Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the horizon. While you might be preparing to do a little extra spending, remember to only spend what you can afford to pay off immediately! That being said, unless you’re already carrying a balance, using a credit card to make big-ticket purchases might be a smart way to temporarily insure a product. Purchase protection is an important credit card benefit that many consumers often forget or don’t know about.
What is Purchase Protection?
Not all credit cards offer purchase protection as a benefit. If you have a card that offers it, you probably forgot it exists or don’t know what’s covered. Plans differ from company to company, but they cover things like theft, defective merchandise, and even accidental damage. It’s like temporary insurance on purchases made with a credit card. It may even protect you from needing credit card debt help due to an accident or bad luck.
How to File a Claim
Credit card companies handle claims on a case-by-case basis. There is an internal review process that requires consumers to fill out a claim form and submit documentation or other proof that the merchandise was damaged, stolen, or defective. Call your card issuer to learn about their specific process. Here are some steps to perform in order to effectively utilize purchase protection benefits.
Purchase Protection Tips:
- Know Your Coverage Details – First, knowing whether you have this benefit and how much is covered is critical. The dollar amount that is covered can vary widely from card to card, so do your homework before you buy.
- Use Your Credit Responsibly – If you have a card with purchase protection, only use the card for items where the benefit may be necessary. Keeping the balance on the card very low ensures you can use it for infrequent large purchases. Buying items you cannot afford to pay off immediately could leave you drowning in debt.
- Document Loss/Theft/Damage – Get written proof for any incident involving your items with purchase protection. Police reports, pictures of the damage, or other forms of evidence will help ensure your claim is successful.
- Act Fast – Most cards require you file claim forms within 30 days of an incident and submit documentation soon after. Time is not on your side, so don’t put this on the back burner and end up being denied.
- Make an Effort – Call your card issuer as soon as possible after any incident involving your item. Even if you don’t believe the item or circumstance is covered, it never hurts to try. The worst that could happen is they’ll simply say “No.”
Most importantly, don’t buy more than you can afford! Even if credit card purchases are protected from damage or robbery, your financial stability is always at risk. Avoiding unnecessary splurging during this time of year is much easier than getting rid of debt whether purchases are protected or not.