Just about every adult has at least one credit card in their wallet. And for many, this card is a lifesaver in an emergency and a much better option than getting fast cash with a title loan. But a credit card isn’t only useful when you’re cash-strapped. There are other little hidden perks you might not know about.
Read the fine print on your credit card application or the terms of agreement, and you’ll discover a variety of sweet perks that can save you money.
1. Rental car insurance
If you’ve ever rented a car, you might have purchased collision insurance to protect your wallet in the event of an auto accident. With this coverage, if you cause an accident and damage the rental car, you don’t have to file a claim through your personal auto insurance.
What you might not realize is that some credit cards offer free car rental insurance coverage. Use your credit card to book your next car rental and you’ll automatically receive coverage up to a certain dollar amount, which varies by credit card. Since car rental insurance can cost $10-$20 a day, that’s a savings of up to $140 for a week’s rental.
2. Extended warranty
If you’re spending hundreds or thousands on a new electronic, it only makes sense to get an extended warranty. Most manufacturer warranties expire after one year, but an extended warranty offers up to two or three years of additional protection.
Instead of buying an extended warranty at checkout when purchasing an electronic item, call your credit card company in advance to see if an extended warranty is included among your cardmember perks. If so, use this card to make the purchase and you’ll receive an extended warranty that matches the manufacturer’s warranty (up to one or two years). This covers the repair or replacement cost if the item breaks or malfunctions. Ask your credit card company about maximum coverage amounts and restrictions.
3. Trip cancellation coverage
There is nothing more frustrating than an airline canceling your flight at the last minute and having to book another flight at a higher rate.
Book a trip with a credit card that offers trip cancellation coverage, and you’ll be reimbursed for charges triggered by a travel delay. Additionally, you can receive a refund on non-refundable flights if you have to cancel or change your plans because of an emergency (death of an immediate family member) or an illness. Speak with your credit card company for coverage limits.
4. Price protection
If you use a credit card to make a purchase, and then find the same item for less at another retail store within 30 to 60 days, your credit card company may refund the difference. Price protection isn’t offered by every credit card company, so you’ll need to read your terms of agreement or call the issuing bank. There are limits to how much you can get back. For example, Citi’s price protection refunds up to $300 per item, and up to $1,200 per year.
As a bonus, some credit cards offer purchase protection. If an item you purchase with your credit card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the purchase (on average), the credit card company will refund your purchase up to a certain amount. Discover offers purchase protection within the first three months up to $500.
5. Roadside assistance
You might feel that AAA or another motor club membership is an absolute necessity, especially if you don’t know anything about jumping a battery or changing a tire. However, before you spring for a yearly roadside assistance membership, see if your credit card offers this perk.
Benefits vary by card. Some cards may only offer free towing up to a certain number of miles, whereas others might charge a flat fee for a service call, which is cheaper than calling a tow company directly. Ask your credit card company about fees, and then compare the cost with the annual price of a motor club membership.