Across all my cards (and my wife’s cards including CO-branded cards) AMEX has informed us that as of September 1st the car rental insurance provided when you pay for the rental with your AMEX card has improved.
What has changed? First, some of the vehicles that were excluded are now included. This matters because you may get an “upgrade” to some amazing exotic car but the problem is the retail price for the car is so much that your protection you thought you had is not in place. We need to read the T&C and not just assume folks!
Next up we have a number of countries what were excluded are now included. They are Ireland, Israel and Jamaica. This really is a BIG and important change because most of these can really soak you for forced added insurance. Do notice some countries are still excluded and they are Australia, Italy and New Zealand.
While these changes are nice they really do not go far enough for me. Over 4 years ago I wrote a series of posts about what card provides the best insurance option (Amex or Visa) and the advice still mostly is valid. Visa, and ideally a Visa that included primary coverage, is still the best choice for a normal every day rental. However, the AMEX changes do shake things up and now MUST be considered. Why?
The current Visa auto rental coverage (PDF file) does still exclude exotic cars. Amex “may” cover you (but be sure to call before you rent to confirm). Visa also excludes rentals in Ireland, Israel and Jamaica. So we can see, under certain circumstances, Amex now provides better coverage!
Bottom line these are positive changes from Amex and I hope Visa will follow them with similar improvements in coverage. – René
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