AMEX $24 Rental Car Insurance Upgrade - Worthwhile?

Has anyone used the AMEX $24 car insurance upgrade over the basic CDW coverage so that you have a $0 deductible? The fee is charged for each rental period up to 30 days. I was planning on declining the CDW insurance as my AMEX card will cover CDW. I'm trying to decide if getting the $24 upgrade is worthwhile. My family will be renting cars in Italy and France (driving to/from Germany, Belgium, and Luxembourg). Thanks!

Posted by Roy
Auburn, AL
800 posts

To move this back to the top so others are more likely to see it and chime in: Yes, I have used AmEx Premium and like the price and coverage, but I have not had to file a claim, so I cannot comment on how well that works.

Posted by Paul
Weston, MA, USA
61 posts

Pam, read Amex's fine print. Even their premium insurance won't cover you in Italy. I was thinking of getting it for my rental in Italy this past December, but then saw they excluded Italy. It was hard to find, but it was there. There are a few other countries where they exclude, such as Ireland, and I think New Zealand and Australia.

Posted by Agnes
Alexandria, VA, USA
616 posts

Usually, diverting all the risk from yourself to another party comes at a premium - so it just depends how risk averse you are. I bet AMEX is making a killing off these additional "services" - I personally wouldn't need it, but to each his own. What would be the deductible for the plain vanilla CDW coverage if you had to cover it out of pocket? And is the $24 a "per day" extra charge?

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7963 posts

The amount of the deductible? Which would be more than twenty-five bucks. It's per rental period, not per day.

Posted by Steve
Gaston, Oregon, USA
869 posts

Pam, are you planning on renting cars in one Country, and dropping off in another? Have you inputed your route, or routes, into some of the auto rental web sites, and checked out pricing. A real good one to play with is AutoEurope.com. If you have any questions you can call them at their headquarters in Maine. They are very helpful. Don't forget to bring your drivers license, and your International Drivers Permit, that you buy at your local AAA office.

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1002 posts

We get the Amex auto insurance every time we rent a car in Europe, except when we go to Italy. As noted by someone else, they don't cover Italy. The cost is very low - - much lower than what the car rental cos. charge - - and the insurance is good for a 42 day period. You have to decline the insurance offered to you by the rental agency. If you are unclear about any of the provisions, why not call Amex?

Posted by Lane
Mansfield, GA
847 posts

As Ed noted it is $24 per rental not per day. Also, they will cover if you drive in Italy providing you pick up the car in another country such as Germany, Austria or France for example. Just won't cover if you pick up the car in Italy.

Posted by Irv
Beverly Hills, MI
368 posts

One added thought since you will be driving in Italy, don't forget to get an International Driving Permit before you leave, they are required there. If you have an accident without an IDP the chances are whatever insurance you have will be voided because you are legally an unlicensed driver without one. If you are going to be in Europe for 3 weeks or more, have you looked into a lease plan, they come insured to the hilt.

Posted by Pam
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
77 posts

Thanks, everyone, for the responses. And Rosalyn makes a good point...I will definitely call AMEX to confirm details. We are planning to get the Int'l Drivers License through AAA before we leave for the car rental pickup/dropoff in Italy. I would have preferred to lease a car for a 3-week period, but since our trip combines staying in both large cities and small towns, we are only renting for the small towns and planning to do bus/metros in the cities. Happy travels everyone!

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

Pam... I have also used it recently for a few trip to Europe, but not had to use it. Just remember that when you come home you have to cancel it or it will automatically kick in each time you rent in the US as well... I also rent a lot in the US and don't bother with it here, but you must call and cancel.

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

To clarify Terry kathryn's post: the Amex coverage only kicks in if you use your Amex card to pay for the rental.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2600 posts

@Tom... correct... since I always use the same card for travel stuff I forgot to add that.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
604 posts

We signed up for the Amex car insurance before our last trip, but only $19 in California I think. Be fure that you use AX to make the reservation, give to the counter when you pickup the car, and pay for anything with the same AX card. Using a different card for any part could invalidate your AX insurance. We scraped the bumper on our rental, trying to do a tight U-turn near lake Como, so we called the AX number to find out what we needed to do. Obviously not an accident, very minor, but wanted to make sure that if when we turned in the car we'd be prepared. They were very helpful. Turned out AutoEurope didn't care/notice, so no claim. I really like the AX for renting cars in the US. First it acts as primary coverage, so won't affect your personal insurrance rates if something happens, and no deductable. Secondly it covers loss of rental income, which your personal coverage won't cover, unless you add "car rental" coverage during your trip.
Renting a car outside of Italy and driving INTO Italy is covered with AX. But renting a car IN Italy is not covered, nor would be covered when you same car to other countries. You'd have to purchase the mandatory CDW when you rent the car IN Italy.

Posted by Roy
Auburn, AL
800 posts

Karen, since AutoEurope does not have its own car lots, what company provided the car and where did you pick up and return it? We hear so much about rental companies being overly picky about scratches, it might be helpful to name one that is not, or at least was not in your case.

Posted by Robert
Portland
629 posts

I too have noticed loads of comments about experiences with picky rental companies and scratches. I've never had any problems (I think I've always rented from Europcar or National/Citer), including a couple of times that I thought I might have caused a scratch or dent because I wasn't sure if the mark had been there before. I'm not sure if some companies are more lenient than others, or if it principally depends on the staff at the location. Also, it might make a difference if you get an unblemished car or one with several dents already. I think the majority of the cars I've gotten have had at least some minor damage.