Visa Card Benefit
I wrote about a recent experience I had, my rental car which got damaged while parked. And since I usually don’t purchase the rental company’s insurance policy I was stuck with a bill of $1,300.
Rental car companies make a lot of money selling us collision insurance. If they weren’t so expensive and complicated to figure out maybe they might be more readily purchased.
Most of us make the purchase out of fear that something like what I experienced will take place.
Yet most people are covered through their own car insurance as well through the credit cards they use. My visa card benefit is an example of just this.
Is it more convenient to just get the rental car company’s insurance? Yes.
A convenience store makes their money banking on catching you when you’re unprepared, hence the high prices. Convenience has a price, it’s simply another decision to weigh.
Auto Collision Insurance
Interestingly, when I started renting a car for my occasional longer distance commutes I wasn’t able to find out exactly what happens if I rent a car without having a personal auto liability insurance. I don’t own a car, hence no liability insurance; this is how most people circumvent the car rental company’s collision insurance of $18-30/day on top of the rental rate.
Did you know that even without owning a car you can purchase a non-owner policy? I suppose it’s for those who rent cars often or have to drive different cars at work, neat. You can’t do it through most car insurance websites, you need to pick up the phone and call them.
As of this writing there is a Chase card which offers primary insurance when you rent a car. Also, Amex has a program where you pay a one-time fee of like $15 for the duration of the entire rental, this also makes Amex the primary insurer of the rental car. You have to wave the rental car company’s insurance in order to qualify (naturally).
When using your credit card the Visa or Amex logo will act as the secondary insurer after your private auto insurance policy that you might have for your own personal car. I needed to mention that so the rest of the shit I’m saying makes sense.
Visa Card as Primary Insurer
What I couldn’t find no matter how much I looked is what happens when you use your Visa or Amex and you don’t have private auto insurance… well after my experience I can give you the exact answer.
When you don’t get your rental car insured through, let’s say Enterprise, but you have liability through your private auto insurance, say Geico, and you pay with your Visa credit card, then Geico becomes the primary insurer and your credit card becomes the secondary.
Since I had no other auto insurance my credit card actually became the primary insurer.
After the whole shenanigans I ended up paying nothing. The total was around $1,300, there is another $500 which I paid to the rental car company by mistake for a deductible that I didn’t have; this was returned to me by my Visa card benefits.
How To File A Claim
Filing the Visa card benefit claim was a super benign process. Everything is done electronically, through a website and via email.
Their email system is very responsive.
I filed the claim on the Claims Center website at eclaimsline.com. Their FAQ is too general to be helpful but worth a read.
What I would Have Done Differently
I would have taken a picture of the car’s damage with my phone right after it happened (I had to go track the car down to take the picture after the fact).
I would have taken a pic of the front and back of the paper rental agreement.
I would have filed the claim with my Visa credit card as soon as it happened and not dealt with Enterprise (though Enterprise was extremely professional about the whole claim filing thing).
Oh, and I wouldn’t have stressed about it as much.