American Express Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance Coverage Changes (Effective September 1, 2017)

Good morning everyone, happy Sunday!  I was reviewing my recent American Express credit card statement and scrolled to the very end of my statement to see if there were any changes to my credit card terms or benefits.  American Express is making a few changes to their car rental loss and damage insurance benefits, most of them look like improvements to me, but some look like negative changes.  Full disclosure, I have never used the American Express car rental loss, damage insurance, purchase protection, or any of these card member benefits, so I am no expert here.  If you are familiar with those card member benefits, review the changes below to determine if these are improvements or not.  My comments will be in red text.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  Thank you.

Notice of Updates to the Additional Benefits of Your Card

  • We are making several updates to your card benefits on September 1, 2017. These benefits are provided to you as part of your Card Membership at no additional charge. Key updates are described in more detail below. If you would like more information about these updates or to receive a Description of Coverage, please visit to see benefits specific to your Card or call 1-800-854-9783 Monday-Friday 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday 9 am to 6 pm ET.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance* coverage

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance coverage will now apply to vehicles rented in Ireland, Israel and Jamaica. Consistent with your current benefit, coverage will not apply to vehicles rented in Australia, Italy, and New Zealand.
  • In addition to the vehicle types currently covered, eligible rental vehicles will now include certain types of full sized sport utility vehicles, exotic/expensive cars, full sized vans, trucks, pick-ups and cargo vans.

It is nice to see that 3 new countries are included in car rental loss coverage and that more vehicles are now covered.  I hope Australia, Italy, and New Zealand coverage comes soon, I’m not sure why those 3 countries are excluded.

Purchase Protection* coverage

  • In addition to your current coverage, Purchase Protection will now include incidents related to Natural Disasters with a maximum per occurrence limit of $500 per incident.

Hopefully you do not have to experience a natural disaster, but if you unfortunately do, you now have $500 in purchase protection coverage.  That seems really low especially for a major natural disaster.

Extended Warranty*+, Baggage Insurance Plan*+, Travel Accident Insurance*+, Purchase Protection*+ and Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance*+ coverage, as applicable to your Card.

  • We have updated several definitions and exclusions to clarify our claim administration process and the Description of Coverage. For example, your Baggage Insurance Plan is clarified to advise that medications, prosthetics, perishables, eyeglasses and hearing aids are ineligible for benefits. Similarly, certain exclusions are clarified to state that losses caused by civil disturbance, riot or participation in a felony are ineligible for benefits.
  • Additionally, we have clarified that benefits above and Return Protection will be applicable when you activate the benefit by using your Card to make a purchase.

These are negative changes, considering if your baggage is lost due to a civil disturbance or riot, you are not covered.  And if you had medications, prosthetics, eyeglasses, or hearing aids, those are not covered either.  Make sure to bring those items in your carryon bag instead of putting them in your checked bag.

Global Assist® Hotline service

  • Global Assist® Hotline will no longer provide the Destination Guide, an online resource for travel information. For more information please call 1-800-333-2639.

I’ve never used the Global Assist Hotline, but I’m sure some people liked to use the Destination Guide feature.

Here are the complete terms and conditions for the insurance policies:

*Insurance Coverages underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, Administrative Office, Phoenix, AZ. For residents of GU and MP, coverages are underwritten by Tokio Marine Pacific Insurance Limited, Hagatna, Guam under Policy Numbers CRCB000000107 for BIP, CRCB000000108 for CRLDI, CRCB000000109 for EW, CRCB000000110 for PP, and CRCB000000111 for TAI. This benefit is not available to residents of American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau and the US Minor Outlying Islands. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of the Policies (including Descriptions of Coverage) applicable to your Card and is subject to change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policies. AAC policy Numbers for EW Policy AX0953, Policy AX0953-PR, Policy AX0953-VI or Policy EW-IND; AAC policy Numbers for BIP Policy AX0400, Policy AX0400-PR, Policy AX0400-VI or Policy BIP-IND; AAC policy Numbers for TAI Policy AX0948, Policy AX0948-PR, Policy AX0948-VI or Policy TAI-IND; AAC policy Numbers for PP Policy AX0951, Policy AX0951-PR, Policy AX0951-VI or Policy PP-IND; AAC policy Numbers for CRLDI Policy AX0925, Policy AX0925-PR, Policy AX0925-VI or Policy CRLDI-IND.

+Travel Accident Insurance updates do not apply to residents of the state of Washington. In addition, all benefit coverage updates described above do not apply to residents of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.

There you have it, all the changes coming to American Express cards, effective September 1, 2017.  What do you think about the changes?  Are they mostly good or mostly bad?  Please share your thoughts below.  Have a great Sunday everyone!

12 thoughts on “American Express Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance Coverage Changes (Effective September 1, 2017)

  1. Kijo

    Thanks for pointing these changes out. I do wonder why Australia and New Zealand aren’t covered, though.

      1. rms

        Don’t know about Australia and NZ, but all rental car agencies in Italy seem to consider charging for damage as guaranteed revenue. They very carefully inspect each returned car and will attempt to charge for the slightest flaw (real or imagined) even if pre-existing. A racket.

    1. Grant Post author

      That would be my guess, but there are quite a few other countries that have cars on the other side of the road (UK, Ireland, St. Thomas, etc).

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  4. Jeepie

    Since I didn’t see mention of the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) being Primary in the US, I assume it remains Secondary. Therefore, one has to file the claim with their personal insurance carrier. This remains a non-starter to me, and I’ll continue to rent cars on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which offers Primary CDW at no cost.

    1. RalphT

      Agreed on the CDW not being primary. I’ll stick to my other cards.
      AU and NZ have a lot of roads you can access that are not paved. I suspect that they are harder on those vehicles in these countries.

      Same use to be with going on the road to Hana. In the old days you couldn’t go all around the island because it wasn’t paved.

  5. RP Martin

    Too bad about eyeglasses, but I do understand and expect contact lenses are also not covered.
    What disappoints me deeply is AmEx’s policy that when I’m abroad and my card is lost or stolen I should call collect the number on the back of my card. Apparently no one from AmEx has travelled widely enough to have been in a country from which placing a collect call to their number is difficult, if not impossible. I was in such a situation this spring and could not place a collect call from my hotel. Even the hotel’s manager was unable to do so. Now I wasn’t in a benighted village with grass huts but in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a very nice hotel with plenty of stars. I called direct, paying for the call myself. I was treated courteously and had only a short call.
    JPMorgan Chase and Bankof America replaced their stolen cards by sending new ones to me at the hotel. AmEx refused to do so unless we could speak by Skype so they could see me. We didn’t, and I am fortunate that AmEx cards are not widely accepted in Russia; hence no unauthorized charges. AmEx used to have an office in St. Petersburg, across the street from the Grand Hotel Europe, but it closed some years ago.
    Other than paying my hotel bill and charges at some quite expensive restaurants, I could use my AmEx card nowhere. Insofar as Russia, or at least St. Petersburg is concerned, AmEx is a card you can leave home without. Pity.

  6. RF

    Re: New Zealand
    I vaguely recall (was several years ago) that my rental from one of the big companies (Hertz) included loss & damage coverage in the rate and I couldn’t get the rate reduced by declining the coverage, even if you had a card with primary CDW, in my case JPM Palladium, that covered NZ. Looking at Hertz NZ website now, they say that “the insurance premium is included in the hire charge.”

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