Why I always use Amex Premium Rental Car Protection

Last Spring, I rented a car from Hertz from Palm Springs, CA to make the about 2-3 hour drive to Los Angeles. It was a one-way rental, and I anticipated the rental to be quick and easy. Unfortunately, it was not. I was involved in a hit and run accident while driving up, and had to exchange the car at a local Hertz office for a working car to continue the trip. Because the other drive was never found, I was responsible for the insurance coverage, though luckily because I had charged the rental to my Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card, they picked up the tab for my personal deductible and Hertz’s loss of use.

From that day forward, however, I’ve subscribed to American Express’s Premium Rental Car Protection – something that would have saved me reporting the accident to my insurance company that day, and probably several hundreds of dollars.

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For about $25, which is charged to your credit card automatically every time it recognizes a rental car charge, you’re covered for PRIMARY theft and damage. Please note that this does NOT cover you for any liability, so if you’re at fault for the accident, you’re responsible for the bill and insurance reporting for the damage you do to the other vehicle.

Here are the key features and coverage:

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So, I’m sure you’re wondering what the difference between this coverage is and what’s included with your American Express card already.

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Word to the wise: If you every purchase anything additional from Hertz (let’s say, for example, they charge you a separate charge of $15 to have a GPS in the vehicle, which is billed aside from your rental), you may be billed another $25 from Amex, since they thought you rented another vehicle. I’ve had this happen once, and the Amex agent I spoke with said the system isn’t smart enough to recognize a rental charge from a miscellaneous charge. If this happens to you, you can simply call Amex and they’ll remove the charge.

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I highly value this benefit from American Express, and for accidents for which I am not at fault, this can be a huge money saver.

Have you ever used the Premium Car Rental Protection from American Express?

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