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In case you wondered what happens if you have an accident in a rental car and declined everything.

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Mar 27th, 2008, 03:00 PM
  #1
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In case you wondered what happens if you have an accident in a rental car and declined everything.

In early November I had an accident in a rental car that was my fault. Well the fault of another driver who cut me off while decelerating, but he or she was not in the accident.

Following the instructions with my VISA card, I had declined all additional coverage. I normally drive a company car, so I have no personal auto insurance to fall back on.

Down side: Following the accident, Budget Rental lied to me and played games turning a bad experience into a nightmare.

Up side: Visa services called yesterday and they have reached an agreement on a number with Budget, and are issuing a check resolving the liability. I am probably better off not having had insurance of my own (one less company involved), but it was scarry at first.

Keith
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Mar 27th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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Here is our story:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=34909718

We use AMEX card now.

Deb
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Mar 27th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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The CDW is collision damage waiver. It is not liability insurance. You still need liability insurance, Keith.

When I drive my car, my insurance would pay for collision damage to my car. If I wiped out the pink flamingo on your front lawn, then my liability insurance would apply.

When I rent a car, charge it to my Amex, and choose the collision damage waiver, then the Amex insurance company would pay for the collision damage to the rental car. My liability insurance would still pay for the pink flamingo.
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Mar 27th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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How did you know he had a pink flamingo on his lawn??
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Mar 27th, 2008, 05:40 PM
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It wasn't me! I didn't hit it.
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Mar 27th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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I just read DebitNM's post. I guess you actually decline the CDW. That is choosing not to take the rental car company's insurance, the CDW. I would assume that is collision coverage to their vehicle only and has no liability insurance.
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Mar 27th, 2008, 05:58 PM
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I typically take the insurance they offer... Today I picked up a local rental from Enterprise. All said and done it will be 305.00 for the whole week for a full size car. I can total it and walk away without any claims or hassle.
I'll be using a valet 14 times in the next week and driving 15 hours or so... To me it is worth it.
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Mar 27th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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Pls researc carefully: even AMEX has restrictionn: they wil not honor rentals for some SUVS etc.overseas certain countries....RULE # 1 know before you go!!!

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Mar 27th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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"I'll be using a valet 14 times in the next week"

If the valet damages the car I suspect the CDW will not cover any loss.

I have my own rental car story. My VISA card covers damage to rental cars but the CDW must be declined. While on vacation got a flat tire which had to be replaced. Called VISA immediately and was told to have the tire replaced, charge it to the VISA card, keep the receipt and after the vacation send in a copy of the rental agreement, receipt for the tire and copy of my VISA bill. I did all this and within 30 days received a check for the entire amount. It really was not a problem. I was expecting it to be a hassle but it was not.
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Mar 27th, 2008, 08:35 PM
  #10
 
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We have a Southwest Visa. Do all Visa cards help cover rental accidents?? This is all new to me. We are renting a car in San Francisco in June and I appreciate any advice.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 12:41 AM
  #11
 
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My advice is to get the information that is specific to the card that you have.

When you got the card it came with a small pamphlet with a lot of writing on it. Read it. Look for the part about Collision Damage Waiver or Loss Damage Waiver.

You can call the card issuer at the customer service number on the back. They can help; they should explain it. You can ask them to send you a new copy of the terms and conditions of your card.

The information is probably online, too, at the website of the bank that issued the card. In your case it would be chase.com

Here is an EXAMPLE of the information:
http://tinyurl.com/yorvjw
See the part about what is covered. If something is not listed there, then it is not covered. You'll see that it is all about the car: physical damage or theft.

If you run over the bird bath in Waldo's yard then that is not covered by the Visa coverage (or by the CDW if you had taken it instead). That is where the liability insurance comes in.

At the following link is information about coverage avialable from Avis. It has an example of the description of the coverages available. Your Visa doesn't tell you to decline all "additional coverage" as Keith said. It would tell you to decline the CDW or LDW which is only part of the insurance need. http://tinyurl.com/yu8aht
See the part about liability and property damage and the part about PAI.

If you have car insurance then you could call your agent/company and ask about coverage. You probably have (by law, I think) liability coverage. Ask your agent how/if that covers you when you drive a rental. You may or may not have collision coverage if you have a car.

Budget makes a nice profit from selling the CDW and if there is a collision they probably get reimbursed well and quickly (or they may be self-insuring) from their insurer. When the insurance comes from outside I could see that they might not be happy - they actually had to negotiate an agreement with Visa. So maybe they make Keith feel the pain so that he buys the CDW next time.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 03:44 AM
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We were on a trip out west 1-1/2 years ago and rented a car from one of the big rental firms, using VISA.

When we returned the car at the airport, the agent refused to go check the car with me, saying "It's not necessary", so I paid, he stamped my bill PAID, and we left. (I thought it was odd that he did not want to look the car over.)

When we got home, we had 2 calls from them about some "damage" found, even though we were very sure there had been none!

It was an aggravation for a while! My insurance company would not help "because the claim is less than your deductible of $500". However, I contacted VISA and they were great! Got the forms to fill out, submitted them, they promptly paid for the "damage", and even sent me a copy of the check (draft) they sent to the rental agency.

One kicker: should you have a problem like this, you MUST contact VISA within a certain period of time, and actually file the claim with all available info within another time limit. I almost missed the deadlines.

As stated, know what your credit card entitles you to, and also check with your own insurance agent before you go on your trip.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 06:21 AM
  #13
 
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I have the additional coverage through my American Express card. It costs $24.95 (or something like that) per rental when paid with AmEx (not per day). It steps in before my personal insurance to cover all the collision-type stuff (not liability) before my primary insurance would. My regular insurance completely covers me in a rental just like it would in my own car. Seems like a pretty good deal, but I might be mistaken.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 09:21 AM
  #14
yk
 
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RetiredVermonter - Would you care to share which Car Rental company it was?

One question I never seemed to be able to get the answer:
What if I rent the car thru a third-party, such as Priceline or Hotwire? I pay for the car rental with AMEX, but will AMEX cover the damages if I decline the CDW? I've heard stories that people got a car rental using a voucher (part of a package) and for some reason, CCs don't cover that.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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Be extrememely careful about documenting the condition of the car when you pick it up. I picked up a car with discoloration of the fabric seats from salt water (probably people sitting in the car with wet bathing suits). The agency, Alamo, tried to make me pay saying I had damaged the upholstry. I had actually taken picutes of the seats with my digital camera when I picked it up and confronted them with it. They backed down.

Now, I always take at least 6 photos of the rental when I pick it up - front, back, sides, and interior x 2.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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yk - good question about Priceline

I'm not sure how that would work.
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Mar 28th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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great info; thanks.
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Mar 30th, 2008, 09:56 AM
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lakeside77 if you have coverage for rental cars with your regular car insurance why do you pay for that amex coverage?
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Mar 30th, 2008, 11:00 AM
  #19
 
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My wife and I are considering all of it...if it's worth it or not. For $25 for the total rental, then I don't have to worry about anything if there's a wreck - it doesn't go to my insurance. And we probably only rent a car once or twice a year, so we wouldn't be paying the $25 all the time. It just seems worth the extra coverage when we're in unfamiliar areas for a week.
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Mar 30th, 2008, 11:03 AM
  #20
 
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update to "yk":

I called the additional coverage through AmEx and asked them about Priceline/Hotwire. Obviously the charge comes across as "Priceline," so they don't know it's a car rental. They told me to just call in and tell them that I have a car rental charge coming in through Priceline, and they would apply the $25 charge for coverage on that rental.

Also - the $25 plan through AmEx makes it primary to any insurance, not secondary. It also covers Loss of Use fees if the company provides the fleet info, but I understand that almost never happens.
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