primary, then AMEX regular and Visa become primary.

I guess I'll just answer my own question, it seems overseas, AMEX Premium is a waste of money, when the regular AMEX and Visa insurance is primary anyway. I know they can be rare exceptions if your US auto insurance was to work in Europe which I've never seen but maybe some of you have super insurance that covers you around the world. I have Gieco and that lizard doesn't cover me outside of the US.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby umfundi » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:43 pm

that lizard doesn't cover me outside of the US.

Notwithstanding the British accent?

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby etarini » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:18 pm

umfundi wrote:Notwithstanding the British accent?


I thought it was an Australian accent.


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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby umfundi » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:34 pm

etarini wrote:
umfundi wrote:Notwithstanding the British accent?
I thought it was an Australian accent.

Eric


From the AMEX premium insurance site:
Coverage is worldwide, except for vehicles rented in Australia, ...

Figures. :wink:

Actually, the Geico gecko's accent was at one time vaguely Australian, but is now definitely Cockney.

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby boobinson » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:44 am

[Unethical suggestion removed by admin LadyGeek.]
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby LadyGeek » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:47 pm

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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby jdjd2 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:12 am

In the past, I've used my VISA and declined CDW. However, for my next trip, I need a car for 38 days. VISA only covers 31 days.

This is where the AMEX Premium Car Rental is a plus. As noted above, it will cover 42 days.

On a related note: There are other alternatives like Travel Guard ($9/day) and Protect Your Bubble ($7.99/day). Does anyone have input on either of these alternatives, especially Protect Your Bubble, a company out of the UK?

thanks
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby rooms222 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:09 am

Delta Community Credit Union (which anyone can join through joining an affiliate) has $25,000 of free primary coverage, good in all countries, and then backup coverage through Visa. Details are found here: https://www.deltacommunitycu.com/Specia ... artid=4205
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby ddb » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:58 pm

LadyGeek wrote:FYI - Discussions which bypass the law or suggest dishonest behavior are totally unacceptable here.


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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby dbr » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:36 am

briguy7676 wrote:I know this is late, but I've been researching this as well. The coverage on the AMEX premium is primary and DOES cover loss of use.



It would be good to read up on the problem that payment is not made good until the car rental company actually documents the loss of use which they normally (allegedly) refuse to do. There are lots of things that are "covered" by insurance where the claim does not actually make good due to all kind of obstacles documenting the damage and so on.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby rooms222 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:30 pm

rooms222 wrote:Delta Community Credit Union (which anyone can join through joining an affiliate) has $25,000 of free primary coverage, good in all countries, and then backup coverage through Visa. Details are found here: https://www.deltacommunitycu.com/Specia ... artid=4205

UPDATE: For anyone coming across this thread, Delta Community Credit Union just informed us that they no longer have the free primary insurance, as the underwriter cannot provide it. They now have secondary CDW on their credit card.
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Re: AMEX Premium car rental insurance. Worth getting?

Postby umfundi » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:30 am

There are some horror stories upthread about companies refusing to allow waivers.

I recently rented from Europcar in Cape Town, South Africa. They are affiliated with National. The rental agent started down the road of wanting to see my proof of insurance.

I told him, go ahead, I would then dispute the charges with Amex and National when I got back to the USA. He backed down.

I am not inclined to rent from companies in foreign countries where the company does not have a US connection.

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