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Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

Eugene, Oregon
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Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

**This is a repost of mine to save me time; please don't flag as spam.**

We had to make a claim on our last trip, the first time in many years of driving rental cars in Costa Rica (we visit at least annually). Basically you can sign up for free for Am Ex's "Premium Car Rental Coverage" program, then are charged $24.95 when a car rental is charged to your Am Ex - you must decline the CDW - giving you coverage for 42 consecutive days. It doesn't cover liability, but per their site covers:

-Up to $100,000 of primary coverage for damage or theft of a Rental Car.

-Up to $100,000 of Accidental Death or Dismemberment coverage ($250,000 for California Residents).***

-Up to $15,000 for excess medical expenses per person.

-Up to $5,000 for excess personal property coverage ($15,000 for Florida Residents).

Though we have used a variety of companies before and never had issues, I went ahead and researched on TripAdvisor who was currently recommended and who to avoid, and narrowed it down to the following companies (we ended up choosing Dollar):

Renting on 10/20/13 for 15 days:

-Dollar - Grand Vitarra Auto $590

-Vamos - Mitsubishi Sport $720 (after 20% discount)

-Wild Rider - Daihatsu BeGo $718

-Maphache - Daihatsu BeGo $718

-Service - Grand Vitarra $599

As for what happened... We were driving down the main freeway on the Pacific coast on 10/24/13, getting ready to make a left-hand turn onto the road to our rental property, when a semi-truck going the opposite direction spit up a large rock, which hit the windshield and cracked it. Unfortunately it was too big to do a crack repair and needed to be replaced completely.

Once we got to our rental property we looked up the process for filing a claim, which ended up being pretty easy. I called Am Ex (vs using the online form on their website) so I could ask some questions, and was given a claim number. The next day we visited the local police and asked them to fill out a report (per Am Ex's instructions); it was helpful have a Tico as a husband, because they thought we were a little crazy and he had to basically write out what we needed the "report" to say, which they then signed (that we came in to report the damage, our account of the event, etc). The gist of the issue is they don't do accident reports like here in the States; the reports they make are used for documenting accidents between cars, or when you are wanting to go after the other guy for the cost of repairs (which was impossible, given the situation), etc. It was actually a kind of funny - no letterhead, just a handwritten note by the officer with his name at the bottom. They did log it in their official logbook, but wouldn't let us take a picture of that (I did inform Am Ex that said logbook existed, should they want to call and verify). And of course we also called Dollar to notate our account.

Upon return of the car everything went smoothly. They have a document that estimates the cost for various repairs, and they gave us a copy to keep. They charged us for the car rental and for the estimated repair, the latter of which American Express said we could call in to "challenge" until the case was processed if we wanted to, but I'll admit I forgot to do so.

Anyway, we took pictures of everything - the windshield, the police report, the car registration, the rental agreement, the receipts, the estimate from Dollar - and uploaded it to Am Ex's site once back home. We received regular emails from Am Ex updating us on the status, and on 11/15/13 - less than a month later - we were notified of the credit to our account.

All in all an excellent experience, both from Dollar and from American Express. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend both to anyone.

Hope that helps everyone!

38 replies to this topic
boston, ma
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96 posts
22 reviews
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1. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

That's good to hear. I just bought the same insurance for $20. I rented a mini van on orbitz and when I got to economy rental car the said that my amex card didn't cover the Hyundai Starex van because it was greater than 8 passenger. Economy said they needed to to charge me an additional $15/day or $105 for the week. They said there was no choice in the matter. I kindly asked for the phone and called amex. They straightened out the rep at Economy right away and saved me $85.

Jay Villa Nube Nueve

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
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2,649 posts
32 reviews
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2. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

I am a little confused by your rental cost comparison. Naturally a large 4x4 like a Vitarra or Mitsubishi Sport would be more expensive than a Bego. Did the Dollar rate include insurance and other charges when you reached the counter? It seems a lot lower than the other prices. I would suspect that the Service price does not include insurance.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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47,168 posts
35 reviews
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3. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

With ECONOMY rent a car anything can happend and will happend...stay away from them...!

Some rent a cars will honor the AMEX extra covarage but some will no...be sure to ask first if they do...

Remember most rent a cars in Costa Rica run a in house kind of insurance they do not take any other insurance ...they make more money sometimes with the money they charge for insurance than the money they make renting a car...sad but true...greed the name of the game!

roadadvisor

Mountain View...
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137 posts
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4. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

Need some clarifications here. I know Costa Rica has a separate mandatory liability insurance and Amex has the regular CDW insurance with no cost. What is the advantage of this Premium Amex Rental Protection over the the regular CDW insurance? Thank you.

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
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5. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

The advantage is the money that you are saving. The main disadvantage is that you become the one responsible for making any claims and not the car rental operator should there be a need to make an insurance claim.

Nowhere
Destination Expert
for Playa Samara
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4,080 posts
80 reviews
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6. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

Sara - I think the question is what the PREMIUM version buys you over the regular CDW that is included with most US credit cards. Why spend another $25 for something that most credit cards cover anyway?

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
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7. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

Framptonian--I think you are right. I should have said 'I have no idea what the difference is int he insurance, but you should bear in mind that there is the advantage of the money that you are saving. However, the main disadvantage is that you become the one responsible for making any claims and not the car rental operator should there be a need to make an insurance claim.' Thanks for the push to clarify.

What is the difference between the CDW coverage options?

San Diego, CA
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159 posts
59 reviews
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8. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

I have been looking thoroughly at the differences between what is typically covered by credit cards and what Premium Amex covers. The main difference is that Amex premium covers SUV's and 4x4 where most credit cards don't cover a full size SUV. So if you renting an SUV or any vehicle you are going to take on gravel or dirt roads, it would be best to purchase the car rental CDW or buy a premium policy. It also covers excess medical coverage and accidental death or dismemberment coverage for drivers and passengers. Basic insurance usually only covers the drivers not the passengers.The Amex premium is $25.00 (or $18.00 for California residents) which may be worthwhile depending on the vehicle you are renting.

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3 posts
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9. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

The most important thing that no one has mentioned so far that the PREMIUM insurance becomes your PRIMARY insurance should the vehicle get damaged (collusion only on the vehicle, and not liability). This means you pay no deductible and in most cases your insurance premiums won't go up (assuming you have regular auto insurance) Amex takes care of everything, no claim is need on your auto insurance.

The REGULAR insurance that automatically comes for free on most Amex is a SECONDARY insurance. What does this mean? It means that if you have regular auto insurance and you damage the rental vehicle, your auto insurance will be your primary insurance and it will be responsible to pay the damages minus the your deductible. Meaning you will awe your deductible, but this is where Amex comes in. They pay your deductible. So you are still making a claim on your insurance just Amex will pay your deductible if its covered. Also it will only cover vechiles the are valued up 50k. So if you damage a vehicle that's worth more then 50k your not covered at all (Unless you have premium insurance through Amex). There's also vehicle restrictions mention already above in other posts.

If you have no primary auto insurance, or your insurance doesn't cover your claim. Amex may and should become your primary insurance and cover all damages.

How do I know? I've made a 10k + claim with AMEX. When my auto insurance at the time, rinky dinky Pronto Insurance, wouldn't pay a claim on my rental car, because of some shady endorsement in which they only cover rentals when my r is in the shop for repairs. Which my car was not, I merely rented a vehicle for a leisure road trip. So Pronto Insurance declined my claim, but Amex informed me once they were certain my claim wasn't covered by auto insurance at all, that they would move in as my primary insurance since I technically had no insurance coverage. And after about a year of going back forth (Amex and Enterprise) they came to agreement, and AMEX paid my claim! My rates never rose o. I will be with AMEX for life!!

Back to the premium auto insurance if you don't want to be responsible for paying your deductible or adding claims to your insurance history , the premium is the way to go.. If you have no insurance and are renting a car less than 50k you maybe best off just using the free regular coverage since then AMEX is automatically your primary then since you don't have one.

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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10. Re: Using American Express Premium Car Rental Protection

It really doesn't matter what AMEX covers or what they don't cover in the US if you are thinking of using it in Costa Rica.

The main thing to remember: If you use your credit card insurance for CDW and you are involved in an accident, you will be liable for any charges to repair the car and you can later put in a claim to AMEX. If you buy the CDW from the rental car agency, everything will be taken care of if you have an accident.

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