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AMEX Premium Car Rental protection in Europe vs. CDW

I've always used the rental company's CDW in Europe - I don't want any hassles if we have an issue. For an upcoming trip this CDW will add $28 per day. I have an AMEX card and they advertise their Premiun Car Rental protection for $24.95 (total, not per day). It covers rentals up to 30 days. It sounds like a great alternative to the rental company's CDW. Have you ever purchased the AMEX coverage? Have you ever had to use it to cover an accident? What was your experience at the rental counter when you returned the car? Thanks.

Posted by
2703 posts

Hi Will, We've used the AMEX Premium Car Rental Protection for our rental cars on our last 3 trips to Europe. Never had to file a claim though. Paul

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Will, I used it once, had a minor scrape but I just paid Hertz for the damage and then submitted it to AMEX for reimbursement. However in doing this I did learn that if it had been a total loss or stolen car they wouldn't pay the full value. Last year we went to Germany and I bought rental car coverage from travel guard. It was very reasonable and would have covered everything if I needed it. Thank God we didn't need it though.
Have a look at their website. http://www.travelguard.com/travelinsurance/carrental.asp

Posted by
11798 posts

The comment above may have been about the regular coverage rather than the premium. I plan to use it for the first time in Spain this April. After reading the fine print I think it will work for me. I normally return the car without a scratch so I'm reluctant to nearly double the rental cost for full CDW. At the same time, It's a big risk not to understand your insurance options and have some coverage. I always take pictures of the car when I return it, just in case there are any questions after I get home (plus the photos show the car we rented). My thought on some states not allowing it: A state Insurance Commissioner can put everything on hold by insisting that ANY insurance product sold in their state be reviewed and approved by them. American Express might be submitting the plan for their approval or, alternatively, saying "fine, we won't offer it in your state".

Posted by
850 posts

Will, the coverage for rentals with the premium coverage is good for up to 42 days except for those who live in the state of Washington which is for only 30 days. The basic free coverage offered by AMEX is good for only 30 days. Also, the loss coverage for the premium plan increases from $50,000 to $100,000 over the basic plan. Keep in mind that you do need to decline the rental company cdw when signing the agreement and you need to pay all charges associated with the rental agreement with the AMEX card.
If you use the premium coverage and the car is totaled or stolen you would be covered for up to $100,000 according to the lady I spoke with at AMEX. $50,000 for the basic coverage. That contradicts what David mentioned unless his rental car's value exceeded those limits. In talking with the representative at AMEX she said that effective yesterday the residents of the following states were no longer elgible for the premium coverage: Georgia, New Hampshire, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oklahoma. She said she did not know why the residents of these states were no longer elgible for the premium coverage. Does anyone know why the change for those states? She did say the basic free coverage was still available to those states residents. You did not mention where you were picking up the rental car but if it is in Italy or Ireland the coverage is not availble. You can pick up in Germany for example and drive into Italy and be elgible for the coverage however.

Posted by
180 posts

Thanks all. I thought I understood that the Premium Insurance covered everything (loss, damage, theft) for my car with no limits. David's comment is a bit perplexing so I will check back with AMEX for clarification. I will also contact Access America (we use them on international travel) to see if they have a CDW rider I can add to my insurance.

Posted by
9110 posts

I've been using the AmExp deal since about the day after they invented it. My undertading is exactly as Lane's. TravelGuard isn't such a good deal - - it stiffs you about ten bucks a day and still leaves you with a couple of hundred deductible.

Posted by
180 posts

Again, thanks all. I called Access America ... also not a great deal compared to AMEX ... $9/day. I'm sorry I forgot to mention that we will pick up and return the car in Spain. No problem on coverage from AMEX.

Posted by
850 posts

Brad, you are probably correct or at least going down the right road with your thinking. I called back to AMEX in an effort to dig deeper and find out if anyone knew exactly. Just a genreal comment that there was some state legislation that prevented them from insuring with the premium coverage but no specific knowledge as to why. The Amex rep did say they would investigate and get back with me and if they do I will pass it on for those who may be affected. Not that anything can be done about it though. She did say that NH residents had been ineligible all along but the other 5 states were just added to the list and unfortunately GA is one of those listed.

Posted by
2876 posts

Amex coverage is great, but be sure to familiarize yourself with the documentation they require in case you have to file a claim. It's detailed in the policy of insurance that they send you when you sign up for the coverage.

Posted by
2525 posts

My recollection of a discussion with an AMEX representative is that the premium rental car coverage excludes damage to other property (cars, buildings) and liability.

Posted by
2876 posts

In most if not all European countries, third party liability coverage (damage to people or property outside the vehicle) is mandatory and is included in the cost of the rental.

Posted by
188 posts

I plan on using the amex coverage for France to Holland. Does anyone know if the VAT portion of any repair claim is covered by AMEX, I found out last year that my claim for a $1200 scrape was only covered by Capital One for about $1000 because Capital One now does not cover the VAT portion of the Claim. (Most purchases in Europe include a VAT charge, which can sometimes be as much as 20%) Some years ago I know Capital One would have covered the entire claim, and not excluded the VAT portion) Does anyone know if the Citi cards exclude the VAT? good luck

Posted by
132 posts

I also have used AMEX Premium protection for several trips to Europe. Unfortunately finally had "the" accident in Austria this year with significant damage ($10K) to the rental car. AMEX promptly paid for the repair for the vehicle. Still not resolved is the Diminished Value, Administrative fees and Loss of use charges. It does appear that I will ultimately pay @ $1400 for the uninsured fees. AMEX has been very responsive, and very prompt, I am however guilty of not reading all the fine print prior to my trip. Good news is despite an enormous language barrier in a small town, the Austrian police were extremely helpful, including driving us 35 km to the nearest train station so that we could return to Salzburg late Sunday evening!

Posted by
1064 posts

How does AmEx define Diminished Value? A lot seems to be riding on that definition.

Posted by
337 posts

Hi, I often get confused when reading some of the car rental posts I understand the extra daily CDW fees, but I isn't this going to reduce the excess from around €2,000 to nil. I read other posts some months ago advising not to rely on credit card insurgence arrangements. Added to that, my travel insurance already includes at least $3,000 excess, which can increase to $6,000. So should I need to take out the rental car company's additional CDW to be covered in the event of damage to have nil excess, if either my credit card has this or it's included in the travel insurance coverage?
Thanks all. Gerard

Posted by
9363 posts

Gerard, it sounds like you will just need the regular CDW, not the "super" (excess, which brings your deductible to 0) since your travel insurance will cover that. So, John, the super deal with Amex is going to leave you with about $1400 expense? You say you didn't read the fine print, but what could you have done differently, other than use the rental counter insurance? Or would the fine print have caused you to not rely on Amex?

Posted by
132 posts

AMEX does not define diminished value. The bill from the rental company itemizes 1)diminished value 2)loss of use and 3)administration fee. The AMEX policy excludes these items by name. Rental company has declined to provide any logs for loss of use, apparently not unusual.

Posted by
2916 posts

I have always relied on my VISA or MC credit card coverage and declined CDW. My one experience in trying to collect on a minor item (I blew a tire) was frustrating, but fortunately I've never had any real accidents. It sounds like the AMEX coverage is no different than other credit card coverages (which are free), except maybe AMEX is more prompt and willing to pay whatever is covered. I hope I never need to discover whether my CC insurance will actually be willing to pay anything significant.

Posted by
1549 posts

The premium Amex rental car insuranse does cover Loss of Use, but not diminished value. In addition, the insurance acts as your Primary insurance, not secondary. (more important for the US, not Euroope). So in the event you are in an accident, it won't affect your US car insurance rates.

Posted by
1064 posts

It all boils down to risk tolerance, like deductible on your auto insurance at home. Some people are comfortable with $1,000 deductible, others with $500 and others are willing to pay significantly more for zero deductible. Unlike the usual claims of dents and scratches that we hear so much about and which can also be expensive, diminished value claims seem to be rare and are in a gray area short of a totaled vehicle, which would be covered. Europcar, for instance, would want $200 above the AmEx Premium cost for a week's super CDW coverage on a VW Polo in Germany. So, if John had rented similar cars for a week eight times, he would be out $1,600; if seven times, he would still be out $1,400 but would have broken even. If the diminished value is much more than that on a small car, the company would have declared the car a total wreck and sought full reimbursement, which insurance would cover. Maybe I am missing something, but it still seems like a lot to pay for something that seldom happens.

Posted by
1064 posts

This thread has been around since January but I missed it the first time around, so this is one time I am thankful for someone resurrecting a thread. I wasn't aware of the diminished-value issue until this came up, but I did a google search and it seems to have been around for a while. I found a lot of good information in a flyer talk discussion a couple a years ago. That link is http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/avis/1157287-diminished-value-charges.html This issue puts Super CDW back into play, but I also did some cost comparisons, and, since SCDW almost doubles the price of the rental, it goes back out of play fairly quickly for me, at least for anything longer than a day or two. For the time being, at least, I plan to stick with AmEx Premium, but this is something they need to add to their coverage, even if the cost does go up a few dollars per rental.

Posted by
2876 posts

Important to remember is that if you DO have an accident, the rental company is going to deal with YOU, the renter. It will be up to you to sort things out with any 3rd-party coverage you might be using. Also, when you're comparing insurances, be sure you know the exclusions. Policy A might be cheaper than policy B, but it also might have more exclusions. Finally, if you're going to use 3rd party coverage, be sure you know their documentation requirements in case you do have to file a claim. These typically include police reports, detailed repair invoices, sometimes even photographs of the damage. Super CDW from the rental company is usually the most expensive coverage, but if bad things happen, it is also the most hassle-free. Only you can decide if the extra cost is worth it.

Posted by
850 posts

on my post in January concerning the AMEX premium coverage and resident of the states of Georgia, New Hampshire, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oklahoma. I was told at that time that those who were residents of the states mentioned were not eligible for the AMEX premium coverage. Could not get a clear answer as to why from either the state of Georgia or AMEX. I called AMEX again yesterday to see if anything had changed since then. I was told that only residents of the states of New Hampshire and Iowa were not eligible for the premium coverage. No answer as to what changed making the residents of the other four states now eligible but just wanted to pass along this to any residents of those states who may be interested in this coverage. Don't know if I was given some bad information in January or yesterday. I did speak with two different representatives on separate phone calls in January and was told the same thing so I would think the information I was given was correct and of course things could have changed since which made residents eligible for this coverage. Always worth checking with a phone call to AMEX before going if the premium coverage is something of interest.