During our Thanksgiving trip to Ireland, Joe and I decided to use the insurance offered by our Chase credit card for our car rental. On all our previous trips, we’ve purchased the Super Collision Damage Waiver (affectionately called SCDW) from the car rental company.
SCDW is like platinum car rental insurance. It gets your liability for any damage to the vehicle down to around €100. You don’t have to worry about those scratches or dents from those hellish hedges on the side of the road. You can just turn your keys in at the end of your trip and wave goodbye.
In my opinion, SCDW is completely worth the extra €15-20 per day, especially for someone’s first time driving on the left hand side.
Needless to say, we really like SCDW despite the cost, and I was a little leery of trying the credit card coverage at first.
After spending quite a bit of time Ireland, Joe has become really comfortable driving on the left. So when Chase began covering Ireland car rentals as one of their credit card travel benefits, we decided to try it out.
The Reservation & Denying Car Rental Agency Insurance:
We rented an economy automatic for 8 days from Dan Dooley in Belfast with one driver (thanks for driving Joe!).
When you use credit card insurance, you have to deny all coverage offered by the car rental company, including the basic coverage (Collision Damage Waiver or CDW) and the platinum stuff, SCDW.
All Ireland car rental websites that end in .ie will include the basic coverage in your quote. Some sites, like Budget.ie, and Dandooley.ie, allow you to opt out of the basic insurance (Collision Damage Waiver or CDW) on the reservations page. Others, like Hertz.ie, don’t.
Just be aware of everything that is included in your online quote. If you plan on using the credit card coverage, you won’t use any of the insurances offered by the car rental company.
What this means for you: By denying coverage from the rental car provider, you are 100% relying on your credit card company for insurance coverage. If any damage is reported on the vehicle when you return your car, your credit card will be charged. You will have to work with the Chase claims department to have the amount charged removed from your account.
Proving You Have Credit Card Insurance:
Since most credit cards still don’t cover Ireland (World MasterCard and Chase seem to be the only two at the moment), you have to prove in writing that your credit card covers car rentals in Ireland.
This is probably the easiest part of the process. I simply called my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Benefits Services number and asked for a verification letter stating they specifically cover Ireland and Northern Ireland. The representative emailed me one before I even got off the phone.
The car rental agency will want this letter dated within about two weeks of the rental, so don’t request it too far in advance.
Side note to save you a phone call: the Chase Benefit Services phone number is not the one on the back of your credit card. You’ll want to speak with the department that deals with travel benefits and not credit card transactions.
Picking Up the Rental Car:
Once we landed in Ireland, the process was basically the same as any other rental pickup. I handed over our confirmation number and the verification letter. After a few clicks, he printed out a form for us to sign, which indicated we were refusing coverage. A £25 administrative fee was charged to our card. This was disclosed in the terms and conditions of the rental when we made the reservation online.
Joe and I went to the car, looked it over and documented a couple scratches by taking pictures and noting it on the vehicle condition report.
We signed a couple more papers and they handed over the keys. Easy peasy.
Credit Card Hold:
The biggest difference between this rental and ones where we’ve purchased the Super Collision Damage Waiver was that a hold was placed on our credit card for £3000 (euros if you are renting at Shannon or Dublin) for the duration of the rental. This basically ensures that the rental company can charge at least that much in damage when the car is returned.
The hold was removed before we were home and I had a chance to check the credit card.
Returning the Car:
Surprisingly enough, we didn’t have enough damage to warrant any charges to the credit card. I say surprisingly because we almost always have at least one sizable scratch.
Fortunately (unfortunately? No, definitely fortunately), I can’t really report on the claims process for our Ireland rental with Chase since no damage was found.
But, we did have some damage in France while using our Chase Sapphire card…
Damage to the Vehicle:
In June of this year, Joe and I went to France and rented a car using the Chase car insurance benefit. We scraped the side of our vehicle on a cement wall, damaging the right wheelhouse and mirror (the cement wall left the scuffle unscathed—next time wall, next time).
I am fairly confident that the claims process is the same regardless if the rental is in Ireland or France. So here’s what it looked like for us:
- When we returned from France, I called Chase Claims Services to open a claim.
- In hindsight, I probably should have done this in France, but it since it wasn’t a two vehicle accident, it worked out ok
- I described what happened to Chase
- I created an account online to submit the documentation they needed to process the claim (the below is what documentation they want directly from the current benefits guide):
- A copy of your receipt or monthly billing statement showing that the entire vehicle rental was charged to and paid for with your eligible card
- A copy of the Accident Report Form and claim document: this should indicate the costs you are responsible for and any amounts that have been paid toward the claim
- A copy of the entire auto rental agreement(s)
- A copy of the repair estimate or itemized repair bill
- Two (2) photographs of the damaged vehicle, if available
- A police report, if obtainable
- Any other documentation deemed necessary, in the Benefit Administrator’s sole discretion, to substantiate the claim
- Began gathering and submitting the documentation
This is where my journey with Chase claims services ended. I tried to get an accident report from our car rental agency, Avis, in France, but they had lost it. Avis, realizing their mistake, actually refunded me the $1400 damage charges to my credit card! Woohoo. :-)
I called Chase and cancelled the claim.
Up to that point, the process for submitting the claim with Chase was rather easy. The biggest hassle was getting everything around to upload to the site.
I am really confident that I was going to be refunded in full by Chase.
Will I use my Chase credit card for car rental insurance again? Probably.
Will I recommend it to others going to Ireland? Maybe.
I still really like Super Collision Damage Waiver. The peace of mind it provides for a first-time driver in Ireland is hard to put a price tag on. When an accident occurs, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to worry about how much it is going to cost.
When we hit that cement wall in France, I can tell you it took me a few days to forget about it and enjoy our trip. We didn’t even have to deal with getting the car fixed or getting a new rental, but was still worried about the process. I would hate for someone to have to go through that in Ireland and have it taint their experience.
If you Plan on Using your Credit Card for Car Rental Insurance in Ireland:
Remember, a large €2000-3000 hold will be placed on your credit card.
The car rental company can charge the full value of your rental car to your credit card (or some cards, like the Chase Sapphire, state up to$50,000).
Credit card insurance usually does not cover expensive or exotic cars (no Ferrari for you!).
If there is damage, it will take time to gather the documentation that Chase needs in order to have the charge removed—you’ll have to just be ok with the charge sitting in your account.
You need to collect all of your documentation within 100 days of the damage. Once all the documentation is submitted—claims are usually paid within 15 days.
Tip: Print out the above documentation list and take it with you. If you have an accident it is much easier to collect everything needed when you are in Ireland.
Want more car rental advice? Get even more detail on how to rent a car in Ireland, A Comprehensive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland.