Consider a visa for car hire in Australia – American Express does not include Australia

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Planning for a three-week vacation in Australia, I was surprised to learn that Australia is one of the five countries excluded from the car insurance guarantee on my American Express card. Needless to say, this discovery would be a very rude awakening after I've already rented a car in Australia.

However, the visa covers Australia. According to Visa, every personal Visa card seems to provide this advantage.

A few things to remember for US residents who are considering renting a car when visiting Australia:

  • Your personal car insurance does not cover anything in Australia;
  • You must decline the option of a disclaimer (CDW) and a disclaimer (LDW) in the car rental agreement;
  • You must pay for the entire rental with a Visa card. Be careful when renting using a coupon or prepayment. Even if the coupon was paid for by a Visa card, this card number cannot be transferred to a car rental company and the card will not be covered by insurance;
  • Your Visa card only covers damage to the car, not your liability or damage to anything or anyone else. Before traveling, consult your personal insurance agent to learn how to effectively cover your liability.
  • Renting covered by a Visa card can last a maximum of thirty one (31) days; and
  • In the event of an emergency, the Australian emergency number to call Visa is (800) 125-440, or if it does not connect, you can call the USA back at (410) 581-9994.

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