I have rented a few cars this year and have got some killer deals. The first, from Advantage rentacar was just $6.49 a day base rate. Loved it and did get the “hard push” that I should take the full coverage for the car since I would have to pay my deductible if anything went wrong like “with the paint” (the paint? really? ok then). My next rental this year with Enterprise I got a soft push for the full coverage as well but in both these instances I said NO because between my USAA car insurance, that does cover me when I rent a car, and my Chase Sapphire Preferred® card or even my Marriott card I am 100% covered (or so I thought).
As you can see by the graphic from the Chase site, they flat out tell you to “decline the rental company’s collision damage waver coverage“. Well that sounds very nice. But, do you notice the little ” * ” by those words. Humm…. The card member agreement, HERE, does not talk about it much.
So the little star takes you to the above page. It says to take you to your “Guide to benefits” to find out more information. OK so what does THAT thing say? Here is where you need to understand the card benefits.
The rental coverage is NOT, again NOT, from Chase but from VISA itself. As we all know, there are many companies that use the VISA logo. The good news is that almost ANY VISA will do to get this perk. “This benefit is available on all Visa Standard Credit, Visa Rewards Credit, and Visa Premium Rewards cards.” You can download HERE a PDF of the full info I will be touching on next.
There are a BUNCH of “got ya’s” that you MUST think about. Here are the big ones:
1) “Any additional drivers permitted by the auto rental agreement are covered”
Make sure if you let ANYONE drive they are on the contract as an authorized driver (not that you ever let anyone else drive it anyway right).
2) “Only vehicle rental periods that neither exceed nor are intended to exceed fifteen (15) consecutive days within your country of residence or thirty-one (31) consecutive days outside your country of residence are covered. “
Only 15 days in the USA and 31 days outside the USA! If you rent longer, you should switch to another company or it may just be considered to exceed 15/31 days (but even this has risks – there is another tip I will cover later).
3) “For the benefit to be in effect, you must: Initiate and complete the entire rental transaction with your eligible Visa card, and decline the auto rental company’s collision damage waiver (CDW/LDW) option, or similar provision.”
I reached out to VISA about this, and they said, points or cash is all fine with Ultimate Rewards so either way is AOK. But I would to be sure pay something with your card to show points and card was used.
4) “You must make every reasonable effort to protect the rental vehicle from theft or damage.”
Even after a wreck, keep in mind you are responsible for THAT CAR!
5) “Theft or damage due to intentional acts, or due to the driver(s) being under the influence of alcohol, intoxicants, or drugs, or due to contraband or illegal activities.”
It is totally stupid and criminal to drink and drive but if you do, and crash, don’t expect VISA to pay for anything!
6) “Confiscation by authorities.”
I have been told nightmare stories from Mexico and other places. Watch out, outside the USA or if you are dumb enough to do worse things covered in point #5 while you have the car!
7) “Theft or damage from rental transactions which originated in Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland”
Along with point #6 this is good info to know!
8 ) “expensive, exotic, and antique automobiles; certain vans; vehicles that have an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles.” – “However, selected models of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Lincoln are covered.” – “This benefit is provided for only those vans manufactured and designed to transport a maximum of eight (8) people including the driver and which is used exclusively to transport people.”
Be careful what type of vehicle you rent. It may not be covered. To be safe, you can call VISA to see if your car is covered before you get there. If the company offers you another car, VISA is open 24/7 so to be rock solid sure you can call and confirm that your rental is in fact covered.
9) “You, the cardholder, are responsible for reporting your claim to the Benefit Administrator immediately, but in no event later than forty-five (45) days* from the date of theft or damage, or your claim may be denied.”
This sounds simple but they had better be one of the first people you call. And I would write down who you talked to and the reps employee “ID” number too!
10 ) “A copy of the accident report form.” – “A police report, if obtainable.”
This is important. I would always call the cops. Even in a “no fault” state, get a report to be safe.
So there you are. This is a great perk from VISA and if we know the above, we should be able to enjoy saying “NO” to the additional insurance when they ask you and say that it is covered by my card! But, is this the BEST choice? Should you use your VISA to always rent a car? Or, is say your DELTA AMEX RESERVE card a better choice or maybe a MasterCard? I will cover all this on Thursday! – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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