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It's no surprise the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has become a favorite credit card for so many in the points collecting community.
- It has a lucrative signup bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- You'll earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. Travel and dining include Uber, tolls, fast food, fine dining — almost any travel or dining related expense that comes to mind.
- Offers 1:1 transfers to many of the most popular frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs, giving you the opportunity to redeem points for maximum value.
The rewards and flexible points are only part of the value of holding the Sapphire Preferred, as it also comes with an enormous list of benefits. The card offers Trip Interruption, Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance, plus Purchase Protection, and much more.
The benefit we want to focus on today is the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Auto Rental CDW is one of most valuable perks of being a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, and in this post, we want to make sure you understand what it is, who and what it covers, and when and where you receive coverage.
What Is The Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver?
The Auto Rental CDW is a form of insurance will cover you up to the cash value of most rental vehicles for damage caused by a collision or in the case of theft of a rental car. The Auto Rental CDW on the Sapphire Preferred is primary coverage, meaning you do not need to file a claim with any other insurer before claiming under the card benefit. Most Auto Rental CDW coverage provided through other credit cards is secondary, and while they may provide you coverage, that coverage takes effect after you process a claim through your personal automobile insurance provider.
What Is Covered?
Auto Rental CDW will cover you or an Authorized Person for theft and damage while the vehicle is in your control, for a period not exceeding 31 consecutive days.
Covered losses are:
- Physical damage and theft of the covered rental vehicle
- Valid loss-of-use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and is not available for use, as substantiated in the company’s fleet utilization log
- Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility
The CDW provides coverage up to the cash value of the vehicle at the time of manufacture and includes most private passenger cars, minivans, and SUV's. There are some restrictions on exotic and antique cars, so don't expect to be reimbursed if you crash an Aston Martin or Ferrari. You can find the full list of vehicle exclusions in the Sapphire Preferred Benefits Guide .
A critical thing to note here is that the Auto Rental CDW does not act as liability insurance, nor does it cover damage to other vehicles, property, or injuries to people. It is essential to find out if your private insurance covers you when operating a rental car, and if not, you should consider purchasing it through the rental company at the time of your rental or through a separate 3rd party provider.
Additionally, you will not be covered if you violate any of the terms of your rental agreement if the rental period exceeds 31 consecutive days, or you take the car off-roading. You can find all of the exclusions within the Auto Rental CDW section of the Guide to Benefits.
Important: To ensure the Auto Rental CDW is in effect you must:
1. Initiate and complete the entire rental transaction using your card that is eligible for the benefit. Note: If you use points from a rental car loyalty program to pay for your rental and pay the remaining portion of any taxes/fees with your Sapphire Preferred card you would be covered.
2. Decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver or similar provision if it is offered to you. The company may refer to the collision damage waiver as CDW or LDW in their contract or when speaking with you. If you accept the collision damage waiver offered by the rental company, you will not be eligible for Auto Rental CDW.
Who Is Covered?
If you are a cardholder of a U.S. issued Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and that card has your name embossed on it, you are classified as the primary renter of the vehicle. Any additional drivers permitted to drive the car under the rental agreement are also covered.
Bonus tip: If you have added an authorized user to your Sapphire Preferred card, they also receive the full benefit as they are issued a card with their name embossed as well.
When And Where Are You Covered?
You're covered from the time you take possession of the vehicle from the rental company until you return it back to the rental company for periods of 31 days or less.
The benefit is available in the United States and most foreign countries. Coverage is not available where it is prohibited by law or by individual merchants, or is in violation of the territory terms of the rental agreement — check with the benefits administrator and the rental company in your chosen destination before traveling to ensure the Auto Rental CDW applies. Based on our experience, we haven't had problems in any country, including South Africa, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates and Italy.
NOTE: We HIGHLY recommend you contact the benefits administrator (contact information on the benefits guide) and request that they send you a proof of coverage form. They will email you a document that states the coverage, your name, your address and last four of your credit card. When renting from any agency, if you receive pushback about coverage, use this document to show proof of coverage.
Auto CDW with the Sapphire Reserve and Ink Preferred Cards
The wording of the policy for the Sapphire Reserve is almost identical to the Sapphire Preferred except for the passage stating what cars are covered under the policy, with the Sapphire Reserve placing a hard cap on the value of the car.
“…$75,000.00. Most private passenger automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles are eligible for coverage, but some restrictions may apply.”
While the Sapphire Reserve does have a hard cap on the reimbursement limit, we’d venture to guess that any car included in the coverage with the Sapphire Preferred would be under that $75,000 threshold as well.
The Auto Rental CDW on the Ink Preferred is primary coverage when renting for business purposes, meaning you do not need to file a claim with any other insurer before claiming under the card benefit, and secondary for private rentals. You must decline the rental company’s insurance and pay for the full cost of the rental on your Ink Preferred for coverage to be in effect. So, when you’re renting for work, use this card. When you’re renting a car for personal reasons, use your Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve.
Auto Rental CDW is just one of the benefits you receive as a Sapphire Preferred cardholder. Not paying the CDW fee charged by car rental agencies is a tangible benefit for any traveler and will save you a significant amount of money over time.
Just remember that you must pay the cash portion of your rental car in full using your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and decline the CDW offered by the rental agency for this benefit to be in effect.
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