Dinged! $692 for a Tiny Rental Car Dent…How I Escaped This Outrageous Charge

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Dinged! $692 for a Tiny Rental Car Dent…How I Escaped This Outrageous Charge

Million Mile SecretsDinged! $692 for a Tiny Rental Car Dent…How I Escaped This Outrageous ChargeMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Team member Harlan told me how primary rental car insurance from his Chase Sapphire Reserve card saved him nearly $700 after he noticed a small ding on the door.

I haven’t had experience with the claims process.  So I asked him to share what happened!

Dinged 692 For A Tiny Rental Car Dent How I Escaped This Outrageous Charge
Squint and You’ll See It! The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Covered ~$692 to Repair This Ding Thanks to Primary Rental Car Insurance

Harlan:   See that little ding in the photo above?  I was torn whether I should file an incident report.  But in the end, I did.

The following week, I got a call from the rental car agency’s claims department saying I had to pay for the repairs.  Luckily, I paid for the rental with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which comes with primary rental car insurance.

It saved me from paying ~$692 out-of-pocket for this tiny mark!  I’ll share what happened.  And remind you which cards come with primary rental car coverage.

How I Filed My Car Rental Insurance Claim

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve Rental Car Insurance Review

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Benefit

Link:   Start a New Claim

To say I was shocked when I got the final bill for ~$692 is putting it mildly.  The rental car agency explained I was responsible for ANY damage to the vehicle no matter who caused it.

Dinged 692 For A Tiny Rental Car Dent How I Escaped This Outrageous Charge
~$505 for Damage, $112 for Loss of Use, and a $75 Administrative Fee – I Didn’t Pay a Dime of Any of It!

Chase made it easy to start my claim online.  And it only took a few minutes to upload the required documents, including:

  • A copy of the Accident Report or police report and the rental agency’s statement of claim document, which should indicate the costs you are responsible for and any amounts that have been paid toward the claim
  • A copy of the initial and final car rental agreement(s)
  • A copy of the repair estimate or itemized repair bill
  • Two photographs of the damaged vehicle, if available

I already had these documents in various emails.  So it was just a matter of saving the files and uploading them.  And I looked through my phone for photos I took of the ding.  All told, it only took a few minutes to upload the files.

Rental car coverage with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is primary.  That means I didn’t have to involve my personal car insurance company.  Instead, Chase would cover up to $75,000 in damage because I paid for the entire rental charge with my card.  That’s an incredible benefit!

It was also one I was hoping to never use.  I put the Chase claims department in touch with the car rental agency’s claims department.  It was as easy as giving representatives from each company the claim numbers and each other’s contact information.

Dinged 692 For A Tiny Rental Car Dent How I Escaped This Outrageous Charge
Make Sure to Take Lots of Pictures If You Have an Incident. And Keeping Good Records Was Instrumental in Getting the Claim Finished

Three months later, I got another call that everything was taken care of.  I never paid a single buck toward the vehicle’s repair, loss of use, or any other fees.

This incident – and how easy it was resolved – has convinced me why it’s extremely important to always pay for car rentals with a card that includes primary rental car coverage!  And to take lots of photos should anything happen.  Also, keep every piece of paper – including rental agreements, reservation details, and incident reports – in case anything like this ever happens to you!

Which Cards Include Primary Car Rental Insurance?

Here are some cards to consider if you rent cars with any frequency.

Always remember to check the benefits guide so you know what’s covered (and what’s NOT!), how much your coverage is worth, and any other important information.  To use the coverage, it’s important you waive or decline the insurance from the car rental agency, usually called a collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss damage waiver (LDW).

1.   Chase

Dinged 692 For A Tiny Rental Car Dent How I Escaped This Outrageous Charge
Chase Has the Most Cards With Primary Rental Car Coverage, Like the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred

2.   Citi

Note:   The Citi Prestige® CardCiti Premier Card, and Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card have primary car rental insurance for rentals outside the US.

3.   Other Cards

Keep in mind, you can enroll for free in the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program.  But you’ll pay ~$25 (~$18 for California residents) per rental for up to 42 consecutive rental days (30 consecutive rental days for Washington State cardholders).

Primary rental car coverage also comes with the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card (except in Israel, Jamaica, Ireland, and Northern Ireland).

You get primary rental car insurance worldwide (except where prohibited by law) when you pay for your rental car with your Diners Club card (not available to new applicants).  You can also get primary rental car insurance when you pay with your JP Palladium card (only available to invited Chase Private Bank customers).

Here’s my guide with more information.

Bottom Line

Team member Harlan used the primary rental car coverage included with his Chase Sapphire Reserve card when he spotted a ding on his rental car.  This benefit ended up saving him ~$692 in repairs and fees!

He spent a few minutes uploading documents to submit his claim.  And Chase worked directly with the car rental agency to take care of it for him!  This experience convinced him how important it is to use a card with primary rental car insurance every time he rents a car!

A few cards with this perk include:

If you ever rent cars, this perks lets you file a claim without having to involve your personal insurance company.  And it can save you a lot of money if you ever have an incident!

If you’ve used your card’s rental car insurance, how did your experience compare?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I just went through a similar experience with Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Benefit Services. They are trying to settle with Alamo for a door ding and won’t cover the full $100 administrative fee, the loss of use has been knocked down by about half, and excludes sales tax of $11.

So Alamo says I’m still on the hook for $127. This was the first time I have gone through this, but just so you know, it’s not as simple as Chase just taking care of it. They don’t want to pay the whole thing, and they send a settlement to the car rental company in hopes they will accept a lower amount, which so far they haven’t. So I don’t know what will happen, but for now I’m just waiting for the claims person to call me back and explain.

If you read the CDW documents from Chase, it doens’t give a formula for loss of use or admin fees, and nowhere does it state that sales tax is excluded. I don’t know why this is so difficult and I have probably spent more time trying to get answers when I should just pay the difference and call it a day. But it’s the principle and I’m trying to understand why some people say Chase paid the entire thing while I am being nickel and dimed …

I am from a pro dent repair shop. Those dents aren’t considered as “dent” in our store. Those are too tiny to see it. I own a BMW 535i 2013.I have few of “TINY” dents on my front 2 doors, 1 back door, and few on rear and front bumpers. And it is okay. I don’t fix them because it is waste of time and you can barely notice it. As an owner of the pro dent repair shop, those are really hard to notice.

and those aren’t big of a deal, every car owners has those problems.

I’ve unloaded before here about the critical importance of renting cars with a credit card that offers primary coverage….

Even then, the scams afoot are often horrendous. Quick lessons I’d add to the comments below:

Never, ever trust a car rental agency’s “quick returns” process. Insist on someone inspecting the car in your presence. If they refuse (like if you’re at a small airport with only one person is staffing the counter), try to force them to put that in writing…. that they were too lazy/understaffed to inspect the vehicle when you returned it. If nothing else, make sure you take lots and lots of detailed digital pictures of all sides….

Had a very bad experience with National Car rental once…. turned the car in just before midnight …. and had inspected the car under bright lights myself when I filled it with gas and all was well. Got a bizarre call next afternoon, saying they had discovered a football sized dent just under the passenger side door — 15 hours later. No way I could “prove” I didn’t do it….. Who knows, maybe it got banged up when the car was washed next day? Or another car might have hit it after I left….? Or maybe one of the kids working the rental agency took it for a joy ride?

I couldn’t “prove” an alternative explanation…. In effect, you can be held liable for damages even after you turn the car in — and that’s just outrageous. Only protection I can think of is to insist/demand/ be stubborn! that the car be inspected, in your presence, when you turn the car in….

They don’t always fix them, but this one they will to sell the car and keep it in rental condition. If it’s a budget rental agency, they may let it slide until it hits the auction and the purchasing dealer will most likely fix it.

Some items, like scuffs and wheel rash they typically won’t fix as they are expensive to do so, but less objectionable to buyers.

Unfortunately, where that ding is, PDR or other less expensive remedies really won’t work. It will be expensive.

I’m curious to know whether they actually fixed that ding. I’ve rented many cars where I’ve found small dents and made a note of it. That seems to indicate the agencies don’t fix those. And $692 is an outrageous charge for a tiny dent. Someone once hit my car which broke a tail light and dented the entire back door. Total cost to fix and replace was $1,000.

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