Car Rental CDW

Hi, We normally pay for CDW when we rent a car in Europe. But I know there are other options. Have any of you purchased the TravelGuard Rental insurance and then needed to file a claim for damages to the rental car with TravelGuard? If so, how did that work out for you? Or did you go with the coverage provided by American Express? If you had a claim, how much of a hassle was it to deal with AmEx? I'm a bit leary of the AmEx as you have to decline the rental car agency's CDW when you rent the car. Thanks. Mary

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21480 posts

Mary, The CDW options vary from one country to another. Which country are you planning to rent in? If you rent IN Italy, some insurance coverage is compulsory and will be included with the rental, so credit card coverage won't be applicable. You may find it helpful to have a look at the car rental guide at (a downloadable PDF version). Cheers!

Posted by Mary
Reno, NV, USA
212 posts

Sorry about that. We're going to England with a few days in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

The reason you decline the agency cow is so that AmExp becomes primary and and that there aren't multiple parties in the claims process. You wouldn't want it any other way.

Posted by Kurt
52 posts

After reading about the benefits of the American Express insurance, I've being using it for the last five rentals – including once when I got a bill after I returned home about a scrape. (It wasn't totally unexpected, I knew I did it – small parking garage, but it wasn't picked up when I dropped of the car and waited for the report.) Anyway, I get the letter from the rental agency, contacted American Express and never heard about it again. As I recall you must sign up with AE in advance for the vehicle insurance and every time you charge a rental with the card you are charged $19.95 for the service. For me, it's been well worth it.
I've never had an issue when I've declined the CDW.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
902 posts

AMX sounds great, and, if you are in one of the states that allow it, (or are NOT going to Ireland, Jamaica, etc.)CDW coverage provided in some of the trip insurance policies (Travelguard) sounds great,too. You also have the option of buying the "almost" all inclusive policy from the rental agency when you get to their counter, but it still does not cover tires, wheels, and windshields, and it costs "an arm and a leg". I live in a state that won't allow the trip insurance policy to cover CDW (don't ask me why), and I don't have an AMX card, so I pursued another option for our trip to Ireland this May; a 'complete coverage' CDW policy provided by a secondary company that covers the "excess" deductable. In my case the deductible is around $1400 EU. The rental agency would cover that for around $16 EU/day; but again tires, wheels, and windshield are not covered. And one more thing is not covered by the rental agency; all the fees and charges if you damage the car, and it cannot be driven. A buddy of mine wrecked his rental in Ireland. The damage to the car was covered, but he had to pay almost $2000 in other fees, out of pocket. The secondary policies cover all of that, and more. For around $20 I will be covered. If I spend around $30 I can get coverage, no matter where I am, or how many times I rent, for up to a year. What's the catch; they re-imburse you after you cover the damage with your credit card. Do I know how good these companies are? "nope". I have no first- hand experience. But there was a good article about these policies in the London Daily Mirror, so I am going to spend my $30. You can find some of these policies @ sites like, and Thomas Cook travel, etc.

Posted by Bev
Decorah, Iowa, USA
273 posts

We have American Express cards and we use them for renting cars in Europe plus a bunch of other things, of course. We have not had any problems in declining CDW insurance at the rental agency. The only problem has been with a traffic charge on my husband's card. He had lost his AmEx card, called and cancelled his card. He didn't have an AmEx card for the rest of the trip. When he ran a red light in France, there was a problem since the cost of the fine could not be charged to the old card. Other posters have discussed the issue but we will know what happens when we go back to France in April and rent a car. The saga continues! Swallow hard and use the AmEx card benefits instead of the extra rental car insurance.

Posted by Lo
1350 posts

I don't know if every Visa credit card provider does this, but our BECU (Boeing Employees' Credit Union) Visa provides excellent CDW coverage when we rent the car using that Visa. Of course there are lots of ifs, whens and buts. My favorite is that they don't cover "expensive or exotic" cars, like we would rent a Maserati anyway. If you have a Visa, you might get a copy of your provider's Visa Guide to Benefits to see what is covered.

Posted by Mary
Reno, NV, USA
212 posts

Thanks everybody. I signed up for the AmEx coverage but will also check out Visa to see what their deal is.

Posted by Karen
800 posts

We have used the coverage provided by AmX (on a gold card there was no additional charge-it was a benefit of having the card) for all the countries it was valid (as others have mentioned, not when renting in Italy). We have had two "scrapes", one that was a total of about 1,000 that we recieved the bill on after we got home and one for $100 that they requested we pay when we turned in the car. In both instances AmX covered the whole thing and it was a very easy process.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7870 posts

The AmEx deal is different than all the other credit card options. The others invariably reimburse you for paying up front out of pocket - rather than a walk away CDW. If they're slow in paying, you're left holding the bag until they come through. I did have one rental with AmEx that required a call because my card wasn't charged automatically (I checked my account online after paying for the rental). They had to charge me manually - I wouldn't be insured if I didn't pay the premium. I have yet to have a scratch or dent in Europe (hope I don't jinx myself), so I can't say for sure how well they service a claim - or compare them to anyone else's service.

Posted by Bets
2796 posts

To clarify, there are two levels of Amex insurance, the one that resembles the Visa coverage and comes with the rental automatically, and the one you enroll in, that charges your card $25 extra per rental period for the more inclusive coverage. Like Brad, we use the second.

Posted by Mary
Reno, NV, USA
212 posts

I signed up for the AnEx coverage that costs $25. I still need to check with my regular auto insurer whether or not they cover auto rentals in Europe. If they do, they become the primary insurer and AmEx becomes the secondary. I would not want my insurance to be primary as it would cause my preiums to go up if we had an accident. Also AmEx informs me that this insurance does not cover things such as tires, etc. so they advised me to take our the auto rental liability coverage so I would have to figure which is less expensive - AmEx with additional liability or regular CDW offered by the auto rental company. Also I need to factor in the auto rental CDW deductible. We've never had an incident renting cars in Europe but wouldn't it just be my luck this time.

Posted by Bets
2796 posts

Read the fine print because none of the European rental companies cover tires, or windshields and one more thing. That's even if you pay for 0 deductible insurance. You can read the details on the autoeurope website.

Posted by Lane
Mansfield, GA
848 posts

Mary, I would be surprised if your insurance company here would cover your rental in Europe. The AMEX premium coverage you purchased would make them(AMEX) the primary carrier anyway as I understand it. By law the car rental company has to provide liability coverage so you should be ok with the $24 Amex plan for the cdw coverage. It will not cover tires unless other damage occurs to the Rental Car from the same accident, or theft of the entire Rental Car occurs.