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Car rental CDW insurance covered by credit card companyy

Car rental CDW insurance covered by credit card companyy

Dec 3rd, 2019, 04:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15,140
Car rental CDW insurance covered by credit card companyy

We usually rent 2 to 3 cars a year for travel in Europe (mainly France) since we retired early in 1999. We rent through AutoEurope or Kemwel, and usually end up with a Europcar automobile.

We have always relied on our credit card for CDW insurance (except for rentals in Italy). And have never had an accident - except for this past July. Whether to purchase insurance from the broker (AutoEurope), actual rental company (Europecar) or let the CC cover it - is often a topic on Fodors. So I thought I would chronicle my experience with coverage by the CC company. It was finally resolved just today.

We have a Capital One Master Card

- On our first day in France, someone banged into our rear fender while the car was parked in a parking lot. The car was easy to spot in subsequent parking lots because we could identify it by the dented bumper.

- We returned the car in St Malo on July 7 and notified the agent of the damage, and it was so noted on our "return" papers. We took pictures of the damage, but never needed to provide them to anyone.
- On July 11, a charge of 679 Euros for damages was made by Europcar to our credit card
- On about July 28th we received an invoice by US mail dated July 11 for the 679 E charge
- On August 7 we filed an insurance claim with a company called New Hampshire Insurance Company which I assume is the company MC contracted with to handle claims. They sent us an e-mail specifying the documents we needed to send to them, and the documents they would need from Europcar to process the claim. MC stated that they would contact Europcar to obtain the documents from Europcar.
- We sent MC the documents they needed from us
- On Sept 6, we received an e-mail from MC stating that they received all the documents they needed from us, but they had not received any documents from Europcar.
- On Sept 17, we received another e-mail from MC stating they had not received any documents from Europcar.
- On Oct 6, same as above
- On Nov 5, same as above
- On October 17, we called Capital One (not MC) and initiated a chargeback for the 679 Euros
- On Nov 5, MC received the documents they needed from Europcar, but MC did not notify us that they had received them.
- On Dec 2 we received a nastygram by US mail from Europcar, indicating that their invoice of 679 Euros had been rejected by our credit card company, and if we did not pay them within 14 days, the debt would be passed on to their legal department and we would be placed on their "watchlist" and we would not be able to rent a Europcar anywhere in Europe.
- On Dec 3 we called Europcar and "described" the situation to them and asked that they not hand us off to the lawyers, because we were currently trying to resolve the "debt". We then called MC and found out that they had received info from Europcar on Nov 5, and had just "recently" posted a 679 E credit to our Capital One CC. I checked our CapOne on-line account and discovered that the 679 E credit had just posted that late morning (today). I subsequently went to the Europcar web site and submitted a 679 E payment.

We had to deal with MC/New Hampshire Insurance, Europcar, and Capital One to get this resolved. It took 4 months. I don't know if our "chargeback" triggered any action by Europcar. Both MC/New Hampshire Insurance and Europcar "dragged their feet".

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 04:48 PM.
StuDudley is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 322
Good info, Stu, thank you. We always go with credit card coverage and have only used it once, many years ago in Miami. Our current Chase Sapphire Reserve card acts as primary insurance which is nice if we ever need it.
tracilee is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 10:58 PM
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The procedure has changed or different credit cards handle the reimbursement differently. When we had damage, caused by me, I do not recall dealing with an insurance company in the States, only my credit card company.
Michael is online now  
Dec 3rd, 2019, 11:34 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,094
As CCs usually don't offer such coverage in Germany (I think a few do, like the ones issued by our AAA), I always get full coverage via the "super consolidator" or meta broker. The brand names are different, but it would be like renting on Kayak which brokers Auto Europe (among many others) which eventually gets me a car from Europcar or Hertz or XYZ.
I had two minor claims in the past (both not to be contested/ valid), one worth €150, the other one for €80.
The amount in question got deducted from my CC by the rental car company.
I filed the claim with the super consolidator which relayed it to Auto Europe. Pretty simple procedure through an online form where you'd attach the pdfs of the contract and damage report.
2-4 weeks later, I'd been reimbursed in full.
What I would not have done is to reverse the charge by Europcar, as their claim is legitimate and has nothing to do with how easy or time-consuming it is for you to get your money back from whatever 3rd party like the CC insurer.

P.S. It had just been interesting to learn how expensive it is to replace a scratched plastic hubcap on a Dacia, of all possible makes.

Last edited by Cowboy1968; Dec 3rd, 2019 at 11:37 PM.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2019, 03:09 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I think just about every card and bank handle things differently. When I had a small incident with Europcar a few years ago, I was debited for about 720 euros, but my Gold Mastercard from Carrefour refunded me completely in less than a month without any requirement of paperwork on my part. So much for French bureaucracy.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 4th, 2019, 05:03 AM
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I used to rely on the CC insurance figuring the chances were small that I would get in an accident and therefore the savings would be worth the possible hassle Stu describes. But I realize that even the tiniest scratch can trigger a 'damage' report and even the most microscopic damage can cost hundreds of dollars. I've never had an 'actual' dent or real damage but frequently end up with something that I consider inconsequential (something I would never think of having 'repaired' on my own car). Last summer we had a literally less than one half inch fleck of paint on the door edge resulting in the rental company writing it up. I'm not sure that would have resulted in them charging us but I was really glad we had the zero deductible insurance so I never had to find out.
isabel is offline  
Dec 4th, 2019, 05:20 AM
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Generally, cc insurance reimburses you for an amount they consider appropriate. The process is long and complex.

The only cc insurance I use is that offered by American Express. For $25 per rental, you are covered completely.

With any damage, you should fill out a constat, there should be a blank copy in the glove box, and submit it to the rental company with returning the vehicle. The constat is your official explanation of what occurred, the back side is in English. Your insurance company will also need a copy.

If you are in an accident which is not your fault, you should also go to the local Préfecture and obtain a Déclartion de main courrante, officially absolving you of any liability. Having this will speed up the claims process very quickly.
Sarastro is offline  
Dec 4th, 2019, 05:39 AM
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Actually there is another part to my story. (A Gold Mastercard from Carrefour costs just 50 euros a year and there is no need to subscribe to any additional insurance to cover a car rental.) About 3 months after my little accident, Europcar spontaneously refunded the full 720 euros to me as well. I didn't know who had made a mistake, so I just kept my mouth shut.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 4th, 2019, 05:57 AM
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Good info, thanks Stu. Easy to see how if you'd not been persistent you would have ended up footing the 679E charge. I wonder if that's their approach - paperwork or just delay the customer do death until they quit the claim.
J62 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2019, 09:05 AM
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Stu's info has been SO VERY helpful over the years, I thought I'd add my 2 cents.
Maybe 12 years ago, or so, we were driving up a curving, rising 2 lane mountainroad in Slovakia when I noticed in the rear-view mirror someone passing in a no-passing zone. Eventually she came behind me, then pulled out to pass me on a curve. At first I moved a little left, thinking to block her from doing so. She continued, driving in part on the sloping shoulder of the other (oncoming) lane. She gunned it, pulling abreast of my car, and when she saw an oncoming car, swerved to the right, shmooshing the entire left side of my car, and her right side. She gunned it more, I braked to let her in (by this time I was on the sloping right shoulder somewhat), and she proceeded ahead. I honked numerous times, motioning to pull over, but she ignored my signalling for perhaps 3 miles. Eventually at an intersection she pulled over and stopped. The police were called, over her objection, and about 20 minutes later arrived. While we were waiting, my partner attempted to engage the woman in conversation....with no knowledge of the Slovak language. College German came into play. Meanwhile I was drawing up the World's Best Accident Diagram of all Time, figuring it could help lower language barriers. The Slovak cops came in about 20 minutes, and one began interviewing the other driver, and one began interviewing me. Breathalyzer tests were administered. My cop, it turned out, had spent a year in police training in Pittsburgh for some reason, so his English was quite good. Reports signed, she was given a 100 euro ticket on the spot, and we left.

We took numerous photos of the damage before turning in the car. We have a Chase Visa card, so called the number on the back of the card the day of the accident. We sent in the photos (our left side was caved in from back to front, looking like we'd driven a mile against a rock wall), with a copy of the police report, upon returning home. When a bill came from the car rental company, we immediately objected, with e-mail to both the rental firm and Chase. About 3 weeks later the charge appeared on our Visa bill.....4,800 euros. We immediately filed a chargeback, putting the debt in temporary abeyance. About 2 weeks later the credit from the rental company was posted on our Visa bill....netting to zero. Somehow we wound up with 4800 miles added to our balance. Long story short, relying on the credit card insurance was worth it. Obviously during the month between the accident and the final credit, one wonders, "will this all work out as purported?", but it did.Chase was true to its advertising regarding accident coverage.
tomboy is offline  
Dec 4th, 2019, 09:58 AM
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It definitely proves that some credit cards are more reliable than others. The only problem is that in most cases you need to have an accident to find out.

However, I am surprised, tomboy, that your deductible was so huge. In France, for "normal" cars (rather than luxury models), I don't think I have ever seen a deductible higher than 1000 euros.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 4th, 2019, 04:24 PM
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Deductible? I declined the car rental company's offer of insurance, relying only on the Chase Sapphire card insurance.
tomboy is offline  
Dec 4th, 2019, 08:32 PM
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In France, 'basic' insurance is always included in the rate. One's option is to decline the CDW.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 5th, 2019, 05:53 AM
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We always rented through AutoEurope, paid with an AMEX card, and declined the basic insurance, because why would we need to pay for it? Even 1,000 euros deductible seems unnecessary. In 30+ years of renting cars we had two minor problems - a smashed side mirror and a front bumper damaged by kids who decided that jumping up and down on our car was a fun idea. AMEX paid it all quickly with absolutely no hassles.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 5th, 2019, 07:53 AM
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If you try to rent a car on avis.fr, the limited CDW with €1,000 deductible is always included and cannot be declined.
The only thing you can do, is add the SuperCDW so your deductible goes down to zero.
That's also been my experience with rentals in other European countries.
Even with super low rates like €50 for a whole weekend, the CDW with 1K deductible had always been included.
Maybe you get different offers when you make the reservation through a US website?
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2019, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2019
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Thanks Stu, this is helpful. We also use our CC to cover CDW when renting cars in France as well as the UK. Fortunately we’ve never had to call on the card for damage to the car and I always breath a huge sigh of relief when turning the cars in unmarked. We recently did a three week rental in northern France and Belgium. This was, I think, the sixth time we’ve rented from Europcar through Auto Europe. We’ve never had a problem but this time the car had mechanical problems and the return to the Europcar agency was hugely complicated by a Yellow Jacket demonstration which shut down the highway, prevented refueling the car and ended up in a big financial penalty to me. After we returned home I followed up with Auto Europe who then followed up with Europcar. Europcar responded quickly and resolved the issue in a very fair and equitable manner. I would not hesitate to rent from either organization in the future.
CdnMaple is offline  
Dec 7th, 2019, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Cowboy1968 View Post
Maybe you get different offers when you make the reservation through a US website?
Absolutely! Use a US website, or select a US residence, and the higher liability and basic collision offered free to EU residents disappear from the offered rate— but the price stays the same.
tom_mn is offline  
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