View Full Version : Truck Insurance Summary and Amex Premium Coverage

10-28-2013, 11:03 PM
Each time we rent a pickup on Bonaire we read a lot of confusing information concerning insurance coverage. As we prepare for our 5th trip this January we have done quite a bit of research by reading on this forum as well as other sources, and by correspondence with rental companies on Bonaire. As we have not been able to find all of this information in one place or on one thread I thought I would try to list and summarize it here in case it would be of help to others.

As I understand it there are 3 areas of coverage we should be concerned about:

1) Liability coverage to cover damage to a 3rd party that is my fault
2) Coverage for damage to the rental car if I get in an accident and it is my fault
3) Coverage for damage to the rental car caused by theft or attempted theft, fire, act of God or a third party like vandalism.

Are there any other categories I am missing that you are aware of?

In addition here is my understanding of Standard CDW coverage:

4) Standard CDW covers the rental car for damage that is my fault (less the deductible).
5) Standard CDW does not cover liability; however, several sources have indicated that all licensed vehicles on Bonaire must already have liability coverage in order to be licensed, so I would have liability coverage with standard CDW or even with no CDW purchased.
6) Standard CDW does not cover damage caused by theft or attempted theft, fire, act of God or a third party like vandalism.
7) Many “full coverage” policies do cover all of the above, for a price.

AMEX premium insurance:

8) Does cover the rental car for damage that is my fault
9) Does cover damage caused by theft or attempted theft, fire, act of God or a third party like vandalism.
10) Does not cover liability damage to a 3rd party if it is my fault.

If all these assumptions are correct, we would have sufficient coverage by using AMEX premium insurance, including liability. I do not, however, know what the coverage amount or deductible is for the liability required by the government which the rental companies already carry (perhaps someone else does?).

Any additional information or corrections would be appreciated.

11-03-2013, 02:19 PM
Thanks for the post, I was researching the same thing only to find that the car rental places I contacted do not take Amex. My Visa card offers the CDW insurance on cars and SUVs but not pickups. I recontacted the car rental places and they told me that they would not accept the insurance from Visa either. Their CDW insurance was mandatory.

11-04-2013, 08:38 AM
Poppy at Telerin accepts Amex.

11-07-2013, 10:02 PM
From my contacts with companies on Bonaire I found that Telerin, Budget, Hertz and Avis do still accept American Express. Total and Voyager do not. Others I do not know about. We rented from Avis for this coming January for a good rate, CDW was not mandatory there.

12-01-2013, 07:05 PM
I think you have this correct. I have done similar research. One thing for people to remember is AMX only covers you if you have signed up for the rental car insurance. It's only about $17 for and entire month and you only get charged that when you rent a car. It's not an on going monthly charge.

The AMX car insurance coverage will only work if you pay for the rental car with your AMX. It covers CDW (Collision Damage Waver) and it covers all the items you mentioned except Liability.

What I'm not clear on is if rental cars in Bonaire actually have Liability on them automatically, or if you need to buy liability insurance from the rental company. They don't seem to make any mention of the liability option on any rental car website. It's all very underhanded. I guess they are making money on the insurance not just the rental.

If I find out about the Liability I will post it.

One thing I can recommend to others is make sure that whoever you rent from takes AMX before you reserve... many do not take AMX.

If you are getting a dive package at a resort or similar, with "drive and dive", you can ask to pay with AMX and decline the CDW insurance, even though they don't seem to make this public. I have done this before. I asked to pay the car on a separate bill and paid for it with paypal and used my AMX.. I'm not sure if this kicked in the insurance though and called AMX to check... I can't remember exactly how it all worked out since I never had to make a claim, so it's a good thing to call AMX and make sure it does cover if you use Paypal.


12-09-2013, 10:24 PM
Several other threads on this forum have indicated that liability coverage is mandatory on Bonaire in order to license any vehicle. In addition I have had this confirmed by a couple of other car companies on Bonaire via email when requesting quotes. Also, I read a site (I do not remember where right now) that was giving detailed residency information for people interested in living on Bonaire which has a section on automobiles and it also clearly stated that liability insurance was mandatory in order to get a license. It does seem like the rental companies would be doing us a better service by providing clear information on this issue seeing as everyone is confused.

12-10-2013, 12:13 AM
You may deny the coverage. Amx is not a requirement. They probably make more money on the insurance than on the rental itself.

12-10-2013, 01:12 AM
You may deny the coverage. Amx is not a requirement. They probably make more money on the insurance than on the rental itself.

Please clarify your statement. It's not apparent which post(s) you're replying to. You may deny which coverage? More importantly, if you deny insurance coverage how are you insured against liability for personal injury and/or damage to the rental vehicle?

As mentioned in previous posts, it appears that 3rd-party liability coverage is included in the rental fee as required by law. CDW is intended to cover damage to the rental vehicle. This may also be why some rental company's first actions are to take an imprint of your credit card.

If you deny the rental company's 3rd-party CDW, and you're not covered by another policy, you're liable for any damage to the rental vehicle. You're favorite resort, Buddy Dive, is no exception. This is why some rental companies mandate CDW insurance. They know it's bad business for visitors to leave the island now and argue culpability later.

As you mentioned, Amex coverage (https://www295.americanexpress.com/premium/car-rental-insurance-coverage/home.do) isn't a requirement. But it's a less expensive alternative to the rental company's CDW policy because it's subsidized by your credit card fees and those paid by Amex merchants. If you qualify for it, it's a good value. $24.95 covers your entire rental period up to 42 consecutive days. Coverage includes 0$ deductible and up to $100K in theft and/or damage coverage. Coverage is primary (meaning it supersedes coverage by other policies.)

12-10-2013, 09:02 AM
Re: Driving naked (no additional insurance)

Life is not without risk, something each of us divers understand. We manage risk, we control risk, and at times we insure ourselves to minimize losses associated with that risk.

In the case of rental car add-on insurance, the cost of that add-on insurance is excessive compared to the value received, I believe. Just compare what you pay on your own car to what you pay on the rental.

The add-on insurance covers damage to the rental, you could just pay for the repairs or replacement yourself if need be. It also covers deductible damage to others, you could pay the deductible yourself.

I don't buy the add-on coverage. If I wreck one of Buddy's trucks, unlikely, I will cover the deductible to repair or replace it. If I damage another vehicle, I will cover what is necessary to repair or replace it.

It is unfortunate that Visa and MC don't cover the little trucks of Bonaire but they don't. They cover cars for little to no additional money. That is because the risk of loss is quite small and any loss that does occur would likely be relatively small.

I spent 35 years as a homebuilder. In essence, I was the insurance company. It was my job to manage the risk of the project. A significant part of my job was to insure that the buyer pay only the agreed upon price for the agreed work. If it cost more, that was my problem, not theirs. The same concept holds true for most small business owners.

12-10-2013, 09:26 AM
This insurance thing. We never believed buying insurance was a good idea, too expensive for sure. But in 2011 Total convinced me insurance wasn't so bad and for the first time in 10 visits I bought the said insurance. Two days later someone stole our rental truck and went on a crime spree with it. I was very glad I had insurance, very glad indeed and have bought insurance every since.

12-10-2013, 11:05 AM
I would get total coverage insurance.

02-10-2014, 04:14 PM
I will be there next month and have a reserved vehicle with Avis. I will be using an Amex and have the premium insurance. As mentioned above, it does not cover third party liability. How can I obtain only liability insurance without having to pay the daily rate for everything?

02-10-2014, 05:22 PM
Hey there, so we got back a couple weeks ago. Here's the deal, all cars in bonaire have to have their own 3rd party liability Insurance, so it's already on the car. The rental car companies just don't tell you this and they often don't want to deal with AMX after the fact if there is an accident, but that is none of your concern. We rented with Avis, used the AMX with the premium insurance on the card, turned down any other insurance from the company, all worked out fine. You are covered. Make sure you do a good vehicle inspection and follow their rules (maybe take pictures of any dents and dings with your phone before you leave with the car) Avis tells you to lock the car, most other companies tell you to leave windows open and the car unlocked because of the theft problem on the island, but just do what Avis tells you so you are not liable. (BUT don't leave even a T-shirt in the car, they will break in for it) Just this Jan 2014, divers parked next to us and came back to theft.. left and old ratty t-shirt and shorts in the back of the pick-upů gone.

02-11-2014, 08:25 AM
Thanks for the info on the liability insurance, zgirlla.

As for the theft of the t-shirt, I have been going to Bonaire for 17 years and leave my t-shirt & flip-flops in the truck, mesh gear bag in the back ... unlocked, windows down ... without ever having been ripped off. That's not to say it doesn't happen, because it does and some minor things were stolen from a friends truck a few years ago. I can't believe that most thieves want ratty old t-shirts and flip-flops, but maybe they do. Not disagreeing, just relating my own personal experience.

02-11-2014, 12:56 PM
Thanks zgirlla! This information is helpful!

02-11-2014, 05:57 PM
Here's a question - I understand from Amex the following:
- You can still use the "premium" amex auto coverage (by first signing up with the program prior to travel - which costs nothing until you rent), even if you have not paid for the rental with Amex. BUT - in order to trigger this coverage, you MUST use your amex card for SOMETHING at time of rental.
Here's my dilemna. We paid for our accomodations, and rental car - all together, and all through the accomodation rental company. This company does not accept Amex. I spoke to Amex and the agent was wonderful in brainstorming ideas as to how I may be able to spend even $1 at time of rental of the car. One option is to pay for Gas for the rental. Only it has to be onsite - which Bonaire does not offer.
By the way - I am renting through budget.
An upgrade would work also, but that is not relevant here as we're getting the typical truck.

Question - does anyone know if that budget location at the airport offers an option to purchase a full tank of gas upon return? You know the kind where you don't have to fill the tank, they charge you a flat rate up front, for when you return the car. Budget 800# does not know the answer to this, so I need to find out before I go.

Or does anyone have any ideas as to a small option to spend a tiny amount of money at Budget (and I can put on Amex - as I'm 99% I've used Amex before for them to swipe my amex card for authorization only - which unfortunately does not qualify b/c it is not an actual charge - rather a "hold".

02-11-2014, 08:53 PM
You can still use the "premium" amex auto coverage (by first signing up with the program prior to travel - which costs nothing until you rent), even if you have not paid for the rental with Amex. BUT - in order to trigger this coverage, you MUST use your amex card for SOMETHING at time of rental.

This is not what Amex says in the terms and conditions for their Premium Car Rental Protection Insurance (https://www295.americanexpress.com/premium/car-rental-insurance-coverage/home.do) policy, which sounds like the policy you're referring to. (I'm pretty sure that's the only Amex policy that covers trucks.) The rental coverage Summary of Terms & Conditions posted on the web site states "Premium will be billed to your Enrolled Card and coverage activated each time you use the Card to pay for a Rental Car from a Rental Company until your enrollment is terminated." This in itself implies that paying for the rental with the card is required.

But if that isn't enough the 8 page Description of Coverage mailed to me after enrolling in the coverage explicitly states "Coverage is activated when the Cardmember uses an Enrolled Card to pay the rental fee for the Rental Car and the Cardmember signs the rental agreement for that Rental Car." Furthermore the term "Cardmember" is defined as "an American Express Basic or Additional Cardmember who has used an Enrolled Card to rent the Rental Car, who has signed the rental agreement with the Rental Company..." Unfortunately I can't find a direct link to this detailed coverage document on the web.

It appears that in your situation either you or the Amex representative is implying that a small incidental charge would be interpreted as a rental fee, thus triggering policy coverage. I don't think this is aligned with the terms defined in the coverage, which might present an unexpected lapse in coverage for you. If the Amex CSR told you differently I think you should get it in writing.

But I think you may have other challenges using this policy with Budget, even if paying for the rental with a qulifying Amex card. I rented from Budget in 2011, but wasn't using the Amex coverage at that time. When I picked up the truck Budget took an old-school carbon imprint of my Visa card, itemized a $300 incidental fee to cover CDW deductible in event of an incident, had me sign the slip, and then they filed the slip away. This initial charge was never passed on to Visa because I didn't have any claims and Budget tore up that slip in front of me when I returned the truck at the end of the stay. At that point they processed a separate electronic credit card transaction for the entire rental fee. So in that scenario I don't think I would have been covered by the Amex policy even if I had enrolled and paid with a qualifying Amex card. The charge that's required to initiate coverage wasn't processed until the rental was returned. I've never heard of an insurance company willing to accept coverage premiums after the policy period has already passed.

Nowadays I rent from Telerin using my Amex card and the Amex insurance coverage. Telerin processes the entire rental fee at the beginning of the rental period and I see the charge for Amex insurance appear a couple of days later. All charges post early in the rental period, making the insurance coverage obvious and traceable to the initial rental fee transaction.

Sorry if this is TMI. Just trying to help.

02-11-2014, 10:58 PM
Telerin was out of cars when I made our Christmas/New Years reservation so I rented from Budget online in advance. The entire charge was paid weeks before we arrived. That would do it for the AMEX, I presume.

02-12-2014, 08:09 AM
I have used my Amex with the automatic insurance on car/truck rentals for years and on Bonaire with both Budget and Telerin. Haven't had to make a claim, so can't comment on that. But I know it kicks in, because the charge automatically shows up on my statement. Agree with the wwwguy's comment that the terms of the agreement would certainly seem to require that you actually rent the vehicle with the Amex card enrolled in the program and that the "owner" of that card be the person signing the rental agreement. I am not buying the idea that you can just put an incidental charge from the rental company on the Amex card and be covered for the full rental coverage.

02-14-2014, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the input folks, appreciate it!
Since that's what 2 different Amex insurance agents told me - specifically in that department, I think I buy it - and I'm usually skeptical. I can tell by the level of detail and thoroughness they went through and they knew this policy inside and out. Explained every part of it. When you use your amex for anything "related" to the rental, that's what kicks in the coverage - that is a benefit of your card, and, a premium coverage you are paying for (for $24.99). The transaction is necessary only for triggering the policy to start - as you've said kob . I'm trying to see if my accommodation rental agency will back out what they owe budget (which I"ve already paid them on Visa), and let me pay that amount at the budget window on my AMEX. We'll see. It would seem simple, but...nothing is when working with this particular rental agency. The only stressful part of Bonaire to us - every year :)

02-21-2014, 09:49 PM
I used to use the Amex insurance all the time and it worked well a couple of times I dinged up the rental vehicle and I had to pay some for the damage. I stopped doing this and starting paying the rental company insurance, which I agree is more than excessive, when it became my understanding the AMEX insurance would not cover damage to another vehicle or medical for the individuals in the other vehicle given said damage and injury was my fault? Am I incorrect on this? Does the AMEX insurance cover these incidents?

02-22-2014, 03:22 PM
Disclaimer: I'm Just Another Tourist. My comments are based on my own research, observations, and discussions with a few rental companies. Don't interpret this as fact without verifying with your respective insurance providers.

Neither Amex insurance nor the rental company's CDW policy cover damage or injury to 3rd parties. These policies only cover damage to the rental vehicle. The Amex Insurance (https://www295.americanexpress.com/premium/car-rental-insurance-coverage/home.do) offers some additional medical and AD&D coverage that the CDW does not.

To summarize the information previously provided in this and other threads:

Liability insurance for damage and/or injury to 3rd parties is covered via liability policy purchased by the rental company prior to your individual rental period. This mandatory coverage is required by law as a condition of the rental vehicle being in service. There's no incremental charge to you for this coverage, other than that the cost is part of the rental fee structure. Neither you nor the rental company are permitted to waive this coverage.

Collision & damage insurance protects the rental vehicle itself in event of theft, accident, or other damage. In order to protect their assets the rental companies require you to purchase this coverage, at your own incremental expense, during the rental period. Some rental companies don't want the hassle of dealing with 3rd-party insurance companies from off-island (e.g. American Express) and require you to purchase CDW insurance through their negotiated provider. Others companies, such as Telerin and Budget, will accept collision damage policy from American Express Premium Car Rental Protection.