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Old Jul 3, 05, 12:37 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Caution: Car Rental Coverage

I guess I learnt the hard way. I had a big dent on a rental car and filed a claim through the credit card I reserved and paid on (SPG AMEX). I had some free rental day coupons from Hertz and used them to pay for the rentals days, so the only charge that went on the AMEX was the $12 facility charges (rented at SFO). I got a ltter back from AMEX insurance stating that my claim to cover the car is denied because I did not pay for the rental FULLY on the credit card but used coupons to pay for it.

So if this happens to someone else in the future, I'd say do not turn in the coupons/free rentals days when you return the car if there has been damage to the car. My bill from Hertz is for $760, so not terrible but I sure would have liked AMEX to pickup the tab. I would have been out around $80 as compared to $760 if I had paid attention to the AMEX policy in advance.

I did call AMEX to argue but was told to call back during a weekday. I don't see myself having much luck winning this argument as I did use those rental days and their policy does state that the rental must be paid in FULL on the AMEX. If someone does have any ideas that would help, I sure am open to suggestions.
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Old Jul 4, 05, 7:47 am   #2
 
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The AMEX car rental coverage is pretty weak, and the reason I continue to maintain a Diners Club account. First of all, the AMEX coverage is secondary, so if you own a car you must submit the claim under your own car insurance coverage first, and AMEX will only pay anything unpaid (i.e. your deductible). Obviously this risks boosting the rates on your personal insurance. Second, unless AMEX has changed things, this "pay for the entire rental" rule is much stricter than Diner's. Diners allows you to use coupons as long as there remains a charge for at least one day which is billed to your Diners. So if you have a free weekend day coupon and use it on a two day rental with Diners you are still covered. Rent for only one day and use the coupon and like AMEX there is no coverage.

As far as your current problem, it sounds like they are correctly denying coverage under the terms of the program. Best I can suggest is getting the full terms and conditions and seeing if there is some exception or technicality you can shape your claim to fit under. Nothing comes to mind though.
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Old Jul 4, 05, 9:10 am   #3
 
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zakami:

Thanks for making us aware. In most cases Hertz collects the vouchers when you pick up the car, right?
In such a situation I am going to ask for CDW....

Regarding credit cards for car rentals, I always use Visa, Amexco has some countries excluded, which Visa doesn't exclude....and I don't have a Diners Club.
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Old Jul 4, 05, 9:33 am   #4
 
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Hope I don't look like I'm going overboard defending Amex, but it only makes sense that they will only provide benefits if you use their card. This is true for other things as well as car insurance....Platinum benefits such as extra flight insurance, double warranty on purchases, replacement on stolen purchases, etc. do not apply unless the card is used. It is very clearly stated and no one could expect otherwise. They have agreements with whatever insurance companies are involved here (I don't know the specifics, may be they're self-insured) and as such these companies will not honor a claim unless there is some connection to Amex. If you have insurance with State Farm you don't call Allstate. In other words, they are providing you the benefit of insurance and the premium is that you charge on their card. USAFAN, check out the CDW charges, which can be pretty high, versus the cost per day for rental which you would save with a voucher. The OP could try to make a case that any charge would entitle him to insurance, but I don't think they're going to go for it.

Last edited by VA747; Jul 4, 05 at 10:36 am.. Reason: content
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Old Jul 4, 05, 12:00 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zakami
denied because I did not pay for the rental FULLY on the credit card but used coupons to pay for it.
I would fight this one. You did pay FULLY on the card. 12.00 or 1200.00 should not make a difference. If you would have kept the car one more day, would they have then covered it?

The fact is- you used the card to pay 100% of the cash portion of the rental. The coupons gave you a DISCOUNT but did not PAY 100% of the rental cost. I would not let up at all on this...
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Old Jul 4, 05, 12:08 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA747
Platinum benefits such as extra flight insurance, double warranty on purchases, replacement on stolen purchases, etc. do not apply unless the card is used.
Correct- the OP used his card! There was a charge made on it for the rental.

If someone gave you a amazon.com gift cert for 100.00 and you purchaed something from them for 120.00 and used your amex.. should you get double the warranty?.. yep....

If I use points for a reward airline ticket but use my plat amex to pay the 90.00 in taxes.. should I get the insurance??????? I think so!
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Old Jul 4, 05, 1:13 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigS
If someone gave you a amazon.com gift cert for 100.00 and you purchaed something from them for 120.00 and used your amex.. should you get double the warranty?.. yep....

If I use points for a reward airline ticket but use my plat amex to pay the 90.00 in taxes.. should I get the insurance??????? I think so!
For the first situation, it's quite clear that you will not get the double warranty because payment must be in full using the Amex card. Presumably this policy is to prevent someone from charging $1 of the purchase to their Amex and the rest to a different credit card (probably more valuable in the old days when these features weren't standard on Visa/MC as well). A GC is quite clearly payment.

For the OP's situation and the latter situation, it's not as clear cut. My feeling is that a coupon should not count as partial payment because it is simply providing a discount to the price rather than actually paying part of the value. Similarly, you would not expect the double warranty promo to be invalidated because an item is on sale. I'm not sure of the exact nature of the coupon the OP used, but depending on the wording there (and on the final bill he received from Hertz), he may or may not have a case.

Unfortunately, there is often a difference between what a company should do and what a company actually does...
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Old Jul 4, 05, 3:29 pm   #8
 
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The OP stated that he had *free* coupons and that "the only charge on my AMEX was a $12 facility charge". I don't think this constitutes payment for the rental, unless I don't understand exactly what sort of coupons he had. Discount coupons should be perfectly all right, unless there is some exclusion for that which I doubt. I have also been told on several occasions, by the insurance division of AMEX, that you do not get insurance on an award ticket, even though you pay taxes. I have a Platinum Card, by the way. About ten years ago I was offered and signed up for FF insurance with AMEX. Have called within last couple of years to see if policy has changed and been told I have the proper insurance in place for an award ticket. It's only a few dollars per ticket and unless nobody at AMEX knows what they're talking about, it's necessary as far as I can tell. If anyone has any additional info on this, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Last edited by VA747; Jul 4, 05 at 3:41 pm.. Reason: content
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Old Jul 4, 05, 6:48 pm   #9
 
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I work in product design for one of our nation's largest auto insurers, so I thought I'd take a stab at this one.

First off, yes, the Amex coverage is secondary to your primary insurance but if you have no primary insurance Amex becomes primary.

You did not say what the cause of your rental ding was. In many cases, if it was not your fault (e.g. done in a shopping center car park by a driver whom you did not see) then you can claim on your personal insurance under comprehensive coverage. The claims you want to avoid are collision coverages (overturn, moving accident w/ another driver involved, running off the road, etc) because they can, in some states that allow it, raise your insurance rates. Comprehensive claims do not work this way.

Talk to your insurance company and tell them about your accident. They will probably be miffed that you didn't notify them immediately of any loss but there is paperwork you can fill out to get around this. If you explain your circumstances they'll understand (at least they should understand!).

As far as Amex not covering your claim because you used coupons, you would have to read the contract for their insurance to determine whether you are eligible for benefits or not. Unless they specifically excluded coupon use, you might be able to argue that they should cover you.

I'd call your insurance company and spell things out, a good claims rep could certainly be of use to you here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zakami
I guess I learnt the hard way. I had a big dent on a rental car and filed a claim through the credit card I reserved and paid on (SPG AMEX). I had some free rental day coupons from Hertz and used them to pay for the rentals days, so the only charge that went on the AMEX was the $12 facility charges (rented at SFO). I got a ltter back from AMEX insurance stating that my claim to cover the car is denied because I did not pay for the rental FULLY on the credit card but used coupons to pay for it.

So if this happens to someone else in the future, I'd say do not turn in the coupons/free rentals days when you return the car if there has been damage to the car. My bill from Hertz is for $760, so not terrible but I sure would have liked AMEX to pickup the tab. I would have been out around $80 as compared to $760 if I had paid attention to the AMEX policy in advance.

I did call AMEX to argue but was told to call back during a weekday. I don't see myself having much luck winning this argument as I did use those rental days and their policy does state that the rental must be paid in FULL on the AMEX. If someone does have any ideas that would help, I sure am open to suggestions.
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Old Jul 5, 05, 2:43 am   #10
 
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Thanks everyone. I do not know how the ding was caused. The car was parked on a street in SF and found the ding a couple of hours later. Not a clue as to how it was caused. I did go through the policy and do not see an exclusion for coupons, so I will try to argue that. In the meantime, I guess I will go pay Hertz and see if I can later get reimbursed by AMEX. AMEX had originally said that they would work with Hertz directly.

As to the coupon (they were applied on the receipt as coupon), it was a free weekend (2 days).
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Old Jul 5, 05, 8:53 am   #11
 
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Zakami, I am so glad Amex said they will work with you.....that gives you a chance. Also, the comprehensive insurance advice was good and another way to go if Amex doesn't come through. Just got off the phone with CSR at AMEX and insurance for award tickets is indeed not available unless you have enrolled in FATO, that is Frequent Airline Travelers Insurance. It a once a year charge of $8.99 and provides all coverages you would otherwise have. The rep had to check with the insurance division, though, before she could confirm it was on my account. Read the coverage section on warranty protection and it states *full* payment on AMEX for any product purchased just as a previous poster said. The benefits are there, just more complicated to understand than anyone would want.
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Old Jul 5, 05, 9:31 am   #12
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Quote:
Just got off the phone with CSR at AMEX and insurance for award tickets is indeed not available unless you have enrolled in FATO, that is Frequent Airline Travelers Insurance. It a once a year charge of $8.99 and provides all coverages you would otherwise have.
I don't think I've ever seen an Amex insurance product that's only $8.99/*year* ... Mind telling us more details?
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Old Jul 5, 05, 10:30 am   #13
 
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I don't have any more details at the moment, but will try to get them. But this is as close as possible to what I remember adding to my account ten years ago. Apparently it is the only way award tickets can be covered. Checked with Diner's and they provide no coverage for award tickets nor any means to add the ability to cover them. Will try to find out more from Insurance Division.
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Old Jul 5, 05, 11:03 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyzzy
I don't think I've ever seen an Amex insurance product that's only $8.99/*year* ... Mind telling us more details?
My bet is on $8.99 per rental contract not an annual fee.
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Old Jul 5, 05, 12:53 pm   #15
 
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According to Amex the FATO coverage is provided as follows:

It is billed *annually* on the date of enrollment and is graduated as to level of coverage.
$500,000 flight insurance is $8.99
$1,000,000 is $14.99
$1,500,000 is 20.99
This is only for flight insurance. No baggage insurance coverage is available on an award ticket, even for a Platinum Card or even if you have purchased additional coverage billed per ticket. Taxes do not count as any form of purchase. Actually this makes sense, since we do not receive points from hotels for taxes. Until today I was unaware that baggage coverage was not included in the annual fee I have paid. That's as much info as I have. If anyone has any more, please advise.
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