They said I didn’t need this Enterprise insurance policy, but maybe I did

Daniela Nordqvist rents a car from Enterprise after getting into a car accident. Even though she claims her rental is incident-free, she’s stuck with a $559 repair bill afterwards. Does she have to pay?

Question: I need help with a damage claim from Enterprise. I rented a car from Enterprise recently after my car was hit in an accident. State Farm, the insurance of the woman who hit my car, advised me not to take the extra insurance on my rental car from Enterprise. They told me that my car insurance company, Geico, would cover everything if I’m in an accident of any kind with my rental car.

When I picked up my rental car from Enterprise, they did not check the car well, but when I returned the car, a brand-new employee told me there was a quarter-size dent on the passenger door.

I’m young and it was the first time I rented a car. I think Enterprise thought this would be easy money. But I did not damage the car.

I received a $559 bill from Enterprise today. I have involved my car insurance company in this, but they do not seem to want to help me.

How can I fight this? I heard Enterprise is well known to file claims of around $500, hoping they can avoid an insurance claim because it’s close to the deductible. Who should I contact? — Daniela Nordqvist, Sacramento, Calif.

Answer: If your insurance company said you’d be covered, it should have covered you. But hang on — this was the other driver’s insurance. How could it make a warranty on behalf of another insurance company? (Answer: It can’t.)

So, the lesson here is: You shouldn’t let any company’s representative make a claim on a product that that company doesn’t control. And last time I checked, State Farm could not control anything Geico does. You should have asked Geico what it covered. Also, don’t forget to take “before” and “after” photos of your car, and especially the doors. Because no one else will, and in Car Rental Land, you are guilty until proven innocent.

Apart from that, there’s the issue of the “quarter-size” ding on your door. For that, you should have received ample documentation from Enterprise and furnished it to Geico. If your policy covers damage to a rental car — a warranty that only Geico can make through its policy or through one of its representatives — then this claim should have been a slam-dunk.

I think a quick note to one of Enterprise’s customer service contacts might have yielded good results. Based on your correspondence, it looks as if Enterprise hadn’t really sent you a lot of documentation on the alleged damage.

At this point, the case took a strange turn. Your parents contacted me and offered some clarification. It turns out you’d been billed a total of $559 — $405 for repairs to the door and $154 as an administrative fee, including charges for loss of use and diminishment of value. These are well-known junk fees.

Geico received a similar invoice, but with the junk fees waived, leaving an invoice total of $405. After pointing out the inconsistency to the insurance company, Geico contacted the claims department at Enterprise. The car rental company adjusted your invoice to $405, according to your parents.

This made me even more suspicious of your claim. I contacted Enterprise in an effort get some clarification on the alleged damage. It dropped its claim.

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