One of our reader’s recently had the misfortune of getting minor damage to a recent car rental however his American Express EveryDay card helped save him $250 in damages. He was kind enough to share his experience for an article that may serve as a guide to other readers incase they have a similar or worse misfortune with regards to a car rental.
Booking the rental
As a regular, I had rented a full size car from Enterprise – a 2019 Nissan Altima – for the weekend and had made the reservation under my AMEX EveryDay no-annual fee credit card. The rental cost me roughly $45/day and I only paid for liability insurance – required by Texas state law and declined CDW at the counter (as noted in the benefits guide of the credit card).
While I was driving along the freeway, a vehicle in front of me momentarily lost control, started skidding but the driver luckily regained control. Unfortunately for me, despite driving at a safe distance, the vehicle flung dirt and pebbles off of the road as it regained control which hit my car’s windshield thus causing a crack on the driver’s side.
I pulled over to the side, inspected the damages, took pictures and proceeded to drive to my destination.
Returning the rental
Upon returning the rental, I informed the serviceman at the Enterprise counter and they placed a $500 charge on my account which I negotiated down to $250 (citing I was a regular customer and it was a freak-yet-minor accident).
Calling American Express Benefits Administrator
The Benefits guide states that the renter should inform/report any damages at the earliest possible time within a 30 day timeframe from the date of the accident. Naturally, I called up American Express after returning the car and they asked me to go to the car rental claims website: www.yourcarrentalclaim.com and submit the necessary required documents such as photographic/video-graphic proof, proof of rental agreement and any other information I could provide.
After filing my claim, I was provided a reference number which I shared with Enterprise. I was told the process can take a few weeks however in a couple of days I noticed that my claim had been settled and I had been credited the $250 deductible in damages I paid to Enterprise. Needless to say I was impressed by the quick turn around time and happy this was now behind me and no longer a concern.
Looking back at the incident, I am relieved that the customer service from American Express was top notch and helped pay for damages to the car rental. As a current full time enrolled international student, $250 is almost a months worth of groceries and had I had a card like the Discover IT or Deserve card which do not have this (free) CDW perk, I would’ve been in a pickle.
The credit card’s insurance was secondary coverage but given the fact I did not own a car/have car insurance (or have collision/comprehensive coverage of any sort) defacto made the insurance primary.
If you have car insurance which includes comprehensive/collision coverage then that would take precedence. However, cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, United MileagePlus, etc…, all come with primary CDW covered upto $75,000 (or lower) wherein your car’s insurance will not be affected/touched.
Other credit cards that offer Secondary CDW include (but are not limited to):
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- AMEX Blue Cash
- AMEX Blue Cash Preferred
- AMEX Gold
- AMEX Platinum
- AMEX Hilton Aspire
If you’d like to know how to rent cars for cheap check out my article on that here. To learn how to get elite status with all car rental companies check out this article. Additionally, since we’re on the topic of insuring yourself against accidents, check out this credit card that offers amazing cellphone protections in addition to CDW!