Q: I travel frequently and use rental cars on many trips. Will my American Express card cover rental insurance? What are the benefits of using Amex for insurance?

A: Yes. AMEX cards provide a type of rental car insurance called secondary insurance. This means that American Express will cover any damage to your rental vehicle that your primary insurance company does not cover, up to a certain amount. It may also help you cover your deductible. This benefit only extends to the person(s) named on the card, and will activate when you use your AMEX card. You will be covered for up to 30 days.

If offered rental insurance by the car company (and they may try to push this on you, as it makes them money), just decline. As long as you use your AMEX card with the same name that’s on your rental agreement, you’ll be covered. You can also upgrade to American Express’s premium car rental service, if you desire. The benefit of doing this is that American Express will become your primary insurer for the rental car, and you won’t have to file a claim with your insurance company, which means your insurance rates won’t go up. This premium service costs $24.95 per rental period, and covers you for up to 42 days (30 days if you live in the state of Washington).

If you want to know more about your rental coverage, check your cardmember agreement. Amount of coverage varies by your card, and excludes certain vehicles. Most cardmembers will be covered up to $50,000 ($75,000 for Platinum cardmembers), and most standard cars will be covered, but it’s always best to double check. Members can file a claim here.