Staking Your Claim: Benefits Guide to Faster Recovery
by Jack Hojnar
Not many people jump for joy when their new refrigerator breaks or when their rental car finds itself with a few surprise dents in the parking lot. And probably fewer dream of the day their luggage disappears while traveling.
But, sometimes bad things just happen.
Oddly, your credit card can be the source of some salvation. Through products like Purchase Protection, Rental Car Coverage and Lost Luggage, some of these losses can be recovered.
Starting this dialogue by discussing the claims process is a bit like placing the proverbial cart ahead of the horse. Be sure to make good, smart choices when you purchase products, services or other items using your credit card.
Follow these simple steps and, should you ever need to file a claim, you will be well prepared:
Step 1: Know Your Coverage
Most important: know and understand the benefits your issuing bank provides on your credit card. All banks provide a “Guide to Benefits: Terms and Conditions" document that often finds itself tucked away in filing cabinets or tossed in the garbage can. The fine print is often too small to read and too cumbersome to appreciate. If this is the case for you, simply call your bank and ask them to explain the benefits details.
Step 2: Use the Right Card
Now that you are aware of the benefits that your issuing bank provides, be sure to use that card for purchases you know to be covered. Remember, reading the fine print and discussing the details with the Customer Service department BEFORE you purchase a product will make any claim process easier to manage.
Step 3: Save Your Receipts and Transaction Information
Once you’ve made your purchase with a covered card that you know will protect you for any potential loss (damage to a rental car, tablet breaking, etc.), be sure to save your receipt. Most benefits require a physical receipt verifying your purchase. However, more companies are beginning to accept digital receipts so … taking a photo of your receipt may be an option if you tend to be the type of person that loses paper receipts easily. Be certain that your bank will accept a digital receipt should you need to file a claim.
Step 4: When Bad Things Happen …
Unfortunately, things break, accidents occur and... bad things happen despite our best efforts. Now you’ll need to file a claim with your issuing bank. The best course of action? Call your card-issuing bank. You will likely be directed to a website where an online or downloadable claim form exists. If you are unable to use these online tools, a customer representative should be able to assist with a different solution, such filing your claim through standard mail.
Step 5: Waiting
Claims processors and insurance benefit administrators actually work as quickly as possible to finalize any claims. Provided you have followed the steps above, your claim process should move quickly. In fact, some card issuing banks provide an online claim status tracking tool so that you can review the claim process as it occurs. In most cases you can also call Customer Service and determine the time frames required for your claim to be processed.
Step 6: The Good and The Bad
Sometimes, even though you have all the information available, you have saved receipts and have had conversations with a Customer Service representative, your claim may be rejected for specific reasons. In those cases, you can ask for a complete explanation of the denial. That’s the bad news, although at least you will know what to expect for future reference. On the Good side of the fence, many claims - if processed correctly with receipts and clear information included - result in reimbursement to the levels of the benefit policy.