One of the lesser known perks that come with many of today's credit cards is something called Purchase Protection. In essence, you may be reimbursed for the value of your product in the event of damage, theft, or other factors. Note that there is another closely related (and often confused) benefit called Extended Warranty, which I will be covering in a separate article.
Exact terms vary between issuers, so it is important to check your specific coverage depending on card issuer and card type. I will be using the Chase Sapphire Preferred as an example, although other cards such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, and Amex Gold have similar benefits.
This is how Chase describes this benefit:
- Can repair, replace or reimburse you for eligible items in the event of theft or damage when items are purchased with an eligible Chase card or with rewards earned on an eligible Chase card
- Coverage is in excess of any valid and collectible insurance such as homeowner’s insurance, or other forms of reimbursement
- Eligible personal property that has been damaged, stolen, or involuntary and accidental parting with property within 120 days from the date of purchase*
Note that involuntary and accidental parting is a covered reason! Translation: Items that could be easily lost (especially when traveling) are covered! Do note that items that had been purchased for more than 120 days are NOT covered.
Well, in the last year, I managed to lose an AirPod on a Boltbus ride from NYC to PHL, and then a few months later a brand new AirPods Pro on a bus ride in Taiwan. Below I will share my story and how I was able to get my loss fully reimbursed (and more) simply by holding and purchasing these items with my card!
Sometime in Fall 2019, I took a day trip to New York and just returned to my apartment in Philadelphia when I realized my AirPods were no longer on me (I fell asleep on the bus...). I rushed back to the station only to find that the bus had already left. I immediately emailed BoltBus Customer Service to see if my items could be located.
Unfortunately, Boltbus was not able to locate them, and that was when I remembered the Purchase Protection perk could potentially cover me! I immediately read up on the terms and filed a claims report, as well as calling their 24/7 assistance line to understand what documents may be needed. The call went through almost immediately and the customer support rep was incredibly helpful and friendly (a very pleasant surprise I did not expect).
The entire process was very straightforward and only took me about 10 minutes to fill out, with the exception of one (I will discuss below). These were roughly the documents required, although your situation may vary:
- Claims form
- Receipt of original purchase
- Copy of your statement showing the purchase
- Description of what happened
- Any supporting evidence
The last one was what took a bit longer. I had already been in contact with BoltBus to see if they could recover my item, but I did not have it in writing. I reached out to their office and was able to obtain an official memo detailing the search attempt as well as the conclusion. This turned out to be enough for the claims to start processing.
To my delight, after a few weeks, I woke up one morning to an email informing me that my claim has been approved and that a payment will be made out to me soon! That was really the first moment when I could confidently recommend people to get credit cards (as opposed to using cash or debit) even if earning points is not their main goal. It's really times like this that save your day, especially when so many NO ANNUAL FEE cards come with similar perks. Even with the $95 annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the AirPods reimbursement covers over 2 years of fees, and this is before factoring in any other perks and the massive signup bonus.
Purchased November 2019, I went on a trip to Taiwan in December and lost them shortly after on a bus ride from Taipei to Taichung. I remember taking them out of the case right before boarding so I could listen to music, but by the time I got off at my stop and returned home, I realized I couldn't find the case anywhere. Thinking I might've dropped it somewhere along the way, I retraced my steps all the way back to the stop to look for them but, to my disappointment, couldn't find them. Even though the AirPods Pro were so new at the time that Taiwan did not have any in stock (and therefore no repair parts. Also, I used Amex's concierge service to help me check everywhere in Taiwan), I was at least assured I'll be covered by Chase.
I went through a process generally similar to the original AirPods incident. However, getting the entire incident in writing from the bus operator took quite a bit of effort. They sounded incredibly confused when I called in for such a document but ultimately did get it in my hands (incredible customer service!). So note that if you ever lose something overseas, it may take some effort to get the required documentation together for filing the claim!
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