When Should You Spend $25 on a Rental Car Damage Waiver with AmEx?


I wrote about the Rental Car Damage Waiver programs for the Chase Ink credit card and for the Chase Sapphire credit card.

But there are times you may want to spend $25 on the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection.

You can enroll your American Express cards in this program and every time you rent a car with American Express, it charges you $25 per rental (not day) for this service.

The way it works is (from the website):

  • Coverage automatically extends to your other eligible Accounts when you enroll one of your American Express Card Accounts (e.g. excludes Corporate Cards).  Note from Jeanne: Pay attention to this one so you don’t accidentally use the $25 when you don’t mean to on a second AmEx card.
  • Covers most vehicles typically available from a Rental Company.

So when would you use this?

If you are an insured driver, you may want to consider using this.  The Ink Cards (plus a few others) act as primary coverage when traveling for business purposes.

But what if you are traveling for fun?  On many cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the coverage kicks in a secondary which means your insurance is notified, your deductible gets paid, and your insurance rate may go up.

The one time $25 fee of this benefit covers you for the length of your trip as primary coverage.  This means if you are in an accident, the damage is covered by your AmEx.  The damage to other cars or property are not covered, so please make sure you have liability coverage, either through your insurance or the rental company.

My husband has been an insured driver and has been using the AmE

x coverage when he takes personal trips.  It eliminates the worry about dealing with insurance in case of an accident or theft, and the $25 isn’t too cost prohibitive.

If you are in an accident with a rental through AmEx, they require that you notify them immediately.  Do not wait until after you return the car.

Warning: There’s an info-graph going around about AmEx’s coverage that incorrectly states liability is covered through this.  It is not.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. I can attest to its ease of use. Someone broke the side mirror on the passenger side (seemed as if he/she tried to hang from it).

    National sent me a bill with an estimate. I forwarded it to the Amex claim people (I opened the claim the day of return, which happened to be just a few hours after I noticed the damage).

    National billed my amex for the costs (repair plus out of service days). One call to amex and the charge was removed.

    It really could not have been any easier.

  2. The liability is the trick, though. IME, most foreign car rentals include some measure of statutory liability coverage, but good luck finding out how much that is so you can avoid the fear-mongering sales pitch. For example, I’m planning a trip to Germany now and Europcar’s contract says that some liability is included … and I should ask how much that is at the rental counter … at which point I’m at their mercy.

    Question: How do you YOU deal with liability coverage for foreign car rentals when your domestic auto insurance doesn’t cover you?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      To be totally honest, I buy the optional coverage. But I’ve never driven in Europe. I’ve done it in Mexico and the Caribbean and I’m a bit scared of getting into an accident and being at their mercy.

  3. Jeanne,
    Which part of Mexico did you rent Car? I am planning to visit Cancun during Spring Break and thinking about renting a car to have more freedom/flexibility and avoid excursion costs.
    What do you recommend (which Co, coverage) and did you run into any issues like Police/theft/accident etc.

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