Q: While booking my car rental I was offered rental car insurance. However I was planning on paying with my American Express card and was wondering if there is anything that AMEX doesn’t cover that I would need the other card rental insurance plan for.

A: If you have an American Express card, I would recommend not to get separate rental car insurance, since American Express already provides you with it. Why pay extra for something you already have? All American Express cards provide you with secondary rental insurance. Secondary rental insurance means that your primary insurer (such as GEICO) will pay out first, then whatever they won’t cover, American Express will cover, up to a certain amount. They may even help you cover the deductible for your primary insurance.

American Express will cover you up to $50,000 for certain cards such as Green and Gold cards, and up to $75,000 for elite cards such as AMEX Platinum and Centurion. There is no deductible for this insurance, so if the damage to your rental car is under the cap, you shouldn’t have to pay anything. The main cardholder and any other users listed as “Additional Cardmembers” are covered, but they must rent the car in their name using their AMEX card.


There are some exceptions, such as cargo vans, pick up trucks, and large SUVs, as well as in certain countries (Australia, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Israel, and Jamaica), so read the fine print that you got when you signed up for the card, or call American Express to find out the details.

If you want American Express to be your primary insurance instead of secondary insurance, you can purchase the Premium Car Rental Protection. You will receive $100,000 in coverage, and your regular car insurance rate won’t go up if you get into an accident. This costs $24.95 per rental period, and gives you up to 42 days of coverage.