Can I fight an Avis loss of use claim after 7 months?

Can I fight this Avis loss of use claim?

If Eric Geyer could retake his Arizona vacation, he’d do many things differently. He’d find out about the Avis loss of use policy when reserving his rental car. He would also check out the auto insurance coverage available through his Visa credit card. He’d carefully photograph the car at the beginning and end of his rental.

And, of course, he’d avoid getting into the accident that triggered a damage claim from Avis.

Geyer’s story offers many lessons for car renters. Had he been aware of his options, he might not be facing an $811 rental car damage claim now.

An Avis loss of use claim – seven months later

Geyer used his Visa credit card to rent a car from Avis during his vacation in September 2017. While driving the car, he backed into a pole. When he returned the car to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Avis facility, he filed an accident report. His insurance company paid for the damage to the vehicle, minus a $500 deductible. Geyer paid the deductible and heard no more about the accident in the months that followed.

Then in April 2018, Geyer received a claim from Sedgwick Claims Management Services, a claims administrator for Avis. Sedgwick was billing him for vehicle damage, the Avis loss of use, and diminishment of value. It was also charging Geyer an administrative fee.

Geyer called Sedgwick to question the claim. A representative told him that Sedgwick “had just received the claim” from Avis.

Too late for Visa to cover the Avis loss of use charge

Geyer then learned that his Visa card offered coverage for rental car damage claims. He filed a claim with Visa, only to receive bad news instead of a reimbursement. Had Geyer filed the claim within 45 days of the accident, Visa would have covered the claim. But that window of time had long since expired.

According to Geyer, he didn’t know about the coverage or the 45-day limit until after Sedgwick sent him the bill.

“Lesson learned,” he says.

But he feels blindsided by the bill coming seven months after the accident.

“It doesn’t alter the fact that Avis should have moved much more quickly in settling the claim,” he says. Because of the delay, Geyer wants Avis to absolve him from financial liability for the claim.

Is Avis abiding by its own policies?

Avis’ website contains the following language about responsibility for loss or damages to rental cars:

The renter is responsible for any and all loss of or damage to the car resulting from any cause including but not limited to collision, rollover, theft, tire damage and vandalism, medical condition, flood, fire, hail or other acts of Nature.

The Avis loss of use, diminishment of value and administrative fees charged to Geyer are consistent with this language in its FAQ:

Other charges that could be incurred by the renter:

  • Loss of Use – as the renter, you are contractually liable for the loss of the specific vehicle rented as detailed in the rental contract. When our car is unavailable to be rented, Avis is entitled to compensation for such loss.
  • Administrative Fee – Avis is self-insured and the expense of processing claims is passed on only to the responsible parties involved. Avis has a legal entitlement to return vehicles to pre-accident condition which includes the indirect damage of expenses related to administering a claim.

So Geyer had fair warning that Avis might assess him additional charges beyond the repair bill.
On the other hand, Avis makes this promise about the time frame for processing damage claims:

What is the typical timeline for processing a damage claim?
When a vehicle is involved in an accident you can typically expect to hear from Avis in a 30-60 day time-frame from the date of the incident. The time-frame heavily depends on the type and amount of damage the vehicle endured as a result of the incident.

Don’t do this when you protest a rental car damage claim

Geyer sent a letter of complaint to Sedgwick about receiving the claim seven months after the accident. Unfortunately, his attempt at self-advocating his case got off on the wrong foot:

The lack of urgency on either your part or Avis’s in this matter will be a consideration in my vendor choice moving forward. It will also influence my recommendation to fellow travelers and my online ratings of Avis.

We never advise making threats or accusations when trying to resolve a consumer complaint. You have a better chance of receiving a favorable response from a company if you observe the three P’s: be patient, polite and persistent in all your communications with a company.

Using our executive contacts for this Avis loss of use case

Geyer next wrote to our primary contact for Avis Budget, Becky Peachey, to protest the seven-month delay in the charges. He quoted the above language on Avis’ website about the time frame for processing damage claims.

All he received in reply was the following:

Sedgwick, The Claims Center and Viking Client Services are authorized representatives for Avis Budget Car Rental primarily in matters of damage claim collections. Please follow the instructions within the letter they have mailed to you. …

We apologize for any inconvenience as our Customer Service group is unable to directly assist in these matters.

Advice from our advocate

Finally, Geyer asked us for help. But our advocate, Dwayne Coward, didn’t have good news for him. Dwayne first asked Geyer if he had reported the accident to his Visa credit card as soon as possible after it took place. But Geyer admitted that he hadn’t done so until after he received the damage claim letter from Sedgwick. He hadn’t previously known that his Visa card could have covered the claim.

Dwayne told Geyer that we weren’t going to be able to help him directly. He suggested writing a polite, concise letter to the company executives. In that letter, Dwayne advised, Geyer should explain that the 45-day window for filing a claim with his credit card had expired. He also suggested that Geyer should request that Avis waive any loss of use, diminishment of value and administrative fees. But as Geyer had already written to Avis’ customer service, he decided to stop fighting the claim.

Geyer’s case contains some important reminders for car renters: Always report an accident immediately to the car rental agency as well as your own insurance providers. Never wait until you receive a damage claim from the agency to do this. Document your vehicle’s condition thoroughly, both before you accept the vehicle and when you return it. Make sure you know about your insurance providers’ policies for covering damage claims – especially the window of time they require for reporting accidents.

And of course, look behind you when you’re backing up.

Should Avis waive the loss of use, diminishment of value and administrative fees for Geyer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook

Underwritten by

This site is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

This site is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

This site is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

This site is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

This site is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

This site is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

This site is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

This site is underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

This site is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

This site is underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

This site is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

This site is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

This site is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

This site is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

This site is underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

This site is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

This site is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

This site is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.