One of the most valuable travel benefits you can get from a credit card is car rental insurance. Car rental insurance can save you money and provide peace of mind while renting a vehicle.
You’ll save money by not having to purchase the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage and you’ll be assured of having coverage for damage, theft, and loss of use when using your card to pay for the rental.
The American Express® Gold Card is a solid rewards-earning card that comes with complimentary car rental loss and damage insurance.
See how Amex Gold card car rental coverage works, additional options for securing premium coverage, some of the exclusions you’ll need to be aware of, and how to file a claim.
Amex Gold Card Snapshot
Before we discuss the Amex Gold card’s car rental insurance benefits, let’s look at an overview of the card, its benefits, rates, and fees.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card! (The current public offer is 60,000 points.)
Why We Like the Card Overall
We like that the card functions well as an everyday spending card with 4x Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets. The card also serves as a travel rewards card by earning 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline and at Amex Travel.
At redemption time, you’ll have several options including redeeming points for flights via Amex Travel or transferring points to hotel and airline partners for even greater potential value.
With a generous welcome offer and statement credits for select purchases, there’s plenty of value to be realized with the card.
Now, let’s look specifically at the card car rental insurance benefit, how it works, and additional coverage options.
What Is Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance?
When renting a vehicle, you need to select the level of insurance you want to have during the rental period. Some coverages are optional, while others are mandatory and vary by rental agency.
The car rental coverage that comes on your credit card, including the Amex Gold card, is meant to replace the collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW) coverage that you would normally need to purchase when renting a vehicle.
Car rental coverage that comes on a credit card is not meant to replace other coverages such as liability insurance. Fortunately, liability insurance is generally included in the rental agreement or is offered for a small fee.
There are 2 types of car rental coverages that are offered on credit cards: secondary or primary. Secondary coverage requires you to first file a claim with any other insurance that may be applicable before your card coverage kicks in. Primary coverage takes over immediately without having to first file a claim with other insurance.
Amex Gold Card — Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
The Amex Gold card comes with secondary car rental insurance with the option to purchase primary coverage for a flat fee per rental period. Here’s how both types of coverages work.
Standard Car Rental Coverage — What’s Covered
Here are the coverages you can expect to receive with the complimentary secondary car rental coverage that comes on the Amex Gold card:
- Car rental coverage for up to 30 consecutive days
- Up to $50,000 for damage or theft of the rental vehicle
- Coverage will be the lesser of the cost to repair the vehicle or the wholesale book value or purchase price (minus depreciation/salvage)
- Reasonable and customary charges for the rental vehicle’s loss of use
Coverage does not include liability insurance, uninsured motorists, under-insured motorists coverage, or disability.
Premium Car Rental Protection Coverage — What’s Covered
American Express Premium Protection offers elevated primary car rental coverage for a modest additional fee. You’ll pay just $12 to $24.95 total for coverage that lasts the entire rental period, up to 42 consecutive days.
Let’s compare this premium protection to the primary car rental coverage that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, a card known for having some of the best complimentary car rental insurance.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Amex Gold Card Premium Protection|
|Coverage||Complimentary||$12.25 to $24.95 per rental period, depending on state of residence and level of coverage chosen|
|Type of Insurance||Primary||Primary|
|Maximum Rental Period||31 consecutive days||42 consecutive days (30 days for Washington state residents)|
|Maximum Benefit||None stated, but certain high-value cars are specifically excluded||$100,000 per rental agreement|
|Medical Coverage||N/A||$15,000 secondary medical coverage per person and $100,000 accidental death/dismemberment coverage|
|Personal Property Coverage||N/A||$5,000 secondary coverage ($15,000 for Florida residents)|
|Examples of Excluded Vehicles||Antique cars, certain vans/trucks, limos, motorcycles, exotic and high value vehicles as listed: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Corvette, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lotus, Maserati, Maybach, McLaren, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Tesla||Cargo and custom vans, motorcycles, vehicles used for commercial purposes|
|Examples of Excluded Countries||No specific countries excluded, contact the benefits administrator for more information or to request a letter of coverage||Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand|
To add Premium Protection to your card, log in to your online card account and under the Rewards and Benefits tab, select Benefits. Under Benefits, select Premium Car Rental Protection to enroll your card. You will not be charged for the coverage until you use your card to rent a vehicle. Pricing will vary depending on your state of residence and the level of coverage you select.
Bottom Line: The Amex Gold card comes with complimentary secondary car rental insurance. For one low rate that covers the entire rental period (up to 42 consecutive days), you can have primary premium car rental coverage that compares with some of the best credit card car rental insurance available.
Requirements To Activate Coverage
To activate either the standard car rental coverage that comes with the Amex Gold card or Premium Protection, you must reserve and pay for the entire rental with your card. You can also use Membership Rewards points or a combination of your card and points and still have coverage.
You must then decline the CDW/LDW coverage that is offered by the rental agency. You can purchase liability coverage from the rental agency, however, as the coverage on the card does not cover liability.
Card members, spouse/domestic partners, and authorized drivers are covered under the car rental coverage offered by the Amex Gold card. The card member, spouse, or domestic partner must sign the rental agreement and any authorized drivers must be listed on the rental agreement in order to have coverage.
Hot Tip: There is no cost to add up to 5 authorized users to your Amex Gold card. Authorized users receive complimentary secondary car rental insurance when renting a vehicle and can also purchase Premium Protection.
What’s Not Covered
Here is just a sampling of events that are not covered by the standard secondary car rental coverage that comes with the Amex Gold card:
- Expenses covered by the renter’s personal insurance
- Illegal use, intoxication, drug use
- Off-road use, intentional damage
- Property damage or liability
- Theft of an unlocked vehicle
- Using the vehicle in violation of the terms of the rental agreement
- Vehicles in Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and any other country subject to sanctions by the Office of Foreign Assets Control
- War/acts of war
In addition, these types of vehicles are excluded from coverage:
- Cargo vans, custom vans, and vans that seat more than 8 people
- Cars 20 years old or more
- Limousines, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, RVs, golf carts, campers, trailers
- Trucks with a weight rating of over 10,000 pounds
- Vehicles used for commercial purposes
Please note that these exclusion descriptions are abbreviated and the list is not inclusive of all events and vehicle types for which coverage is not provided. Additional information can be found in the Amex Gold card’s Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan Documents.
Filing a Claim
You’ll want to report any incident as soon as possible after it happens, but no longer than 30 days past the event. You’ll then have 60 days to provide the required supporting documentation.
You can submit a claim online at americanexpress.com/protectionbenefits to complete a claim form, call 800-338-1670 from the U.S., or call 303-273-6497 collect if outside of the U.S. You’ll be asked to provide proof of the loss with some or all of the following documents.
- Itemized repair bill
- Copy of the rental agreement
- Copy of the charge slip showing the car rental charge
- Copy of any other applicable car insurance or a notarized statement stating no insurance
- Copy of your driver’s license
- Copy of the police report, if applicable
- Other supporting documentation that may be requested
It can also be useful to have photos of the damage.
Everything Else You Need To Know
The Plan Documents for standard secondary car rental coverage that comes complimentary on the Amex Gold card state that no coverage is provided for vehicles rented from “companies that offer vehicle sharing or peer to peer arrangements which allow independent owners to rent personal vehicles.”
There is no deductible for the coverage that comes with the card.
When traveling outside of your country of residence, it’s always good to request a letter of coverage via the claims administrator to present to the rental agency to show proof of coverage when renting a vehicle.
Additional Car Rental and Travel Insurance Benefits
Be sure to take advantage of these car rental company benefits for American Express cardholders, including the Amex Gold card:
- Hertz — Receive a 10% discount on Hertz rentals worldwide and a 1-car upgrade on rentals of 5 days or more. Use code 705500.
- Avis — Receive Avis benefits of up to 15% off your rental and a 1-car upgrade voucher.
- National Car Rental — Receive National benefits such as an automatic upgrade to Emerald Club Executive status, up to a 25% discount on your rental, and associated benefits.
Before renting a vehicle from any car rental company, be sure to ask about American Express-related discounts and perks.
The Amex Gold card also comes with these additional complimentary travel insurance benefits:
- Trip Delay Insurance — If a trip that is paid for with your card is delayed for more than 12 hours for a covered reason, you could receive up to $500 per person.
- Baggage Insurance Plan — If your luggage is lost or stolen, you could receive up to $1,250 per person for carry-on luggage and up to $500 for checked.
- Global Assist Hotline — Get help 24/7, when traveling more than 100 miles from home, for medical, legal, financial, or emergency assistance services, passport replacement, and more. The cardholder is responsible for actual services received from the service provider.
Many credit cards come with secondary car rental coverage, but American Express cards, including the Amex Gold card, have the option to purchase a Premium Protection package. The cost is minimal and covers the entire rental period, so it makes sense to take advantage of this option.
You’ll also have coverage for up to 42 consecutive days versus 31 days with most other credit cards.
To learn more about the best credit cards for car rental insurance, you’ll want to read our additional article on this topic.
For the car rental collision damage coverage benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, car rental loss and damage insurance can provide coverage up to $50,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the commercial car rental company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions apply. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car rental loss or damage coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. For the trip delay insurance benefits of the American Express® Gold Card, up to $300 per covered trip that is delayed for more than 12 hours; and 2 claims per eligible card per 12 consecutive month period. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. For the baggage insurance plan benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, baggage insurance plan coverage can be in effect for covered persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen baggage during their travel on a common carrier vehicle (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus) when the entire fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an eligible account. Coverage can be provided for up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the common carrier (e.g. plane, train, ship, or bus). For New York State residents, there is a $10,000 aggregate maximum limit for all covered persons per covered trip. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. For the Global Assist Hotline benefit of the American Express® Gold Card, you can rely on Global Assist Hotline 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for medical, legal, financial or other select emergency coordination and assistance services while traveling more than 100 miles away from your home. Third-party service costs may be your responsibility. Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Card Members are responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
For the rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, click here.