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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has earned plenty of praise for its points-earning power from many of us at TPG. From a potential sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points to the 2x points payout on dining and travel, cardholders can quickly accrue loads of points with a wide range of ways to redeem them. On a recent trip to San Francisco, though, I discovered when the card can really make a difference: when you find yourself stuck on the side of the road after a construction site tears apart the tire on your rental car.

Accidents Happen

As I was heading back to SFO after a wedding in wine country, I ran over some type of pothole/massive ravine in my rental Chevy Malibu. The tire deflated immediately. I pondered using the spare, but I was 90 miles from the airport and on a time crunch to catch my flight, which meant that the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit would lead to even more travel troubles.

The California highway was not kind to this Chevy Malibu tire.
The California highway was not kind to this Chevy Malibu tire.

After chatting with someone in Budget’s emergency roadside assistance department (who, I should add, was very helpful), my orders were to have the car towed all the way back to SFO. My wife and I climbed into the cab of the truck and prepared for a two-and-a-half-hour trip in Bay Area traffic. John, our tow truck driver, actually dropped us off at the terminal in the truck to make sure we made our flight. Consider it a new definition of Uber XL. As I boarded my flight back to Chicago, the adventure left me with one big question: Was my Chase Sapphire Preferred’s primary coverage really going to work? Tallying up the expenses of a long tow and a new tire, I worried that my California trip would wind up costing a lot more than expected.

The thumbs up was my sarcastic attempt to relieve the stress of dealing with a tow truck and worrying about catching my flight.
The thumbs up was my sarcastic attempt to relieve the stress of dealing with a tow truck and worrying about catching my flight.

Hassle-Free Claims Process

To file an insurance claim tied to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, visit and submit all appropriate documentation.

Shortly after I returned home, the bill from Budget arrived with a notice that my card would be charged for the full amount of $762.92. Submitting insurance claims can be, well, a terrible process, so I visited — the online claims center for Sapphire Preferred cardholders — with a sense of dread. However, the process couldn’t have been easier. After completing a simple form with a report of the incident, I uploaded a letter from Budget about the damage, my prepaid reservation email confirmation, my monthly billing statement that displayed the charges and photos of the tire.

The only hiccup was the need to request additional documentation from Budget. After my initial submission, Card Benefit Services requested a copy of the incident report, the towing invoice and an itemized estimate of the repair. Budget’s customer service department sent me all I needed. In just over two weeks from my initial claim, I received this email:

All my communication with card benefit services was via email, and the entire process was simple.
All my communication with card benefit services was via email, and the entire process was simple.

Annual Fee? Fine by Me. 

In the middle of this process, I noticed the $95 annual fee charge on my card statement. While I’ve written about the ability to get that fee waived, this was a reminder that $95 is a nominal charge for the services that these premium credit cards deliver. Had I needed to submit this claim to my personal insurance, I would have paid a $750 deductible for a whopping $12.92 worth of assistance.

Rental car coverage isn’t the first benefit that comes to mind for cardholders (because they hopefully aren’t regularly having accidents in their rental cars). However, my Chase Sapphire Preferred helped me avoid the hassle of getting my primary insurance involved after declining the protection from Budget. Thankfully, my incident wasn’t dangerous, but it certainly would have been expensive.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t the only card that will cover your expenses in an auto accident. Check out “Credit Cards That Offer Primary Rental Car Coverage” to learn more.

Feature photo by TuiPhotoengineer/Getty Images

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2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card



CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.