So, I crashed my rental car…

I’m an idiot. A total idiot. I’ve been driving since I was 16 and have never had an accident or gotten a ticket of any sort. I’ll spare you guys the details since I’m in a bit of a time crunch, though I badly scraped up my rental car in Germany. I rented it at Munich Airport from Europcar, and long story short I pulled out of a parking spot and hit a pole and scraped up the driver’s side door pretty bad. Dumbest accident imaginable.

Rental cars is one area of travel where I’m completely not savvy, given that I’m under 25 and therefore pay surcharges for renting a car, so avoid it as much as possible. Anyway, I’m hoping some of you can help me out here and share your expertise, since I’m not even sure how to approach this. I’m in a time crunch so realize I could probably spend hours researching online (which I’ll do as soon as I publish this post), though in the meantime am hoping some of you can share some anecdotal experiences. A few random thoughts/questions:

a) I paid for the rental with my American Express Platinum card. Is it safe to assume that covers the damage? Last year I rented from Budget in Germany and was told the American Express Platinum card isn’t an acceptable form of insurance, and they made me purchase additional insurance. Not sure why that was…
b) Anyone know what kind of coverage Europcar usually has? I declined the extra insurance I was offered, stupidly enough.
c) I know American Express Platinum only covers excess damage not covered by primary insurance. I don’t have access to my car insurance policy right now, though any clue if that would cover anything? For obvious reasons I’d like to avoid using that so the premiums don’t go up, so just wondering if I’m hosed in that regard.
d) Is it legal to drive a car without a fully functioning mirror on the autobahn? I’m 90 minutes from Munich Airport, so not sure how else I’d get there.
e) How do I start this process? Do I call Europcar, American Express Platinum, or someone else? What should I expect in terms of the process when I return the car?

Anyway, I realize the questions above are totally jumbled and I realize they’re all over the place, though I’m hoping some of you can help since my flight is in about 12 hours and I don’t even know where to start…


Filed Under: Travel
  1. glad your ok, was worried after i saw the topic. Unfortunately all my expereinces have been in north america not europe. Hope it all works out…

  2. American Express will cover you if you declined the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) from the rental car place. If you accepted CDW, then the CDW covers the damage.

    No clue on the rules of driving without a mirror in Europe / Germany.

    Return the car and then call American Express to open up a claim.

  3. Is your amex premium the $24.95 charge with each rental or the $17 dollar option? If its the Amex plat and you have to pay $24.95 that acts as your primary insurance. I have had nothing but horrible experiences with Europcar but that was in Mexico. I rent each week for work and I’m also 25 so please keep us updated on how this works out.

  4. No need to contact anyone unless it’s illegal to drive without a driver side mirror in Germany, not sure on that. Otherwise, just proceed to the airport, let them know you had t his accident, tell them to contact AMEX for claim procedures. I’m sure they had lots of experience with that. Since you don’t have other insurance in Germany, AMEX should step in to pay whatever repair is necessary as secondary insurance. That’s my understanding.

  5. Thanks guys!

    @ James — I wasn’t using either, just the one that I believe is included when you pay with the card (hopefully?).

  6. I have had to do this process a few times, always with AMEX. Note, I do not have a car, so no insurance other than the CDW coverage from AMEX.

    1) fill out an accident/incident report with Europcar.
    2) call Amex to start the process with them.

    Glad it was a scrape. PS, what kind of car?


  7. The AMEX Platinum has secondary coverage for damage to the rental car only, but usually has the effect of primary coverage if you don’t have car insurance or if you’re traveling overseas in certain countries.

    No credit card will cover you for damage to other property – the pole, but hopefully you don’t get charged for that!

    Take lots of pictures and call AMEX as well as Europcar.

    BTW, I doubt that your US car insurance will cover an accident outside the US, so you don’t have to tell them about it.

  8. Thanks again guys, all incredibly useful info!

    @ Brian — It was a Mercedes C180 stationwagon. How I ended up with that is an entertaining story, though I’ll save it for some other time.

  9. In Holland, it’s illegal to drive without 2 mirrors (except antique cars) so I think it’s the same in Deutschland.

  10. Call EuroCar, call your primary insurance and call Amex. Take pictures so they don’t try to ding you more than you’re already going to get dinged.

    Hint: You can buy PRIMARY insurance from Amex. In California it’s $17.95 per rental period up to 30 days. And, again, it’s PRIMARY so it’s just like the car rental company insurance. Every time you use your enrolled Amex to rent a car, you’re automatically covered. Best deal out there.

  11. As James pointed out, next time before you rent, sign up AMEX premium rental insurance. it’s $24.95 or $19.95 depending on which state you reside in, and charged only when you rent. It’s a primary insurance, meaning AMEX will cover everything happened to the rental car. But you are still responsible for the other party if you are considered at fault, but otherwise you don’t have to pay anything. I have dealt with AMEX on the premium rental insurance. They acted promptly and the whole process was very smooth without me worrying about anything.

  12. American Express includes Excess Coverage with its Platinum card at no additional cost.

    Excess coverage is basically gap coverage. American Express will pay for everything over and above what your primary insurance provider won’t cover up to $75,000 USD.

    You *must* have your primary insurance with you when you return your rental. If you have overages that come out of pocket, you then submit an expense report / incident with American Express and they will reimburse you.

  13. I don’t have an Amex Plat card, but if I were in your shoes I think I would just call the Platinum Concierge or Global Assist Hotline to get the answer to your questions. I don’t see anything on the website that refers to car rental coverage. Did you sign up for the $25 per rental coverage program?

    Every time I plan to rent a car I have to look up the coverage and see what is and isn’t covered. Some of these kinds of coverage have limits depending on the country. Good luck.

  14. As others have said, AMEX is secondary insurance. They pay anything your personal auto insurance doesn’t cover, and will also reimburse for your deductable. Your first call needs to be to your own insurance to see what your coverage is outside the US. Then call AMEX and let them know about the accident and what your personal coverage is. You’ll be required to submit all of this info to Europcar as well.

  15. One (negative) thing to keep in mind – insurance generally covers the damage to the vehicle, but the rental car company may try to hit you with “loss of use” charges (meaning, they can’t rent the car while it is being repaired). Make sure to ask AMEX about that and see if it was part of their coverage. Good luck Ben – glad you’re safe.

  16. As for the side mirror law in Germany. The German Motor Vehicle Code states that mirrors must be in place to properly observe all relevant behind his or her vehicle.

    From the code book:
    “(1) Kraftfahrzeuge müssen Spiegel haben, die so beschaffen und angebracht sind, daß der Fahrzeugführer nach rückwärts und seitwärts – auch beim Mitführen von Anhängern – alle für ihn wesentlichen Verkehrsvorgänge beobachten kann.”

    I suspect since you just took the mirror off in an accident, if you’re pulled over by the Polizei and explain your quandary, you’ll be fine.

  17. @Cdiddy, any idea for those of us without primary insurance (e.g. I live in NYC and do not have a car)? Does AMEX Plt insurance then become primary?

  18. Glad you’re ok! I think Million Mile Secret is right – US insurance doesn’t usually cover out of the country. When I went to Mexico a year ago, I was researched to get the cheapest car, and add the appropriate insurance in case I (or someone else) was injured so it would cover. My credit card covered damages to the car.

    I found a 37 page Summary of Travel Benefits for the American Express Platinum card and it says:

    Car rental insurance benefits.
    Extra car rental insurances.
    Just get used to saying
    ‘No thanks’.
    Loss damage waiver. Top-up liability. Excess reduction. Personal accident insurance.
    We’ve all been there, wondering whether or not to pay for these additional insurances.
    As a Platinum Cardmember, you can politely decline them all, as they’re already included
    in your travel insurance benefits (in fact, there isn’t even an excess to pay with our policy).
    Just to be clear, you can drive away in any car you like, with a maximum replacement
    value of US$/75,000 Euro, from any car rental company in the world.
    And if someone’s not taking ‘No thanks’ for an answer, don’t hesitate to call us.
    We’ll happily tell them on your behalf.

  19. I think this lifehacker article that was written today was for you, coincidence?

    When we were in Easter Island back in May, we rented a car to go about the island ourselves, I backed up into another car and put some scrapes on each car and the side bumper of my car was hanging low. The other party didn’t speak english, so we just stared at each other. In the end, we just walked away cause it wasn’t major and we didn’t have to pay anything extra or fill out any paperwork. We also jimmy rigged the bumper with a bobby pin. Problem solved.

  20. Not sure how that works in Germany but in the US my personal car insurance covers rental cars that I am driving offering the same coverage that I have for my personal car. However, since I don’t want to deal with my personal insurance in case I have issues with a rental car I am automatically registered in the Amex Platinum “Premium Car Rental Protection” (see link below). It is a piece of mind that only costs me a $24.95 flat fee per rents to up to 42 consecutive days. If I make a reservation with my Amex Platinum and I pay the rent with the card it automatically bills me for that amount. Good luck on solving your problem.

  21. @Todd:
    Have you dealt with the german police? Or in fact any german? We like to stick with the rules. However, even though its not legal….its a small fine , ifcaught.
    You pay surcharges even jn Germany? You are over 21…so there shouldn’t be any surcharge. Usually Sixt is more generous to younger drivers than Europcar (not to mention Hertz..they stick to the 25 idea even in Germany). Another idea to avoid rent a car surcharges in germany is to open a companny account or rent as a company.

  22. Call Amex and start the $24.95 insurance today. I did that and it kicked in on the car I had rented the day before.

  23. cal your insurance company and explain. you probably have extended coverage for rental, You can also call AMEX. what you are probably going to get shafted on is junk fees, and fees for lost rental revenue days that the renter experiences while it is in repair. Most insurance will not cover that category.

  24. I studied law in Germany and driving on the Autobahn without a mirror is a violation as every car has to have two side mirrors. However, it is OK in this particular situation. Even more as your car was in an accident. The police will not fine you if you get caught. Be careful though!

  25. @ZACK, I don’t think lifehacker’s information is accurate regarding AMEX premium protection. Unless their police has changed recently, AMEX told me that they would not cover liability.

  26. With AMEX I was under the impression that you had to choose their rental coverage if you wanted primary.

    With sone cards they don’t cover SUVs & luxury cars or anything over $50k, not sure about AMEX.

    See if there’s any coverage from your card, otherwise you’ll have to pay the deductible, I believe you do have some CDW in Germany by default with rental agreements, but the excess may be €1000 or slightly more.

  27. Lucky:

    I did some research on this recently, generally no US car insurance will cover a rental car outside the US, Canada or Mexico…which makes Amex platinum your primary so you’re all set. That still doesnt cover liability (injuries etc) but it sounds like no one is hurt so you should be all set. (fyi, europcar is nothing but scum, so don’t be surprised if they try to unjustly bill you for the loss of the vehicle even if there are other empties on the lot)

  28. I asked my State Farm agent 2 days ago whether my policy covered me in Europe and was told that no US Auto ins. covers the policy holder in foreign countries. When I went to FL last winter I used my Chase United Explorer card as it acts a primary insurance on all auto rentals 30 days or less.

  29. My bf has the amex platinum– since we rent extensively together in Europe I looked into the coverage. He is on the plan where every time he rents a car, Amex automatically recognizes the rental (he does not have to notify them) and charges him $25 and PRIMARY coverage comes into play– meaning you do not involve your own home insurance. In any case do not call your home insurance unless absolutely necessary– the increase in your rate would not be worth it. When you have Amex as primary, you do not need to pay for anything.

  30. Glad to hear that you are OK… so I can say jokingly:

    Well, here is one topic that isn’t going to show up in septuplicate on Boarding Area in the next 15 minutes. 🙂

  31. I concur with pssteve: duct tape the damn mirror. Allow some extra time in Munich for the rental return. And stop running into things!

  32. It’s OK to admit you got distracted by one of the naked people at the IC Berchtesgaden. It happens to the best of us. 😉

  33. At least all my experiences with amex where great.
    I never take insurance on the car, just third parties. I’ve had some scratches in rented cars before, even a whole bumper to replace and everything was covered by them. Its a complete peace of mind having them on my roadtrips.

  34. Ben,

    Some of this has been said, but I do happen to know a little about this.

    a) Unfortunately, it is not safe to assume your card covers the damage. AMEX Platinum does have basic rental loss/damage protection, in addition to your own insurance, with exclusions.
    Premium Car Rental Protection provides a greater level protection and like some of the other card member benefits, you have to actually enroll online to receive this as a benefit.

    Premium Car Rental Protection “provides coverage that your Card doesn’t. It provides primary coverage for damage to or theft of a rental car, which means you won’t need to file a claim with your own personal insurance company, and possibly risk increased premiums.”

    b) If you do in fact have AMEX Plat Premium Car Rental Protection, it is a requirement to decline the rental company’s insurance:

    c) For assistance with what covers what, I would start by calling AMEX Emergency Global Assistance number 1-800-333-2639, and they can walk you through everything.

    d) As far as the legality of driving without a mirror, I think this has been answered. The AMEX Emergency number above may be able to help with this. If not, duct tape.

    e) As far as how to start the process, again I would call AMEX first and they can walk you through it. The only number I can find is the Emergency Assistance number, but they should be able to walk you through everything.
    Stay calm and take care,

  35. PLEASE don’t blame yourself. Put your keen mind to work resolving this quickly using the excellent factual advice you got. You’re not stupid, you’re acquiring valuable experience. So glad you’re OK. Your US insurance may cover Canada but nowhere else, still you may be required to report this under your policy even if there’s no claim. Amex will require it. Ask about a police report. Take twice as many pics as you think you’ll need. This is something every international driver deals with eventually; you are just precocious 🙂

  36. Good to hear that you are OK! For primary rental car coverage: if you only have liability coverage from your auto insurance policy, coverage from any credit card becomes primary. If you have collision damage coverage from your auto policy, then only a few credit cards provide primary coverage, such as JPM Select and JPM Ritz-Carlton. As suggested by others, Amex has the Premium Protection Plan which charges $25 ($18 for Californian) for each rental which is also primary. I have a featured review on my site regarding all these:

  37. Can happen to anyone…

    Mirror issue has been addressed. Did you do any damage to the pole? If so, you should file with the police (or have Europecar deal with that, not sure if that’s possible, not doing so could be a criminal offense).

    Concrete shouldn’t be a problem, but metal/lightpole is a different story. I know, damage to a pole can be a costly thing…my girlfriend clipped a pole and nearly totalled her car (even at 15mph), but pole came in higher….good luck!

  38. Ben — you’re getting a bit of conflicting information. Amex has two products — the one that comes automatically with your card if you use it for a rental and decline loss damage waiver, and second the kind that you sign up for with Amex and get charged $25 every time you a rent a car. Some of the advice you are getting is for the second type, which you appear not to have.

    The basic kind that comes with your card is supplemental insurance, as you’ve noted. It covers whatever your personal auto insurance doesn’t. So, the question is going to be whether you have coverage in Germany under your regular insurance.

    Since it’s secondary coverage, Amex is likely to insist that you make a claim on your primary coverage first, or fill out an affidavit that you don’t have insurance. So, it’s probably going to be unavoidable that you will have to alert your insurance company. That is why many of us pay the $25 for primary Amex coverage — so we don’t have to alert our insurance company.

    When you return the car, you’ll have to comply with whatever your Eurocar’s contract says about damage. They probably have a right to charge you an estimated amount for the damage on the spot and tell you to take it up with your insurance company. About the only way to avoid this is to call Amex plat. But, at a minimum, be ready to have to pay right away and to be on your own for getting reimbursed.

    Now, here’s the messy part. You have three different entities you need to deal with here: Eurocar, Amex, and your insurance. Each may have different rules about notice. For example, some rental policies require you to notify the rental company immediately when you’ve had damage. The reason for this policy is that if you drive a damaged car without telling them, and make it worse, they will hold you to the extra damage. Your insurer may also have a similar requirement, as may amex. Since you have a fairly significant claim, you are likely going to want to be sure you don’t forfeit any coverage you may have by failing to give notice when you’re required to.

    If it were me, I would start with Amex and tell them, and ask them to give you guidance what to do. If they clarify that they will require you to make a claim with your insurance before you make a claim with Amex, that’s information you need. It may turn on whether or not you have coverage in Germany. If you don’t, they may not make you notify them. The question whether to call your insurance company now is a difficult one. If you don’t, you are taking a bit of a risk that they will deny you coverage later, depending on what the terms of your policy are. But (and this is just me) I probably would take that risk and deal with it when I got home.

    Others have given you the best advice — take tons of pictures.

  39. I am fairly sure the extra insurance plan AMEX sold does not apply for international rental.

    We had the plan and paid with the enrolled AMEX card with our Avis rental in France a year ago. AMEX NEVER charged the premium upon our returning the car. Later I called to find out that the Premium Insurance Plan does NOT cover international rental!!! Had I know about this I would use a Visa or a MC that do not charge forex fee!

    However, while the coverage on domestic rental car is secondary (meaning it only pays the excess above your own car insurance wont pay), for outside US rental, all coverages become PRIMARY. So in this case, the AMEX coverage is Primary, regardless you have signed up the Premium Plan or not. Besides, the Premium Plan does not cover international rental any way!

    What you need to do is to file an accident report with Eurocar at return. Inform Eurocar to contact AMEX for the claim. Get copy of the report and anything you have to sign. Call AMEX to get a claim number and follow the instruction on mailing in the paperwork. AMEX is pretty efficient in handling rental car insurance claim.

  40. It could be worse…. it’s not like you wore the First Class PJ’s off the plane. Oh wait. Right.

    Glad you’re OK.

  41. Hey Happy — you might have had an older product. My primary coverage plan with Amex does cover foreign countries, except Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand. Maybe it’s a different product?

    Also, what you say about Amex secondary coverage becoming primary in other countries is interesting. I thought that was only the case if your primary insurance does not cover you in foreign countries.

  42. MAN….pretty good getting all these helpful people to leave you excellent advice!!!! I would feel so lucky to have 1 anywhere near my post. You had 15 in 10 minutes, hahaha and 20 total in 20 minutes! Lots and lots of pictures are a very good idea.
    I never knew what a great deal the Amex card is for rental insurance. That is a good idea.
    I love renting cars. I have only rented in the US, and I have my own insurance through my car.
    I think that anytime most people at all, but especially below the age of 28 rent a car, especially a car that is radically different from what you are used to like a big, honkin’ pick up truck, it is an excellent idea to get the insurance at the rental car place for at least the first day or two. I think that is when you are most likely to get in an accident. I don’t know how easy this Amex card insurance is though if you have an accident.
    The only real car accident I have ever had was in New York City in front of the Waldorf Astoria in a rental Chevy Colorado that was toy blue and brand spanking new.
    I rented the car in Rochester,NY and I drove all the way to NYC to move some stuff in my apartment, and I agreed to give this random girl a ride to Syracuse from NYC on craigslist rideshare. haha By the time I drove down, I didn’t want to come back up again, and I wanted to relax for a couple days, but this piggy girl did a craigslist guilt trip on me, and at the time I was young enough to be stupid enough to agree to take her up, but I was freaking out, and I didn’t want to go and I wasn’t going to get the truck back in time, and I wanted to be in NYC for other reasons and to get some of my old roommate’s stuff, and as soon as I got off the phone with Enterprise about getting the car back in time, I pressed on the gas and looked at this hot chick on the side walk walking by and Bam!!!!!! smack into the back of a brand new white mercedes! I LOVED this pick up so much, and I pretended it was my car, like I always do, and after looking at the mercedes I barely had the heart to look at the front of the truck, but to my surprise, the truck was fine! The license plate was really messed up, and a bit of the bumper pushed in, but I just pushed it back out, and it was fine. I was so happy. Everybody kept walking by saying, “Wow, that Chevy makes a good truck.” So the two rappers were pretty cool under the circumstances, especially one, one was a little bummed, and I don’t think they had insurance, but the police came, and I was back on the road in 15 minutes like nothing ever freaking happened. haha So I thought, well, at least this girl won’t want to drive with me to Syracuse, but she did dammit! To sum her up, besides smelling up my nice new truck, destroying the nice new truck smell, she left a little mountain of nail clippings on the seat. Ahhh you got me again craigslist!
    I had the insurance from the rental place, and I just told Enterprise about the accident and signed something, and they took care of everything. It was easy.
    Hope you got everything figured out ok!

  43. @ Happy

    Per product details of the AMEX premium:

    Coverage is worldwide, except for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.

  44. Lucky, not exactly applicable here but you don’t have to pay under age surcharges if you rent with USAA. They have codes for Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and Hertz. Only valid for rentals in US unfortunately.

  45. I once had my rental car broken into, with a brick thrown through the driver’s side window. I brought it back to the airport and exchanged it for another. Then, a day or two later, as I was leaving the city for the airport, I scraped the side of the car against the curb while leaving the parking lot. Thankfully my corporate rate included CDW, so I didn’t have to do much, and it didn’t cost me anything.

  46. @Ananth

    I love that USAA has that deal. As I’m 20 I’ve only been using it with Hertz for a couple years but very soon I’ll have Enterprise/Budget/Avis as options too. Never been asked for proof of membership, though I do have it.


    Hit me up if you want any of the codes.

  47. I had a claim with Amex four years ago. I had only liability insurance on my own cars, so they paid the full amount of the damage to the rental car, no questions asked. i didn’t even have to submit a copy of my policy.

  48. Lucky
    Sign up for the Amex 25$ for 100k protection or the cheaper 20$ for 75k protection for next time
    I get your feed, but by the time I landed and could get to a PC to post, you have 48 helpers.

  49. Lucky,

    I will send you a private email which has the AMEX Platinum coverage. I always request clarification from either AMEX or VISA regarding their coverage in whatever country I’m going to be driving in. They will send me an email with the basics plus the attachment which is their policy. I save it on my email and then can reference it if I have a problem overseas. As for your USA insurance, they probably will not cover you overseas….most don’t!

  50. I’m an insurance agent and one thing for sure is your car insurance in the states will not cover a thing in Europe. Amex will only cover you in some countries as well. My first step would be to call them!

  51. regarding above comment, your insurance define a coverage territory and it’s usually US, Canada, and part of Mexico. That is unless you have Chubb, Fireman’s Fund or maybe AIG who do offer worldwide coverage.

  52. Being from Germany myself, I wouldn’t worry about the mirror and the police. Your mirror inside on the wind shield is not blocked ? So don’t worry. There is a sticker inside of the Europcar car for accident service – at least tell them what happened and do not leave it to that outsourced personell at MUC airport at the rental car return.

  53. @Ben, So sorry to hear about your accident. What a crummy way to end your trip.

    I can only comment on your primary insurance, and that is to say that I am 99% they will not cover you for a European rental as USAA does not cover European rentals and I am guessing by extension that other insurance carriers don’t as well.

    Best of luck getting this taken care of with the least amount of pain to your wallet.

  54. I once had a car caught in a mini-tornado and all the windows were smashed. Hertz took the $2000 cover and promised to reimburse me. Three weeks later, once it was safe to assume that the car was fixed, I called and asked for my reimbursement but they could’t produce an invoice. Several phone calls later they ended up sending me a cheque for the $200 insurance cover and the price of the rental. Don’t worry! These rental companies are hopelessly disorganized and several of my friends had the same experience and one even made money!

  55. Wow, these comments are all over the place. Seriously, has anyone ever rented a car outside the US and done any research??? Your US insurance does not cover you. Credit card insurance does in some countries but numerous ones (read Larry’s comment above) will not accept ANY credit card insurance from Visa, Amex or Discover Card. The countries that do not accept those credit cards will accept WORLD MasterCard. It has to be “World” like the US Airways MasterCard. It can be complicated but do research before you travel.

  56. @Happy – This is from the Amex website for their Premium Car Rental Protection “Coverage is worldwide, except for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand”. Thus, not sure where you got the info that it does not cover international rentals.

  57. Thanks SO much to everyone for their help, it’s very appreciated!

    Before driving to Munich will call American Express Plat and Europcar just to inform them (based on what’s said above), and hope for the best from there.

    Quick question — if you’re required to inform your primary insurance about the accident, and assuming they don’t cover anything internationally, can it still cause your premium to go up? Or no, since they’re not actually paying out?

  58. Hey (not so) Lucky, we had a similar experience in Croatia a few years back. The rental company will charge your credit card for the damages. Notify your CC and file a claim ASAP. We had a very hard time getting the repair invoices forwarded to the CC claim insurance department. After waiting a few months we ended up having to dispute the charge, so Visa pulled the money back ($3660) and 24 hours later the invoices were received. And a few days later the claim was covered in full. If this was to happen again I would dispute the charges much sooner and put the ball in their court. Try to relax and don’t let this ruin your trip.

  59. I had a rock shatter the window of a rental car I had, and AMEX covered it completely. I did not purchase extra insurance, so since I lacked primary insurance on the rental car, AMEX insurance basically took over as the primary. Good luck!

  60. Lucky,
    Call your USA insurance company…tell them that you will be traveling overseas to Germany in the near future…ask them if they cover you and for what…ask them to email you the details (get it in writing!)…

  61. Lucky,
    Different situation..same process!
    My wife needed surgery in Prague..USA insurance said said “Pay the receipts..we will reimburse you!”…
    Had Access America trip insurance($50)..
    $10,000 medical…
    Process is the same…take pictures, names, times, dates, etc…get as much in writing as you can…same process as being rejected for a CC…call, call, call, email, email, email…try to get correspondence in writing…if you don’t get the answer you want, wait a few hours and call back until you get a sympathetic CSR…lead them, ask them for help but guide them to what you need, take notes!…may take time but you should be fine…but details, details, details!!!

  62. Lucky-

    I would advise you to NOT tell your insurance carrier as an agent. Insurance carriers are surcharging for almost everything now from not at fault claims, comp claims, towing claims, etc. They all have ways of getting around state laws about not charing for not at faults and claims they do not pay. They don’t “surcharge” you anymore, they “Teir” you.

    I also did a lot of research when renting a car in Italy and Santastico is correct.

    Also folks please read your insurance policy it’s not near as bad as you think.

  63. Lucky,
    I agree with Paul…..
    If you call, talk to the “floor” agent, get the name and if you need to call back, make sure you don’t talk to the original one!
    But the key here is which card you left as the deposit card and which card you actually used to check out with…hopefully the same in this case!
    I always use the best card for deposit that works in the event of an accident then at turn in, I may change to a different card to pay if it has better points, etc.

  64. @Ben- Sorry you are having to go through all this but it is definitively a learning experience (for several of us reading this). We assume we know the coverages we have (with AMEX, etc.) but overseas the rules change a bit.

    I’ve always said “no” to the insurance at the counter for years now. With all the money I’ve saved I think I could probably purchase a car with that savings by now!

  65. I am 100% sure your US policy doesn’t cover foreign exposures unless you searched out a policy that has that (and I’m not sure there is one ).

    If Amex tells you to contact your insurance company, just tell them you don’t have a policy that covers it.

  66. I had an accident with a car rented from Europcar. You need to fill-out a damage report with Europcar and you should immediatly report the damage to them by telephone. The number is on the back of your rental packet. I also lived in Germany and can tell you from experience that you MUST HAVE BOTH MIRRORS WORKING. Otherwise, you can get a ticket for driving anywhere in Germany (not just the Autobahn.) However, it is allowed that you can drive to return the car to the rental company. If you are stopped, just explain the situation.
    My experience with the accident was that they just billed me for the deductible on the insurance. However, I had taken out the LDW and CDW with Europcar at the time. I don’t know about the AmEx insurance as I have never relied on it. Also, my insurance policy in the US specifically states that it is not applicable outside of US and Canada. You normally take out a rider on the policy to go to Mexico but don’t know if you can also do that in Germany.

  67. No worries. You notify Amex. The rental car company submits a bill which you send on to Amex. Amex will not pay for a few things like loss of vehicle use to the company. So your still going to take a hit.

  68. A car can be replaced – you can not. We are all glad that you are OK. Life is full of bumps, don’t let this get you down…..

  69. I have rented endless times in Germany, Austria etc.
    AMEX Plat — decline insurance from car company and I was 100% covered for dents, crash etc.
    No additional insurance required.
    Just use AMEX Plat when you rent and pass on the insurance.
    Call AMEX and they take care of the rest!

  70. beachfan there are a few carriers who cover foreign auto rentals. As a matter of fact you can get kidnap and Ransom, medical evac, foreign personal liability, etc from Chubb and AIG. They insure the rich folks and the big homes.

  71. Poster 62 is right, these replies are all over the map. First call the credit card company you used for the rental, if you’re covered follow their instructions. Tell Europcar, see their contract rules. You don’t have to tell your own insurance company a darn thing if you won’t claim anything through them. If your own policy doesn’t cover you in Europe what business is it of theirs. None. It’s all economics, sure they’d love to know everything you do 24/7 anywhere on the globe to hike your premium. Unless your insurance company’s contract says so, e.g. that you must report any accident anywhere in the world, they have no legal standing outside of their covered, i.e. geographical, policy area. If you work for a company, have a labor contract with them, do you call them every evening, weekend to report to them what you ate for dinner, when you turned on the TV? Get real. Finally, someone else might assist on this, many countries have reciprocal reporting agreements with the U.S. Gov’t. and individual states. For example, Virginia and Germany recognize, formally, each others driver license as valid. However, the degree as to sharing information on users varies. It’s possible that insurance companies in the U.S. have agreements with the major rental car companies to forward any reports of accidents to them when your U.S. driver license is used. In this day and age of computers everything and anything can be forwarded from any part of the globe. It’s not like the 1950s. It’s all about economics, money.

  72. “Call Amex and start the $24.95 insurance today. I did that and it kicked in on the car I had rented the day before.”

    Filing a claim for a loss you incurred before you bought the policy (or filing a claim for a loss that you knew, at the time you bought the policy, that you were going to incur afterwards) is called “fraud.” I’m sure it’s just as illegal in Germany as it is here.

  73. Hi Lucky,

    Glad to hear that you are ok and the damage was only to the car. Personal safety is obviously primary, everything else can be replaced. I have some experience, bit date though. I rented a car from Sixt in Frankfurt in June 1997 and had a minor scrape on the car door in a parking lot in Heidelberg. The car i had was brand new (~10KM) Renault Megane. In those days, what i remember is that the default credit card insurance is secondary. I had an AT&T Universal card if anyone remembers that. Your personal automobile insurance is the primary coverage that you have. I would suggest you comply with rental laws / contract and accordingly report to your US based company if needed. In my case the scrape was deemed very minor and the rental company did not ask me for anything.


  74. Europcar will charge your credit card beginning with a 50 Euro Administration fee which no insurance carrier will cover. Open a file with Amex immediately so you can dispute the charges once they come rolling in. It takes a while to sort these things out.
    The Amex $24.99 auto insurance is worth its weight in gold or should I say Euros. It is worth getting the next time you travel.
    I speak from experience as my husband backed our Europcar into a wall in Villefranche in May.

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