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

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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.

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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Comments (118)

  • sd83 says:

    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.

  • Daryl says:

    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

  • Talay says:

    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 🙂

  • John says:

    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?

  • Harry says:

    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.

  • Martin says:

    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.

  • BOB says:

    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?

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