HIDDEN PERKS ON CREDIT CARDS
* EXTENDED WARRANTIES. Some cards offer their own FREE extended warranties on certain items. The warranty's automatically activated when the card is used to buy the item. SOURCE'S RECOMMENDATION: The American Express Buyer's Assurance Plan automatically extends a product's warranty an extra year or $10,000 if the warranty is five years or less. Call 1-800-225-3750 or www.americanexpress.com/buyersassurance.
* CAR RENTAL INSURANCE. A lot of cards offer free auto rental insurance when the cards are used to rent the car. Big savings when you consider the average cost of car rental companies' insurance to be between $9 and $19 a day. SOURCE'S RECOMMENDATION: Diners Club cards. Most Diners Club cards offer primary rental insurance. That means your auto insurance company does not have to get involved in the event of an accident, and that will keep your premiums low. 1-800-234-6377 or www.dinersclubus.com.
* ACCIDENTAL DEATH & DISMEMBERMENT TRAVEL INSURANCE. You might discover your credit card automatically provides between $100,000 and $1 million in AD&D insurance when you use the car to buy airline tickets, bus fare or cruise reservations. SOURCE RECOMMENDATION: Many cards offer this free travel insurance, but in the event of your death, your survivors must be aware that you carried the insurance on your card, and they must file a claim. Make sure your heirs are aware of the insurance so they can be prepared to make a claim.
* LOST LUGGAGE ASSISTANCE. Your card-issuer acts as your ombudsmen in finding your lost luggage. Some credit card companies will even pay you cash or credit for the cost of replacing lost or broken items. SOURCE RECOMMENDATION: Discover Card's 24-hour Global Traveler's Hotline, 1-800-347-2683 or 1-801-902-3100 outside of the U.S.
Source: Bottom Line Secrets magazine; Curtis E. Arnold, founder and CEO of US Citizens for Fair Credit Card Terms, Inc., CardRatings.com