Amex Platinum insurance pays me again – this time for car hire

Last August, I wrote a piece about how American Express Platinum travel insurance had paid out for a medical bill we incurred in Singapore.  This was the third time that Amex had paid me over the years – and on every occasion I had failed to follow the rules about what to do if you need medical attention.

I wrote in that article that:

“I can’t remember ever hearing of someone who was given a hard time by them over a claim”

Predictably, a number of Head for Points readers then came forward to say that, in fact, AXA had given them a very hard time processing a claim on their Platinum Card insurance!

Amex Platinum

Just after New Year, I needed to make a claim on the car hire part of the insurance.  To spoil the suspense, I will tell you that AXA / Amex agreed my claim very quickly and the full sum is now in my bank account.

First, some background.

Amex made some nasty changes to the insurance on the Platinum card in January 2012.  What was comprehensive, no-worries cover became a bit of a game, with flights and hotel required to have been paid on an Amex card in order to qualify for some of the smaller benefits.  The upper age limit dropped from 80 to 70 which meant that my Mum’s supplementary card on my account was now useless.

(It is worth noting that Amex never changed the insurance on the Business Platinum charge card.  This has an identical annual fee and very similar benefits.  If you value the travel insurance benefits of Platinum and have your own business, you may want to consider switching to Business Platinum.)

The car hire part of the insurance has no restrictions, however.  The insurance brochure is very clear – you can ignore anything that the car hire company tries to sell you.  Irrespective of how you pay for your rental, you are covered.

Just after New Year, we hired a car for three days to head out to a countryside hotel as the kids were not due back in school until 6th January.

When the car was returned, Hertz claimed that there was a scratch to the alloys on one of the wheels.  This was true.  Whether it was there originally or not is a different question – I do not check rental cars to that level of detail and the car was picked up from the windowless basement of a multi-storey carpark – but to be fair to Hertz this would not be atypical of the way I drive ….

(On the other hand, this was the same branch of Hertz where an employee asked me for a £50 bribe or he would claim that some old damage on the car, not on the original report, was fresh.  He doesn’t work for Hertz any more.)

I was fairly convinced Amex would pay so I dropped into ‘couldn’t give a ****’ mode.  This was quite amusing, at least for me, as the staff clearly expected me to put up a big fight and could not understand why I signed off everything they gave me without comment, negotiation, complaint or question.

Finding the online claim form for car insurance damage was tricky.  However, once I had tracked it down, it was easy to fill in the details.  The only annoying aspect was that Amex wanted a copy of my driving licence.  One trip to Ryman later and I had a little package for the post box consisting of the claim form (printed from the website), the Hertz bill, the rental agreement and my licence.

I didn’t hear anything for a couple of weeks, until I received an email saying that my claim (£103) would be met in full.  The money turned up about 10 days later.

Overall, the claims process was very smooth and went off without a glitch.  AXA accepted my claim without question (although it would be hard to deny a claim, given the wording of the policy) and paid promptly.

The moral of the story?  The Amex Platinum car hire insurance does what it promises it will do.  Which, in the world of insurance, is not always the case ….

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  1. I didn’t know you could buy a driving licence from Ryman’s :)

  2. Does the additional cardholder also get full cover? Do they get exactly all the benefits as the primary cardholder?


  3. I have a US AMEX Plat and always assumed that charges (car or flight or…) needed to be charged on the card for the insurance to be valid. Am I wrong here? If so, I am missing out on some bonuses by using AMEX all of the time!

    • The following benefits are dependent on use of the Card:
      • Cancelling, Postponing and Abandoning your Trip;
      • Cutting Short Your Trip;
      • Travel Inconvenience;
      • Personal Belongings, Money and Travel Documents;
      • Purchase Protection;
      • Refund Protection;

      I take this as you must book with the actual Platinum card. But Raffles says any personal Amex card can be used.

      • Definitions-
        “Card” means any card or other Account access device issued to a
        Cardmember (or a Supplementary Cardmember) for the purpose
        of accessing the Account.

        “Account” or “Card Account” means your consumer and small
        business cards issued by American Express in the UK, excluding
        corporate cards and any American Express Cards issued by bank

        Its spurious to me – other account implies any UK issued personal Amex. But it also says any card issued to access your account. Which would exclude any other Amex you have.

        Who am I to question Raffles though!?

      • Look at the definition of ‘Card’ …

        • One assumes the insurance, and hence cover is terminated if you cancel the plat. So for churners, if you book on a plat, take out a gold, and cancel the plat, you don’t have cover.

  4. OT/ who bags the Avios for spend on the ba Amex supplementary card, the main cardholder or the supplementary card holder?

  5. Good to hear successful claims without much issue. I’ve had the opposite on 2 occasions. My Supp cardholders (parents in their late 60s and sister in law) had to make a claim each and on both occasions, Axa made life horrible. They paid out after 3 months of silence and then some communication and then more silence. And then asking for documents upon documents and verifications from airlines. I’m a Centurion IDC member and so would have thought that the claim experience should have been at least as good as any platinum member. Time to switch cards perhaps!

    • Lady London says:

      I actively avoid policies of any type underwritten by AXA. Anecdotal experience about difficulty with claims made me stop insuring with Amex as I regularly had, as soon as I saw their policy had transfered to them.

  6. pointsarb says:

    +1 for Europcar rentals. Got an Audi A4 estate for £80 odd quid one way from MAN airport to Hertfordshire. I thought that was a pretty good deal so will be using them more from now on!

    Also, for gadget insurance (amongst several other things inc car breakdown and worldwide family travel insurance) bundled with a current account folks should take a look at the Nationwide flexplus account at £10/month. Its’ a relative bargain for what it includes?!

  7. I’m sorry to be an ‘off subjector’, but I’m hoping that community can offer some advice. I’m planning to fly to KL/SING this summer. I can fly with Lufthansa premium economy from FRA for the same as BA economy from Heathrow. My plan was to use a RFS to get to FRA. I just wondered whether people thought this was ill advised and too risky, or if not, what kind of a buffer time I should arrange between arrival and departure. Sorry again for disrupting the thread and thanks in advance.

    • fly both legs with Lufthansa to guarantee they’ll look after you if you miss connecting flight

      spend those Avios points another time

      otherwise take out insurance/ fly in night before/ fly in with 6 hours grace

  8. IslandDweller says:

    Concur that the rental car cover from Amex is really very useful. One caveat, it is limited to vehicles costing below £50,000
    I was upgraded to a Mercedes S class (London City were short of cars and its all they had). Only afterwards did it occur to me that I was driving a vehicle costing more than my cover limit.
    Hertz and damage. I’ve generally found them fair, though my most recent rental was an exception. Picked up at LHR. Sheet said no damage, yet roof and rear pillar had multiple severe creases. I spotted this before leaving the pound as I picked up in daylight.

  9. Car hire insurance claim worked fine for me. EuropCar charged me £1000 (+£27 admin) for a scratch due to it being a higher band vehicle. Amex/AXA queried the cost with EuropCar who eventually sent through the cost breakdown showing a cost of just over £600, so EuropCar gave me a partial refund and Amex/AXA covered the rest. Always worth asking for the cost breakdown to see if they’ve overcharged you.

  10. At the tail end of last year my macbook air developed a fault with the logic board.. it was 14months old and I didn’t have applecare, only the standard 1 yr apple warranty (US spec and purchase, not EU). A Nice bill for £500+ if I wanted apple to fix it.
    Aha…knowing how good the amex platinum insurance is, I remembered reading about the amex extended warranty back when I was applying a decade ago, so i figured I would be covered. After phoning amex, they told me that the green amex offers the extended warranty, but the platinum – despite the fee being several multiples of the green card fee – does not.
    Thankfully a polite letter to apple in Cork got it fixed free of charge.

  11. Is it still the case that the additional Plat coverage still applies if the retailer (usually a travel agent) doesn’t accept Amex?

  12. Hello,

    Can anybody advise if the UK Amex Plat car hire insurance is valid for car hire abroad only or does it also cover domestic hire within the UK?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. O/T not sure if already seen & mentioned before, if so apologies.

    Amex Platinum card benefits now showing

    Meliá Hotels International MeliáRewards – Gold Enrolment Required
    Hilton Worldwide Hilton HHonorsTM – Gold status Enrolment Required
    Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Golden Circle – Jade Membership Enrolment Required

  14. If you go to the car auctions in the UK you will see ex rental cars going through with all manner of scratches and dents. Why ? because the thieving rental companies take the money from the customer or their insurance and then offset it against the future (lower) value of the car. As most cars sold this way are sold to the trade, the trade repairs them at trade price whereas the rental customer is charged retail price with the rental company picking up the difference !

    Of course, it might be disingenuous to suggest that the rental companies claim more than once for the same damage but I’m not staking my life on it :)

  15. Does the Amex platinum insurance cover reward bookings e.g. Flights booked using Virgin or BA miles? I guess the BA rewards are covered (if taxes are paid on an Amex issued card) but how about Virgin’s? Any thoughts?

  16. They were very difficult paying out for the personal injury aspect of this. They paid the car damage etc quickly but the medical and legal aspect took over six months. It was the other drivers fault. At first they claimed I wasn’t coveted for that in the UK as those sections were under different parts of the policy which only applied outside of the U.K. They said the car hire benefits like collision damage and excess are global but when you then need to claim for things like injury compensation that’s a different section and that doesn’t apply in the UK. In the end they caved in but it went via the ombudman who ruled that since they told me not to add anything at the rental desk (personal injury and legal expenses was an optional add on) they had implied that these were included in the rental benefits.

  17. I find the biggest hassle of using the Plat Amex car rental insurance is getting Hertz to print a rental agreement listing all authorised drivers.

    My spouse is a free additional driver because of my Hertz Five Star membership, the rate code I used, or because spouses are free by law in some locations. However, the pre-prepared rental agreement will list only me as an authorised driver. Hertz staff say, correctly, that my partner is automatically covered and does not need to be added.

    But they also usually insist that they cannot manually add an additional driver to a rental agreement without it triggering the additional driver charge. In fact, they can, but it usually requires escalation to a senior manager to show them how. This can add up to an hour on to the usual time to pick up from the Hertz Gold Counter.

    I have tried, in vain, to persuade Amex that, in this situation, they should extend the car rental insurance to all authorised drivers, not just those listed on the rental agreement. Their rather lengthy written reply, while sympathetic, insisted that I must have a printed rental agreement listing all of the authorised drivers; if an authorised driver was not listed and had a claim, they made it clear they would not pay out.

  18. Don’t know if I’m too late for a reply on this old thread, but does anybody know if the Amex Platinum car hire insurance offers worldwide cover or is it only some countries?