Keith Schulz admits it.
He drove his rental car on a race track.
But it was a decommissioned track in Nürburg, Germany, referred to as the Nürburgring Nordschleife, which is accessible to the public.
As Schulz steered his BMW 235i down the track, he says his vehicle hit a slick spot, slid off the road, and caused $23,283 worth of damage. Ouch! Now he wants our help persuading the Card Benefit Services department for the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card to honor his claim.
“At first they said the BMW was not covered,” he says. “However, after a few minutes on the phone, they said, in fact, the BMW was covered and sent their claim form with a list of the supporting documents required.”
Then, the claim was denied after all. Why? Schulz had driven his rental Beemer on a race track, which voided his claim.
“The Nürburgring in Germany is a fabled former racetrack,” he says. “A decade or more ago, Germany ceased using the Ring solely for racing, and made it a public road to attract tourists to the area for the experience of driving on it. Tourists and others are free to drive it except when it occasionally is closed for an event.”
I reviewed Schulz’ paperwork and thought he made a valid point. The Nordschleife isn’t the only decommissioned racetrack in the world. To void a policy because a claimant was driving on a former race track would be as absurd as voiding a policy because a paved road used to be a dirt road, and you’re not allowed to take a rental off-road. It just makes zero sense.
So I contacted Chase Card Benefit Services on his behalf. I reiterated that rejecting a claim based on a road’s former use did not make much sense.
Chase didn’t respond to me, but called Schulz and told him its decision was final.
“They have effectively created a new exclusion not in the program terms,” he says. “Any rental vehicle driven on a former racetrack, although currently a road, will not be covered. It would be helpful to customers if that exclusion was actually in the program terms.”
I’m happy to help get the word out, but like Schulz, I’m disappointed by this outcome. He’s stuck with a $23,283 repair bill, which is no small amount.
Cases like this really make you wonder how “protected” you are when you rent with a card like Chase. I mean, not to go too far off on a tangent, but we’re talking about the The United MileagePlus Explorer Card, one of those scammy points-earning cards. The large print giveth. The fine print taketh away, as they say.
Check out the promises it made Schulz:
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your MileagePlus Explorer Card. Coverage is primary and is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad.
No mention of former racetracks in there. He had every reason to believe he was covered, and that he’d get his miles, too.
Hey Keith, maybe it’s time to cut up that card?