Update: AMEX coverage for Israel is now in effect!
Don’t forget to ask for a letter of coverage from your credit card to provide to the rental car agency.
Originally posted on 6/4:
Currently AMEX cards exclude car rental CDW insurance in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.
Effective on 9/1, only Australia, Italy, and New Zealand will be excluded from coverage.
CDW coverage covers damage to your rental car.
Of course in Israel you are also required to take out liability insurance, but having a credit card from Chase, or from AMEX starting in September, will save you from paying for CDW insurance. Be sure to ask for a letter of coverage before traveling to Israel to provide to the rental car agency.
As always when renting in Israel, you should take detailed pictures of scratches on your rental car before and after your rental. And be sure that the agent signs off on every scratch. Israeli car rental agencies are notorious for charging over and over again for the same scratch. Even if you buy the CDW from the car rental agency you’ll still have to pay for the scratch as they have a high deductible on their own CDW coverage. Be sure to decline the car rental agency’s CDW coverage and you’ll have zero deductible from your credit card. If you do not decline the car rental’s CDW coverage then your credit card will not cover your rental.
AMEX only provides secondary coverage unless you pay for a premium car rental plan for $19.95/rental. However in general your personal auto insurance won’t cover you when abroad, so the credit card insurance will effectively provide primary coverage outside of the US.
In general the best card for car rentals is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. That card earns triple points for car rentals and has primary coverage worldwide. Chase Sapphire Preferred offers double points for car rentals and has primary coverage worldwide.
But AMEX protections typically have less red tape than protections from other banks, so adding coverage for car rentals in Israel is a nice benefit addition.