Confession time: It may surprise you to find out that I regularly travel. Shocker, right? In February I was visiting Phoenix, AZ for an extended weekend trip. If this were a normal travel blog maybe I’d embellish the post with information about the Hyatt™ Hotels® I stayed at, the National Car™ Executive Aisle® selection, and the new PHX™ SkyTrain® to the Rental Car Center©, but none of that is germane to today’s topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve’s primary rental car collision insurance. (Oops, did I need an ® there too?)
I rented with National, and the Executive Aisle had a new Audi S4 sedan with about 400 miles on the odometer. I took that car Thursday night for an extended weekend rental.
On Saturday afternoon, I was driving in the left lane a straight road with two lanes going in each direction and a middle turn lane (here’s the Google Street View for the visual learners out there). There was a strip mall on the right side and a stopped, beat-up Nissan Altima waiting to turn left at the parking lot exit (wanting to go the opposite direction as me). Inexplicably, the Nissan accelerated out of the strip mall as I was passing by, slamming into the right side of my car and causing it to spin about 270 degrees into a screeching halt.
Immediately thereafter, I swore, looked for a spot to move the car, then drove out of the middle of the road into an empty lot a few feet away. The Nissan driver followed me.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident. I was by myself, and the other car had five passengers. The Audi on the other hand looked pretty rough – the passenger doors were banged in, the rear axel was bent or broken, the rear tire was flat and the rear rim was bent. It’s frankly impressive that I was able to get the thing out of the middle of the road under its own power.
The Nissan’s front bumper was dragging on the ground and the front panels were pretty bent, but it was drivable.
The Immediate Aftermath
I got out of my car and the Nissan driver offered a few hundred in cash to forget the whole thing 😂, I declined and called the police. After about an hour the police came, cited the other driver for driving with an expired license and failure to yield, and wished me good luck.
After calling the police, I called National’s emergency roadside assistance line (which by the way, is probably the best customer service line I’ve dealt with in the last decade), and gave them a rundown of what happened. National was great, they:
- Sent a link to my phone for a free Uber ride to the airport to get a new car
- Offered to call and coordinate with family and emergency services
- Arranged for a new car at the airport
- Scheduled a tow truck to come take the Audi
Tip for the future: You don’t need to wait for the towing company to come, or at least I didn’t have to. You can just leave the keys in the center console and never look at the car again as long as it’s not causing a public safety hazard.
I got to the airport, grabbed a new car, and drove back to my hotel to deal with insurance.
I called the other driver’s insurance to file a claim, and I filed an initial accident report and uploaded pictures at eclaimsline.com, the handler for Chase’s rental car insurance. I also ordered a copy of the police report from the Phoenix police department to send to eclaimsline. (Which was perhaps the biggest ordeal of the whole process, Phoenix is weird! But, I digress.)
That was it for about a month, until National’s “Damage Recovery Unit” sent me a repair estimate for the car via email and USPS. The estimate was approximately $16,000, well under the Sapphire Reserve’s $75,000 limit. I uploaded that document to eclaimsline too.
After two more months and a phone call to check status, I got an email from eclaimsline saying that my claim was approved, a check was sent to National, and I didn’t need to take any further action. About two weeks after that, National sent me a letter via email and USPS saying that they consider the matter settled and closed.
- I was concerned that National wouldn’t let me rent any more cars with the outstanding damage, but that wasn’t an issue. Between the accident and the resolution I had a half dozen National rentals that went smoothly.
- As far as I can tell based on a call with the other driver’s insurance, eclaimsline never tried to get the other insurance to pay for the damage to the Audi. They just covered it themselves.
- I’m not here to sell you credit cards, but I will say that I’ll be happy to pay the annual fee to keep the Chase Sapphire Reserve in my wallet for its rental insurance. Of course, if you do it right in concert with a Freedom you may have a negative annual fee so that also helps.
Happy Tuesday friends!
A replica of my police report from the Phoenix police department.