Is the MasterRental benefit all it's cracked up to be?
March 18, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Question about the "MasterRental" rental insurance benefit that most of us have on our MasterCards.

I was looking through the MasterRental benefit that came with my credit card and was thinking "joy! now I can decline the costly LDWs when I'm renting a car."

However I got to reading the fine print and saw "coverage is secondary to any other applicable insurance or coverage available to you." So it sounds like what would happen is if I do damage the rental car or the rental place blames me for some ding that I didn't do, MasterRental would tell me to use my own insurance, leaving me holding the bag and having to either pay cash or get a black mark with my insurance company.

Is this the case? Can anyone shed light on this?
posted by mr. creosote to Work & Money (12 answers total)
 
It is secondary to any other applicable insurance or coverage available to you.

If you have insurance available to you - for instance, if your car insurance covers car rentals, then you must claim on that first. If there is a deductible, you can then go to MasterRental for that.

On the other hand, if you don't have insurance available to you, I believe you can go to MasterRental for the whole shebang.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 11:49 AM on March 18, 2008


OK... I just wanted to confirm that. It sounds like 95% of people wouldn't qualify for using MasterRental because of having their own regular auto insurance. Guess I'll suck it up and continue getting the LDWs.
posted by mr. creosote at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2008


Full text from the adjoining clauses:

* If you or an authorized driver's primary automobile insurance or other indemnity has made payments for a covered loss, MasterRental will cover your deductible and any other eligible amounts not covered by other insurance.
* Coverage is secondary to any other applicable insurance or coverage available to you. Coverage is limited to only those amounts not covered by any other insurance or coverage benefit. Note: In certain parts of the United States and Canada, losses to rental vehicles that are covered by your personal vehicle insurance policy liability section may not be subject to a deductible, which means that you may not receive any benefits from this program. Please contact your insurance provider for full coverage details pertaining to your personal vehicle insurance policy.
* If you have no other insurance or your insurance does not cover you in territories or countries outside of the United States, MasterRental is considered the primary coverage.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 11:53 AM on March 18, 2008


Yes - but your insurance may not cover all types of car rentals (for example, mine doesn't cover rentals in excess of three days, unless my regular car is in the shop)
posted by blue_wardrobe at 11:56 AM on March 18, 2008


If your own car insurance covers rentals, then the MasterCard insurance doesn't and you don't need it to.

If your own car insurance does not cover rentals, then the MasterCard insurance will.

In any case, with any car insurance policy I've ever had, getting the rider to cover rental cars costs as much annually as one day of LDW from the rental agency. There's no reason for you to ever pay for LDW.
posted by winston at 11:59 AM on March 18, 2008


Can I piggyback and ask: Has anyone here actually ever filed a claim for coverage under MasterRental or another credit card program?

I have no car (New Yorker) and thus no car insurance, but rent all the time around the US, since I travel constantly for work. I always decline the LDW/CDW and charge the rental on a MasterCard with the expectation that I am covered (and have been told that I am by the card company) in full for damages.

But since I've never had a wreck in a rental car, I've never had to test it. Anyone out there have experience? Is it a huge hassle? Or is it pretty straightforward?

Seeing as I hate credit card companies, it's not easy to place faith in this "benefit." But it saves me a fortune.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2008


Fourcheese: yes, we had to use this benefit when we were presented with a huge repair bill by Avis for damage that didn't exist when we returned a rental car (that's a whole 'nother story). I talked to both our citibank MC and our regular car insurance, and told them that nobody should pay Avis a dime, as far as I could tell. Seems like we had partial rental insurance on our regular car insurance, and MC said they would cover the deductible if it came to that. For MC I think we filled out one form and sent them verification that we rented the car with the credit card.

The punchline is that after I turned all the info over to State Farm and Mastercard, I never heard another peep about it. We certainly never paid anyone anything, and I don't think our insurer did either. But Mastercard made it seem like it would be a straightforward thing.
posted by Beckminster at 12:29 PM on March 18, 2008


It sounds like 95% of people wouldn't qualify for using MasterRental because of having their own regular auto insurance. Guess I'll suck it up and continue getting the LDWs.

No; you're misunderstanding, I think. The MasterRental would cover your deductible in the event of an accident. The cost to you would be the same as if you had purchased the LDW: zero. With only your own insurance, you're stuck paying the deductible.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:39 PM on March 18, 2008


Can I piggyback and ask: Has anyone here actually ever filed a claim for coverage under MasterRental or another credit card program?

Yes, I have - in the summer of 2005, I rear-ended a flatbed truck in the Dominican Republic. I was at fault. Here's what happened.

I rear-ended truck, which braked too quick for me to stop. Truck driver couldn't wait for a police report (they never would have come anyways, it's the DR) - so he gave us plate number and left. We called Alamo car rental, and let them know - and called MasterRental and let them know as well. We went to the nearest police station (20 miles), and over the course of 2 days, got a police report.

Once Alamo assessed the damage to the car and the repair bill, they charged it to my credit card.

After returning to the US, i filed all of the paperwork (police report, original rental agreement, proof of payment, and proof that my US car insurance didnt cover it - Geico doesnt cover foreign car rentals). I was missing one piece of info that I had to get faxed from Alamo's Santo Domingo office in the Dominican Republic. THAT took forever, because they kept on swearing they sent it to MasterRental, and MasterRental swore they never got the piece of paperwork.

The entire process, because of Alamo-DR screwing up twice, and the wait times, took about 5-6 months. If MasterRental didnt have to deal with Alamo-DR, the process time would have probably have been 3-4 weeks at most.

Once they got everything they needed, I got reimbursed on my credit card for the *entire* cost of the damage that I caused. This did NOT include the labor cost to repair the car (which was like $200 out of 1500 dollars). I'm not sure if that was b/c it was an international rental, or whatever. At that point I was just happy to be done with the whole fiasco (I was a student at the time, and having a $1500 charge on my card for five months did not make me happy).

Not too bad to be honest, for an accident I caused myself. Certainly better than paying $25 a day for LDW.
posted by waylaid at 1:07 PM on March 18, 2008


Just in case it isn't clear, in your case, there's no reason to EVER pay for the LDW.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:37 PM on March 18, 2008


Much appreciated, waylaid and Beckminster. And good to know. Thank you!
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:58 PM on March 18, 2008


My father once filed a claim, after some drunken wahoo climbed all over his rental car in Glasgow and dented the roof, the hood and the trunk. It wasn't covered by the CC because he filed it more than 30 days after the incident. I don't know what happened to the bill, but knowing my dad he just paid it. Anyway, the point is that there are little rules buried in the fine print that you should take a look at as soon as there's an accident, so that you don't get caught with something like this.
posted by Capri at 12:53 PM on March 19, 2008


« Older Non-profit looking for ways to generate revenue   |   treatment of social anxiety disorder in or around... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.