Friday, May 18, 2012

That flat tyre

Remember that flattened English tyre I told you about a while ago?
It split when we hit the curb on one of the first roundabouts we navigated on our way from Gatwick airport.
Then we had to have this handyman change it out for a baby tyre, lead us into the tiny town of Bagshot and get a new Michelin tyre delivered from Reading.
I've been waiting for the bill to catch up with us and on Monday it did.
We got this polite letter from the Enterprise rental people in Horley.
They want to know if we are OK with them billing us 126 pounds or the equivalent of $200 US dollars through our American Express card.
A sad sight
Marc remembered that American Express brags about covering collisions and such for the traveler so we decided to see if they would help us out.
I went online and checked it out. They have a claims website and everything.
Then I called to make sure their offer included international rentals. The nice girl told me to go ahead and toss in my claim and see what their underwriter would do.
I gathered up my papers: my rental agreement, my American Express credit card, the ticket from the handyman, the receipt from the tyre shop and the letter asking for payment.
I signed on and after about an hour, I was finished.
(I had to fetch my car owner's insurance information as well and answer dozens of questions: What time was the incident? Where were we at the time? How much collision and damage coverage did we have with State Farm?)
It seemed silly to me that they wanted our personal car insurance information.
Why would that enter into the equation?
Did they want to see if we routinely ran into curbs or what?
I did my best with the questions -- trying to guess what they meant when they wanted an authorization number and an incident number and a car VIN that doesn't resemble what we generally regard as a VIN number.
I marked the little diagram with the area of the damage even though the picture didn't take into account that the driver's side in England is on what we see as the passenger side.
Yesterday I got an answer.
Since we have a $500 deductible with State Farm, the insurer feels no obligation to reimburse us for the lesser amount of $200.
"Thanks for using American Express," they said.
Hrumph. I don't see how that's offering anything.
They can take the credit for our self insurance and seldom have to pay out.
I always wondered about how they could afford to insure rental cars all over the world and stay afloat.
Now I know.

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