Last Updated on December 27, 2023 by Kristin

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Do you have an American Express card in your wallet? If so, you may have heard about a service called Premium Car Rental Protection. If you’re wondering what this service provides and how it differs from your standard American Express benefits, don’t worry. We have the lowdown on what Amex Premium Rental Car Protection offers. 

What Is Amex Premium Car Rental Protection?

American Express Premium Car Rental Protection is a paid, optional service for cardholders that can save significant bucks. The service offers primary coverage for damage or theft during your rental car reservation. So if you pay for a rental car with your Amex card and then get in an accident, you can use this coverage to file a claim. That’s great if you don’t want to rely on your personal auto insurance or buy the pricey coverage from the rental car company. 

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The over-the-counter collision insurance from the car rental company cost $20 or more per day of your rental. With Amex Premium Car Rental Protection, you would pay about that much for your entire rental period.

The big advantage of American Express Premium Car Rental Protection is that it’s a one-time cost for the entire rental period, so you won’t rack up huge daily charges for longer reservations. Plus, there is no deductible. Eligible cardholders must first enroll to use the service. Then be sure to use the same card to pay for the rental.  

What Does It Cover?

American Express Premium Car Rental Protection offers two levels of coverage. The more expensive option covers up to $100,000 for theft or damage. It has the the same limit for accidental death and dismemberment coverage. This option also provides secondary coverage of up to $15,000 for medical expenses and $5,000 for personal property. Liability coverage is not included.

You can use Premium Car Rental Protection anywhere in the world, with the exception of a few countries: Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand. 

What Does it Cost?

American Express Premium Car Rental Protection can be relatively affordable, especially when compared with buying the rental company’s collision coverage. Instead of worrying about daily charges, you’ll pay a one-time fee for the entire rental period up to 42 days (or 30 days for Washington State residents). The final price of the service depends on which of the two coverage options you choose, as well as which state you call home. 

States excluding Florida and California: Premium Car Rental Protection costs $19.95 or $24.95 for the entire rental period, depending on coverage level.

Florida: The service costs $12.25 or $15.25 for the rental period.

California: The service costs $15.95 or $17.95 for the rental period.

Premium vs. Standard Protection 

Certain American Express cards already offer car rental benefits without enrolling in the Premium Car Rental Protection option, but the coverage is significantly more limited.

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The biggest difference is that most American Express cards offer secondary coverage, so you would have to go through your auto insurance first. The Premium Car Rental Protection option also provides higher coverage levels than the typical American Express cards. It also has a longer coverage period than the secondary coverage limit of 30 days. 

Do I Need Amex Premium Protection?

So, should you enroll in Premium Car Rental Protection before your next trip? The answer depends on your personal situation. If you are already an American Express cardholder without a personal auto insurance policy, enrolling in the service is a solid option and likely cheaper than coverage provided by the rental car company. However, the expense may be unnecessary if you can rely on their personal auto insurance policy or if you have primary coverage through the Chase Sapphire Reserve or another premium credit card