The Chase Ink cards include the impressive line-up of the: Ink Business Preferred, Ink Cash, and and Ink Unlimited. All three of these cards offer extremely valuable rental car coverage. However, there are some limitations and restrictions for this coverage that you need to be aware of.
This article will explain everything you need to know about Chase Ink rental car insurance including important exclusions and will also show you how to file a claim.
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Chase Ink cards
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the rental car coverage, here’s a breakdown of the main benefits of each of the Chase Ink cards.
Chase Ink Preferred
The Chase Ink Preferred has a high sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. The card also earns 3X per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on all of the following categories:
- Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, train tickets and taxis
- Shipping purchases
- Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
- Internet, cable and phone services
With its high sign-up bonus of 80,000 points and solid bonus categories, this is the #1 business card offered by Chase and I would be looking to get the Chase Ink Preferred first and then add one of the cards below.
Chase Ink Cash
The Chase Ink Cash comes with a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after you spend $3,000 in the first three months along with a 0% APR period. That’s worth at least $500 which is very competitive for a no annual fee credit card but the card also has some fantastic bonus categories.
The Chase Ink Cash earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year at:
- Phone services
- Office supply stores
And it also earns 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each year at:
- Gas stations
The Ink Business Unlimited
The Ink Business Unlimited earns 1.5% back on all purchases and comes with a $500 sign-up bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. It also has no annual fee and comes with a 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
Chase Ink Plus
The Chase Ink Plus is no longer available for new applicants.
Chase Ink rental car insurance policy
The Chase Ink cards come with primary rental car coverage while renting for business purposes or when renting for personal reasons outside your country of residence. Coverage is secondary and supplements any valid and collectible insurance when renting for personal reasons inside your country of residence, or if you do not have automobile insurance.
The big thing to note is that if you are traveling inside the US, you’ll need to be traveling on business for the benefits to kick in but if you’re traveling abroad, you’ll be able to get coverage.
This is the major distinguishing factor for the Ink cards versus the personal Chase cards like the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred. Those cards offer primary rental car coverage for personal travel regardless of where you’re renting your vehicle.
Other cards like the Chase Freedom and Chase Slate will also provide rental car coverage regardless of where you travel but those cards do not offer primary rental car coverage.
Why this coverage is special
Getting primary rental car coverage is special because it means you do not have to file a claim with any other source of insurance before you can receive coverage.
This means that you can usually avoid dealing with your auto insurance company and won’t have to worry about your premiums rising or potentially paying fees associated with the claim.
Primary rental car coverage is also special because the Chase Ink Unlimited and the Chase Ink Cash both have no annual fees. It’s extremely rare for a card to offer primary rental car coverage and not force you to cough up an annual fee.
Consider that the Business Platinum Card from American Express doesn’t even offer primary rental car coverage and it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. If you do a lot of traveling that requires rental cars, you’ll be able to get out ahead big time with a card like the Chase Ink Cash.
How to get coverage
It’s very important that you pay attention to the requirements for getting rental car coverage with the Ink cards.
Here are two things you must do to get coverage.
Use your Ink card
You need to initiate and complete the entire rental transaction using your Chase Ink card — don’t split up your payments with other cards if you want to use this perk.
Decline the rental company coverage
When you go to check out your rental car, you’ll need to decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver or similar provision if it is offered to you.
Rental car companies may refer to the collision damage waiver as CDW or LDW in their contract or when speaking with you so be on alert. Sometimes they can be quite pushy when trying to get you to sign up for their policies.
But resist the temptation because if you accept the collision damage waiver offered by the rental company, you will not be eligible for Auto Rental CDW.
Who is covered by the policy?
You as the cardholder of the Ink card will be covered as the primary renter of the vehicle and any additional drivers permitted to operate it under the terms of the rental agreement are also covered. Basically, if their names are on the contract as additional drivers then they will be covered as well.
Where does the coverage apply?
The benefit is available in the United States and most foreign countries. If you want assurance that you’ll be covered then simply call the rental car company and inquire about the benefit.
Let them know that you have a card that offers primary rental car coverage and that you would like to use that for your rental and tell them that you’d like to verify that your coverage applies.
What is covered
Coverage time limits
The CDW coverage only covers vehicle rental periods that do not exceed or are not intended to exceed 31 consecutive days within or outside of your country of residence.
It’s a little unclear what a rental that did not intend to exceed 31 days would look like but my guess is it would involve some sort of weather or logistical mishap that prevented you from returning the vehicle within the required time.
The Chase Ink rental car coverage will cover you for;
- Physical damage and/or 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 Ink cards will not provide coverage for: expensive, exotic, and antique automobiles; certain vans; vehicles that have an open cargo bed; trucks; motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes; limousines; and recreational vehicles.
Expensive or exotic automobiles could include the following brands:
- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Rolls Royce
*However, selected models of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, and Range Rover are covered.
An antique automobile is defined as any vehicle over 20 years old or any vehicle that has not been manufactured for 10 years or more. Also, the coverage only applies to those vans manufactured and designed to transport a maximum of 8 people and which are used exclusively to transport people.
Not liability insurance!
The Chase Ink cards provide a collision damage waiver (CDW) which isn’t the same as car insurance. Collision damage waiver just means you won’t be responsible for the damage done to your rental vehicle. If you were to get into an accident and damaged another vehicle or caused injuries to passengers, the collision damage waiver would NOT cover you in those instances, since that has to do with liability insurance.
How to file a claim
Call the Benefit Administrator immediately to report theft or damage, regardless of whether your liability has been established. You must report the incident no later than 60 days following the date of the theft or damage. If the claim is reported after this time frame, your claim may be denied.
To report a claim you can call the Chase Benefits phone number at: 1-888-320-9656 or 1-888-320-9956.
Gather your documents
Once you call, you’ll have to submit documents to substantiate your claim. Here are some of the documents you’ll need to submit. Note that the required documents are different from the personal cards since they require you to show that you were traveling on business.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Claim Form
The completed and signed Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Claim Form: Your completed claim form must be postmarked within 100 days of the date of theft or damage, even if all other required documentation is not yet available. If your claim form is not postmarked within this time frame, your claim may be denied.
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 written confirmation from your employer that the rental was primarily for business purposes.
Personal use proof
If the rental was for personal use, enclose a statement from your insurance carrier showing the costs for which you are responsible and any amounts that have been paid toward the claim. Or, if you have no applicable insurance, please provide a notarized statement to that effect.
Statement from your insurance carrier
A copy of the declaration page from your primary automobile insurance carrier if the rental was for personal use.
Rental car company documents
You should also ask the rental company for these documents immediately at the time of the theft or damage or when you return the vehicle to the company:
- 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
- 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
Be prepared to have to fight a little to get the required documents. I’ve had some nightmare experiences dealing with companies like Avis and it’s been like pulling teeth to get them to respond to calls, emails, etc.
How long will it take to receive payments for coverage?
Generally, the claim will be paid within 15 days after the Auto Rental CDW Benefit Administrator has received all documentation needed to fully substantiate your claim.
The Chase Ink cards offer great value all around but the primary rental car coverage is certainly one of the more valuable perks, especially when it comes to the no annual fee cards like the Chase Ink Cash and Chase Ink Unlimited. Make sure you pat attention to the distinctions between business and personal use and some of the other limitations, and you’ll be able to take a lot of value from this benefit.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.