Credit, Insurance, Personal Finance 

American Express Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan

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While in Lake Tahoe, I’ll be renting a car for about a week and the usual Collision Damage Waiver (insurance) cost approximately $15/day and they’re generally regarded as a waste of money because most credit cards will cover you as a secondary insurance (your primary auto insurance comes first). I saw that my Costco American Express TrueEarnings card has a Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance policy as a free benefit for all cardholders but was concerned at the fine print: “Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0925 and is subject to change with notice.” Try to find Policy AX0925 anywhere online… guaranteed you won’t. (don’t bother, I asked a CSR and he said it’s not online anywhere).

I called them up and got a full explanation of both their standard car rental loss and damage insurance, free for all TrueEarnings card members, and their premium car rental loss and damage insurance, which has a $24.95 fee per car rental.

Essentially the standard coverage is identical to the car rental agency’s Collision Damage Waiver, which covers any damage or loss to the vehicle (not your items inside!). Some highlights:

  • It has no deductible
  • Covers you for a rental period of up to 30 consecutive days.
  • It will cover you worldwide except Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland and Jamaica.
  • It does not have liability coverage, but your primary auto insurance will have that.
  • It also does not cover fifteen passenger vans, pickup trucks, large SUVs, and vehicles over $50,000 in value.
  • Finally, it’s a secondary insurance so your primary insurance picks up the tab and it will cover what your primary insurance does not.

What does the Premium Car Rental Protection cover?

  • The policy becomes your primary insurance policy for your rental period.
  • It also covers some liability, loss or theft of items inside the vehicle,
  • some death and dismemberment,
  • and a handful of other ancillary insurance items.

All you do is enroll in the program, which is free, and you are charged $24.95 each time you rent a car. There is no cost to join or cancel.

The basic program is pretty good because it basically replaces comprehensive and collision insurance, which I don’t carry, and my liability insurance, which would be first anyway, covers the liability portion it does not cover. For a mere $25, I can get primary coverage for nearly everything (and some) which comes out to approximately $3+ per day.

I reached a CSR by calling 800-338-1670.

{ 124 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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124 Responses to “American Express Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Plan”

  1. steve says:

    Some Corporate Amex cards have this attached and available for both personal and business use for $3 per day, per rental. It’s pretty good coverage.

  2. Jonathan says:

    So did you buy it for $25?

  3. jim says:

    Not yet but with Avis you don’t need a credit card to have a reservation (that makes me kind of nervous) so I won’t have to decide until right before I rent the car.

  4. Bob says:

    the Amex program works in Portugal. If you have to put a deposit down, they will reimburse if there is a problem. How much is the insurance coverage in Portugal?

  5. Steve says:

    Hey Jim,

    First time visitor here. Thank you for the clarification on AX0925. I wonder why Amex is so vague about this coverage, I was told it was added to my cards some time ago but never recieved any specifics on the coverage.

  6. chan says:


    Thanks so much for posting this information!

    I had a few questions -> I don’t have a primary auto insurance, so how do i go about liability coverage when i’m using my Amex (since they do not cover L coverage)

    also how did u pay the $25? Like do u need to pay online or buy coverage over the phone?

  7. jim says:

    chan – You just need to call up AMEX and tell them you want this coverage, when they see a car rental charge then they’ll tack on a $25 charge. I did not end up getting this insurance.

    As for liability, you’ll just have to get the insurance from the rental company.

  8. Roger Bohl says:

    According to AX, this is not available with “co-branded” cards, such as Costco. Also, there is some exclusion for CA and NY residents.

  9. KCTravel says:

    I have no personal auto insurance, and tried to sign up for this policy with AMEX. When I contacted AMEX, they said their premium car rental policy (24.95 per car rental) is not available to residents of California and New York. Something to do with state regulations, which I’m still trying to figure out.

  10. Sriram says:

    In an unlikely event of an accident (and assuming I opted for 25$ premium protection), what are the chances of my insurance premium going up for my current auto insurance the next time I renew it?

  11. jim says:

    I would imagine 0% chance if your insurance company never learned of it.

  12. David says:

    FYI, The damage collision waiver offered by a rental car company varies. Some waivers serve as PRIMARY coverage, meaning that there would be no need to file a claim with your insurance agency in the event that your rental sustains damage (and thus no risk of an increased premium). This begs the question of whether AX becomes primary if one doesn’t have any primary insurance to begin with. It also means that one/two-day (depending on prices in each state) rentals would be less expensive if one were to opt for a primary damage waiver and PAI than the $24.95 flat fee.

  13. Richard says:

    I use the premium coverage for personal car rentals. So far is has been worth it. I had a rock hit the windshield on a rental from Budget, and AX settled the issue without a problem. However, I had that same incident with a rental from Thrifty and things were different. Thrifty uses a debt collection agency to handle the billing. I got several letters from AX stating that they had not received documentation from Thrifty and the collection agency sent me letters requesting full payment. AX finally got it settled, but thrifty charged me a LOSS OF USE FEE which is not covered by the AX premium coverage. AX should put non-covered items in thier description of coverage. I am happy with the AX coverage, but not happy with Thrifty.

  14. Chris says:

    What amount did they charge you for the “loss of use” fee? Also, AMEX’s premium car rental protection is indeed not offered in CA but as far as I know it IS offered in NY.

  15. jim says:

    While I didn’t opt for the coverage, I believe $24.95 covers everything.

  16. Bobi says:

    Is it possible to get CDW insurance through american express card which not issued in US?

  17. Matt says:

    googled “policy ax0925”. It came right up, along with this site. FYI

  18. JennyT says:

    I do not have my own car and therefore no ‘primary’ auto insurance. What is liability coverage anyway? Is that insurance coverage to protect you from claims from OTHER CAR DRIVERS???

  19. Lori says:

    I have recently enrolled in the Amex premium rental car insurance program. The reason I enrolled is because in some states, such as Nevada, rental car companies charge a loss of use fee that most car insurance does not cover. When enrolling in the Amex premium rental car insurance program, I specifically asked the question, does this insurance cover loss of use, and I was told yes. Of course the paper work that was sent to me included specific verbage, but the easy answer from Amex was yes, I would be covered.

    So, cut to a rental car in Las Vegas, cab driver runs into me, completey his fault, he is cited at the accident scene by the police officer. I bring a damaged car back to Thrifty. I call Amex regarding the accident. When reporting the claim to Amex you need to have several pieces of documentation with you, the accident report you will receive from the police officer, the registration and insurance paperwork of the vehicle. Typically this will be in the glove compartment of the rental vehicle.

    So, for a while everything seems fine. I log into the claim website once a week to make sure the claim is progressing. I eventually receive a letter from Amex stating that they have paid approximately $1400.00 in damage to Thrifty and the claim is closed. I thought, cool, problem solved, fairly painless, I would definitely recommend the Amex premium car rental insurance to everyone I know. Not so fast… 🙁

    A couple of days later I received a phone call from Thrifty. I owen over $300.00 in loss of use and administrative fees. Amex won’t pay thrifty. I call Amex. Thrifty will not supply a fleet log to Amex to prove that they were at least 85% utilized during that time period and will not supply a break down of the administrative fees.

    I am stuck in the middle. Thrift says that never supply that information and Amex knows it. Amex says they will not pay the claim of the $300.00 to Thrifty without that information. Thrifty threatens me will sending the bill to collections if I do not pay right now. I told Thifty to hold on, how can you threaten collections when this if the first that I have heard of this outstanding balance. So now Thrifty is sending me a bill, but Amex will not pay it.

    So I have mixed emotions. I originally signed up for the Amex program specifically for loss of use. Amex did pay for the damage, but not the loss of use.

    Perhaps in the future I will need to ask Amex, which rental agencies actually do supply the paperwork they require.

    Has anyone else been in this circumstance? Is there anything I can do to make Thrifty supply the paperwork, Amex pay the claim?


    • Scott says:

      I got hit by another vehicle while driving a Thrifty rental car in LA about 2 yrs ago. Because the other vehicle had insurance coverage (as would be the cae ofthe cab driver in Vegas), the other driver was repsonsible for the Loss of Use and Admin part of Thrifty’s claims. My vehicle insurance carrier (Chubb) did all the negotiation for me with Thrifty. So, my advice is to go ahead and let your insurance company dela with it; if the accident was not your fault, and the other driver was coavred, there will be no impact on your future premiums.

      As for Thrifty, Hertz, et al, soaking consumers for Loss of Use and Admin, it is a ripoff. i would recommend that whenever you rent, if you don’t have the superior, Premium coverage, you find the Loss of Use and Admin clauses in the rental contract, strike them out, initial the strikeouts, and make the agent initial the same changes, or you go to the next rental car counter. If you are a repeat customer, they will make an effort to retain your business.

    • Anonymous says:

      Had exactly the same experience with the administrative fees and loos of use with Hertz. Amex refused to pay w/o documentation and Hertz refused to provide it. Seems like a rip off all the way around.

  20. weave says:

    I filed a claim under this premium rental program as well. Good news, my insurance company never heard about the incident and Amex paid for all the damages. The bad news is I got nailed with loss of use and $160 administrative fee (by Hertz). Amex would not pay that for me either, unless I could get the rental company to prove they had more than 85% of their fleet rented during that time and the costs to process the accident were not their normal cost of doing business.

  21. Kevin says:

    Funny enough, I am fighting Thrifty with the same Loss of Use fee. I’m using a MasterCard though. Seems that Thrifty likes to not provide a fleet log. This may end up in collections, because I refuse to pay the $250 dollars that Thrifty wants.

    I’m currently working my way up their CSR chain. The first guy I spoke with told me that he didn’t have a supervisor. I called the main support line and managed to get a supervisor’s name and extension. Now I’m calling her ever 15 minutes (after leaving an initial message) hoping she’ll answer.

    My vote is to NEVER do business with Thrifty again.

    • Diana says:

      I’d like to hear how your situation was resolved. I’m in the same boat with AmEx and Thrifty. I will definitely never rent from Thrifty again, but I’m actually more PO’d at AmEx–I bought this premium coverage specifically for the LDW coverage and yet they know that 90% of rental car companies are not required to nor are willing to supply it. As a consumer who does a ton of due dilligence, how could I know that that most rental car companies don’t supply fleet utilization logs, info that AmEx CLEARLY had to know. This seems like a misleading business practice from the start.

  22. mark hill says:

    below is a quote from AMEX’s pdf on their CDW insurance and it says they don’t cover Loss of Use.

    Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance does not cover, and benefits will not be paid for:
    • sales tax related to repair of damages, unless reimbursement of such sales tax is required by law;
    • damage to any vehicle other than the Rental Auto;
    • damage to any property other than the Rental Auto, owner’s property, or items not permanently attached to the Rental Auto;
    • the Injury of anyone or anything;
    • expenses assumed, waived or paid for by the Rental Company or its insurer;
    • expenses covered by the Cardmember’s personal auto insurer, employer or employer’s insurer, or authorized driver’s insurer;
    • value added tax or similar tax, unless reimbursement of such tax is required by law;
    • loss of use fees imposed by the Rental Company;
    • diminishment of value;
    • any Rental Auto used for hire or commercial purposes; and
    • depreciation, unless reimbursement for depreciation is required by law.

  23. Lori says:

    Not sure if I have this correct, but in response to Mark’s comment about Amex PDF stating that loss of use is not covered…

    I believe there is a difference between the car rental insurance and the premium car rental insurance supplied by Amex, $19.95 for car rental insurance, $24.95 for premium car rental insurance. The premium car rental insurance supposedly does cover loss of use.

    Again, I may be incorrect, but it was the reason I chose the premium level to specifically cover loss of use.

  24. BlogBlog says:

    Had the same problem with AmEx and Budget Rent a Car. Many credit cards say they will cover Loss of Use and Admin Fees IF the rental car company provide sproof. The rental car companies NEVER provide proof and the credit card companies know this. The credit card companies get to advertise benefits that they never have to pay out for and the car rental companies pocket extra cash because they figure they will never have to go to court on these small claims of $200 to $2000 for LOU and fees. Of course they would have to provide the proof (in most cases they wouldn’t be able to prove LOS and no court has ever awarded admin fees in regards to a car accident) in court if they were issued a subpoena, but who has the time to return to the place where you rented the car and go to small claims court. These scammers should be reported to the Department of Insurance in the appropriate states.

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