Scenario: I have a 7-day rental on a car from Budget Rent-A-Car. I purchased the rental it with my Capital One Platinum MasterCard, which has rental car coverage. During the evening--below freezing temperatures--a tree above my driveway appears to have lost a branch and has nicked the hood (Photo 1, Photo 2) of said vehicle.

Per my credit card agreement:

  • I have not rented the car more than 15 days consecutively.
  • I used the credit card to rent the vehicle.
  • I am the driver and signer of the rental agreement.

Whom do I call to report the damage first: The rental car company or the insurance provider? Furthermore, can I just get them in contact with each other perhaps to help them coordinate more effectively?

I just want to make sure I am utilizing my resources most efficiently.

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    I think you should first call your own insurance company. Credit card insurance you have is secondary. – littleadv Feb 17 '15 at 6:27
  • Do you own a car and have insurance on that car as well, or is Capital One your only source of insurance? – Joe Feb 17 '15 at 18:11
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    Hmm, does anybody on here know a reason why it would matter who you called first? I'd just pick one and if they said, Hey, you should call the other guy first and then call us back, fine. I don't see how it would create any liability or other difficulty if you called the wrong one first. But if someone on here knows something relevant, I'd be as interested to hear it as the original poster. – Jay Feb 18 '15 at 20:13
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    @littleadv I don't know about Capital One Platinum, but some Chase cards offer primary coverage. However, I believe most if not all operate on a reimbursement basis so you must pay for it and then they'll send you a check or credit your account if it is indeed a valid claim (not violating any terms set forth in your current benefits booklet). – topshot Feb 21 '19 at 12:52

I've been there -- had rental damage and the credit card secondary insurance, etc. Here's what happens:

Your own personal auto insurance (primary insurance) will pay for the damage, minus your deductible. The credit card insurance is secondary, and it should pay the remaining balance -- in other words, just your deductible will be paid by the credit card company.

It doesn't really matter who you call first -- let the rental company know, sure. After they tell you the damage amout, you can open a claim with both your personal insurance and your credit card company, and they will give you all the instructions you need.

Your personal insurance won't care much about the credit card insurance, and your credit card insurance will just want documentation of your deductible.

One last tidbit: the rental company also tacked on an "administrative fee" of $20 or so. Both insurance companies said they don't pay admin fees and are usually successful in negotiating that away. And they did, it went away, and I didn't pay the $20.

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I would start with reviewing the rental agreement. They may request that you contact them within 24 hours of the incident.

  • Unless you are coming up to the deadline I would start with my auto insurance company. See if you are covered and what info they want you to provide to the rental company.

  • Then I would move onto the credit card company, their webpage should tell you how to proceed.

  • Both insurance companies will want numbers on the rental agreement.

  • After gathering all the info from the insurance companies then contact the rental car company.

If the car was rented for company travel, there may be additional calls to be made. I would start with the employer. They will want to know, and they will have their own insurance policy, you will need that information.

One comment on utilizing my resources most efficiently. You are dealing with multiple bureaucracies, expect to make lots of phone calls and be given conflicting information. Just be glad the tree doesn't have a policy, but then again if it was your tree your homeowners policy could apply, or maybe your neighbors policy.

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