Purchase protection saved us $1,700 — reader success story
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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Ethan, who remembered to check his card benefits when a recent purchase was damaged:
We bought new carpet for our basement from one of the big box home improvement stores. All was well until a water pipe ruptured and ruined a good portion of the carpet that had been installed less than four months before. My wife and I were beside ourselves, as we had spent over $2,500 on the purchase. Our homeowners insurance has a deductible fairly close to that amount, but for a variety of reasons we did not want to claim it.
Besides having to clean up the water and remediate the damage, we didn’t want to pay for something again after we had spent so much on it recently. Then I remembered that some of our credit cards carry purchase protection as a benefit, and hoped that we had used one of those cards to buy our carpet. Luckily, we had used our United Club Card, and after carefully reading the fine print, I figured we had a pretty good case to file a claim. One of the stipulations is that the damage must have occurred within 120 days of purchase, and the incident happened at 109 days … phew!
I filed a claim online with all the documents that were needed, including all receipts and estimates for repairs, as well as copies of our homeowners insurance declarations. One thing I learned is that the purchase protection is secondary to your primary insurance, but the claim may still be covered if the replacement cost is under the deductible amount, which held true in our situation.
After about six weeks and a couple further requests for documents, our claim was approved. They paid out about 70% of the total amount we spent, because the installation costs weren’t covered. Even though they didn’t pay out 100%, we were extremely happy with the outcome and felt it was worth the effort. The payout was approximately four times the annual fee for our card, so in addition to the other benefits we get (like United Club access, priority boarding, two free checked bags, etc.), we definitely got our value for this year and the next four years.
The information for the United Club card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
When you file a purchase protection claim, be prepared to offer ample supporting documentation. In addition to the claim form and a receipt or other proof of purchase, you will likely be asked to provide a police report (in the event an item is stolen or vandalized) or other incident report to substantiate your loss. You may also need to submit photographs, a repair estimate, insurance declaration forms (describing other applicable policies) and other documentation benefit administrators deem necessary. The takeaway is that if you anticipate filing a claim, gather as much evidence as you can. The process can be tedious, but as Ethan’s story shows, it can also be worthwhile.
I recommend getting familiar with all your credit card benefits, but this story is a good reminder that they still apply even if you don’t have them memorized. When you run into difficulties like damage to a recent purchase, a lengthy flight delay or a flat tire, check whether one of your credit cards can help remedy the situation before you shell out extra money from your own pocket. You may be covered by benefits like purchase protection, trip-delay reimbursement or roadside assistance; if not, all you’ll have lost is the time it takes to find out.
I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Ethan a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to email@example.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published, we’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected.
Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Featured photo by edelmar/Getty Images.
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