Have you ever read the details of your American Express Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance provided by your credit card?

I have summarized important details as you evaluate whether you need to purchase car rental insurance directly from the rental car company or you can rely on your Amercian Express card.

The following credit cards have American Express Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance:

 

Other insurance benefits information for being an American Express card holder is available here:

 

For other credit card issuers, information about their car rental policy is available here:

 

The information listed below is my interpretation of the insurance policy.

Coverage Eligibility

For all credit cards, the following conditions apply prior to using your credit card car rental insurance:

  1. You must use the credit card to reserve the rental car vehicle with the rental agency.
  2. You must use the credit card to pay for the entire rental from the rental agency.
  3. You must decline the rental agency’s damage waiver coverage.
  4. Coverage will be extended if you use the credit card rewards to pay for your car rental. If the credit card reward will not cover the full amount, then any remaining amount must be put on your American Express credit card. For American Express, this will be using Membership Reward Points, Aeroplan Points or Marriott Bonvoy Points, depending on the card.
  5. Coverage will be extended if the car rental is part of a prepaid travel package, and the travel package was paid in full on your credit card.
  6. Coverage will be extended for free rentals as a result of a promotion where you had to make previous vehicle rentals, provided, if all previous rentals were paid entirely with your credit card.
  7. You will be covered for any rentals up to 48 consecutive days.

Coverage is also extended to all additional drivers who legally drive the rental vehicle and who follow all the terms of the rental contract, regardless if they are listed in the rental contract.

Vehicles Covered

All vehicles that are used to transport a maximum of 8 people, including the driver. The vehicle must also:

  • Exotic brands are not covered. However, luxury brands, such as BMW, or Mercedez Benz are covered, or,
  • Replacement vehicle for which your personal automobile insurance is covering all or part of the cost of the rental, or,
  • Pick-up trucks are not included.

Even though luxury brands are covered, the maximum manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for the vehicle will differ depending on the credit card.

  • American Express credit cards have a maximum MSRP of C$85,000.

A few additional notes that apply specifically to American Express:

  • Car sharing programs are not explicitly called out as being covered by American Express.
  • Turo or Turo like services are not explicitly called out as being covered by American Express. If you are renting a vehicle from Turo, I would recommend purchasing rental car insurance directly from the platform.

There are more conditions, most of which are irrelevant, that are listed in the certificate of insurance.

What is not covered?

The following are not covered when using the American Express Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance:

  • Third party liability, or,
  • Personal injury or damage to property, other than the rental vehicle.

There are more conditions, most of which are irrelevant, that are listed in the certificate of insurance.

Additional Drivers

All additional drivers that are qualified to drive under the rental agreement will be covered, regardless if they are listed on the rental agreement. This is slightly different from being listed on the rental agreement, because, many car rental agencies offer to allow the spouse to be added as an additional driver for no added cost. However, if you want to list them on the rental agreement, the car rental agency might charge you a per day fee.

Claims Information

If there is an accident with the rental vehicle or the rental vehicle is vandalized, you must obtain a police report. If a police report is not legally required in the jurisdiction in which the loss or damage occurred, you must provide the name, badge number and division address of the police officer you contacted.

All claims must be made within 48 hours of the loss or damage occurring by calling +1-800-243-0198, or +1-905-475-4822 (Collect Call).

Conclusion

American Express has one of the generous car rental insurance policy, covering vehicles with an MSRP of C$85,000. However, they have no mention about car sharing services, either commercial or private car sharing services like Turo.