When you rent a car outside the U.S. and Canada, it's always worth checking to see if your credit card benefits include rental car insurance in the country you are visiting. In September 2017, American Express made some policy changes that are good news for cardholders renting in three popular destinations.
Amex cardholders are now insured in more countries and when renting more vehicle types. In an age when program "enhancements" are too often a euphemism for bad news, we applaud American Express for adding value for its cardholders.
CDW / LDW is Included for Ireland, Israel and Jamaica
The biggest change American Express made in 2017 is that car rental collision and loss coverage (CDW / LDW) now applies to vehicles rented in Ireland, Israel and Jamaica.
Ireland, Israel and Jamaica are three countries often excluded from many credit card policies, so the value here is significant. These are countries where you routinely get the hard sell at the rental counter when it comes to insurance, even if your credit card covers you for damage to the vehicle. Sometimes rental car agents will still refuse to waive the insurance requirement unless you can provide written proof that your card does, in fact, cover you when renting in that country.
If that happens to you, show them the American Express benefits guide.
CDW / LDW is Not Included for Italy, Australia and New Zealand
American Express rental car coverage still does not extend to three key countries: Italy, Australia, and New Zealand—but this is a moot point for Italy.
In Italy, collision and theft insurance is included by law on all car rentals as a default. Car rental quotes automatically include coverage and there is no option to remove it. Typically, in order for your credit card coverage to take effect, you'd need to decline the coverage provided by the car rental company, In the case of rentals in Italy, you don't have the option to decline this coverage. Bottom line is that there's no need for Amex to include insurance in Italy since everyone is insured by default automatically.
If you're renting a car in Australia or New Zealand, you'll need to use a premium card that covers you or pony up for the insurance provided by the car rental company, which can sometimes be more than the base rental cost itself.
How Different American Express Cards Compare for Travel Benefits
Not all Amex cards are created equal. To know what travel benefits your card includes, check out its policy:
- American Express Gold Card Travel Benefits
- American Express Platinum Card Travel Benefits
- American Express All Other Travel Cards: Click on your card and then the "travel" tab.
What Else to Know About American Express Rental Car Insurance
Deciding which category of car to rent? Amex now covers all vehicles up to a maximum limit of $50,000 with the exception of vans more than 8 passengers.
But be careful. Amex cardholders are still not covered for a long list of vehicles, including expensive cars costing $50,000 or more, exotic cars regardless of value, trucks, pickups, cargo vans, full-sized vans, and full-sized SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe, Ford Expedition and GMC Suburban.
Be sure to know whether your rental car coverage extends to the vehicle you are renting before you drive off the rental lot. You don't want to be unprotected if driving one of these vehicles.