LEAKS: Enterprise Store's Insurance Upsell Cheat Sheet

At least one Enterprise rental place has a cheat sheet for manipulating buyers into buying what is sometimes unnecessary car insurance. Here’s a transcript of the document one of our readers snagged from an Enterprise in Fort Lee, NJ .

I. Initial Sales Pitches

A. “I assume you want us to protect you bumper to bumper on the car, right?” (assumption makes the customer feel like everyone takes it)
B. “You’ve rented from us before?” (if yes) “Then, I’m sure you took our coverage last time, right?” (customer will feel silly for having not taken it)
C. “How long do you need the car?” -three days- “Three days? That’s only $60 and protects you the full value of the car!” “…it’s only $19.99/day and protects you of the full value of the car!!!” (make sure the customer feels your excitement)

Before getting insurance at a car-rental place, call your car insurance company and your credit card company, as oftentimes you’re already covered with one of these places.

(Photo: presta)


II. Handling Objections
A. I have my own insurance- “Yes, but you have exposure. Meaning, if anything happens, we’d have to collect your deductible, place a claim through your insurance, you’d have to worry about surcharges, insurance rates going up, etc…” (exposure, most powerful objection word ever)
B. No, I’m ok… I don’t need it- “80% of my customers under 10 days do take it because they would not be responsible for any damage, regardless of fault!” (customers love to be a part of the majority, it’s comforting)

III. Thing You Should NEVER Say
A. “How do you want to cover the car?” (this gives them the option of their own insurance, and they’ll use that option every time)
B. “Do you want to take our coverage or use your own insurance?” (Are you kidding me?! This is not sales!)
C. “We offer a protection package that can cover you bumper to bumper…” (Duh, that is precisely what you’d be doing… offering, not SELLING!)

IV. A True Seller…
– A true seller can close the deal within 30 seconds.
– A true seller doesn’t even need the “three no’s.”
– A true seller “persuades” rather than “offers.”
– A true seller believes in what he/she is selling.
– A true seller uses 1 to 2 powerful words, rather than a novel.
– If you work for Enterprise, you are a true seller (you just might not know it yet).

Tipster Tim Nudd writes: “As I was waiting for the guy to run my credit card, I noticed a piece of paper on the counter…It seemed to be a one-page cheat sheet for how Enterprise employees should go about selling car insurance to its customers. It was just sitting there, so I took it.”

“To be fair, I don’t know if this is a standard-issue Enterprise sales sheet or what. Plus the guy didn’t even bother with any of this crap when I told him I didn’t need his insurance. I did think it was a little weird that this Enterprise location has it in writing that making the customer feel silly can be a good thing.”

— BEN POPKEN

(This is a repost from our archive.)

Comments

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  1. timmus says:

    I hate to say it but I feel more comfortable opting for the coverage. I have a friend who got screwed out of $2000 by Avis over damage that never occurred while he had the car. Getting LDW is not peace of mind over the insurance, it’s peace of mind that I’m not going to get into a messy dispute with some monolithic rental car company and have thousands in funds tied up.

  2. mantari says:

    NICE! This is exactly the kind of thing I like to read at Consumerist [tm]!

  3. lihtox says:

    Tangentially related: I rented a car from Enterprise for several months a few years back, to commute to a short-term job. I don’t own a car so I didn’t have my own insurance, but rather than buy their CDW I thought my credit-card would cover me. Now I knew that the credit card agreement said it would only cover rentals up to a certain number of days, but I made a mistake: Enterprise had me come in and renew the contract every 30 days, and somehow I got the impression that this was to allow me to stay covered by the credit card. Umm, nope. (Mastercard isn’t that dense.) I ended up with some fender damage–must’ve happened while the car was parked, as I don’t remember hitting anything–and had to pay for the expense out of pocket, about $1300.

    Moral: there are alternatives to the rental car company’s insurance, but be aware of the limits of those alternatives.

  4. archer117 says:

    Call me a fool, but I always buy the optional insurance. That way, if all I manage to return is a set of keys and the steering wheel, it’s not my problem and it’s not going on my insurance. Since the amount they charge you for the rental is totally arbitrary anyway, why not negotiate the best possible deal on the rental, take the optional coverage and not worry about the rest?

  5. lihtox says:

    Another trick: most rental car companies I’ve been too offer 3 types of insurance: collision, liability, and personal accident. One Enterprise location, however, offered two insurance “packages” rather than the three options, foisting the relatively useless (to my mind) personal accident insurance onto the renter who just wants liability or collision coverage. I confess that I didn’t try to unbundle them when I rented there; presumably one could just initial the blank marked “deny PAI” and ignore their packaging. (At least PAI isn’t as expensive as the other two.)

  6. SkaldGrimnir says:

    Before I became a Hertz Manager Trainee, I used to work in collections. I did hard collections for a time as well. I was one of those collection people who usually got someone to pay, after the debt being shuffled off to two or three other agencies.

    You will find that a lot of car rental companies borrow a few keys from how a hard collector works.

    One. They ask trivial questions, or so it seems, but each thing tells how something can be paid, or gives a valid reason to upsell or collect

    xxx”Do you want an SUV today?”xxx
    No No No. This is all wrong.

    “Where do you plan on visiting on your trip?”
    I just plan on exploring the sights.

    “You know, I can tell you a few great places, if you are interested.”
    Thanks!

    “Is your family with you today?”
    Yes, my wife, and my girls.

    Two. Get the person in the habit of saying yes. People in the habit of saying yes, say yes more.

    Three. The best salesmen in the car rental business, like the best collectors, do not ask questions, in regards to sales or payment, if at all possible.

    xxx”I assume you’ll be waiting bumper to bumper coverage?”xxx No No No. Again, wrong. Even in this situation, a question in regards to money gives an easy chance to say no.

    “Since you’re going to be heading to some of the sights, you’ll need the bumper to bumper coverage. This will cover you in case someone does damage to your rental.”

    Four. Worst case scenarios are a salesmans friend, especially in regard to coverage.

    “With the ice out there today, you need that protection.”

    Five. In cases where you say damage might occur, even in a hypothetical situation, place the blame on someone else. A driver always thinks he or she is safe, and they know they can control their own actions. But everyone understands they are unable to control the actions of others.

    Be aware of techniques like this, and you can avoid them.

  7. timmus says:

    I was thinking… I bet one good way they could get people to accept LDW is this:

    Agreement has a diagram of the specific car model that has been chosen, with an exploded view detailing the replacement costs of the bumper, doors, windows, hood, lights, etc. $2570.40, $1628.33, $745.68, $124.68, $1053.24, etc.

    Clerk says, “If you don’t want the LDW initial here [in the margin near the diagram]… if you want it, it initial here [points in the margin further down]“. Buyer sees all of the dollar figures, rethinks, and silently initials further down.

  8. schmosef says:

    Travelling to Atlanta on business a few years ago we got hustled by the agent when we went to pick up our rental car (I forget the company).

    Despite having the insurance covered by our credit card (and confirming this when we called ahead to reserve the car) the agent at pick-up kept telling us that we weren’t covered unless we bought the insurance from him.

    It was late, we were tired. We gave in.

    But when we came home we lodged a complaint with the rental company and after a few days got a credit back for the insurance.

    I was actually surprised with how easy it was to get our money back.

  9. bokononist says:

    previous comment: super-rad-excellent. the only thing i’d add to it is that it’s all predicated on the distaste people have for disagreeing with someone.

    never feel bad about disagreeing, especially when you know you’re being put into a situation where your distaste for disagreement is being exploited to take money from you. once you know you’re being taken advantage of, use the anger you feel to push back.

  10. xtakesthesquare says:

    When I rented a car in Puerto Rico from Budget, I ended up taking the coverage after taking one look at the car. It was a total beater, and I was responsible for marking all of the damage on their “check-out” sheet.

    I quickly realized that it was going to be way too probable that Budget would “find” damage to the car and start me causing problems. It’s not worth it. I’ll pay the “protection” money and avoid the hassle.

    Of course, it’s a different story when dealing with undamaged cars in the United States proper.

  11. Bradley says:

    My friend rented one of those 20ft long trucks from BUDGET. He got the max insurance they sold and had the truck for 2 days. He ended up hitting an unmarked 2nd story porch that overhung the road off of an apartment complex. The damage to the 2nd story porch was about $1500 and the damage to the truck was about $3K. The apt security guard that saw it says it happens at least once a moth and he didnt know why the apt mngr didnt mark it yet.

    Budget refused to pay for any of the damage or to dispute the claim as the building was not built to code. Turns out that BUDGET doesnt “sell insurance that covers hitting low overhangs”. FYI, be warned.

    Furthermore, his insurance told him that he is only covered in trucks with (and i forget the exact numbers) under a 3 ton capacity. Luckly he had been with them for along time and they covered him none the less.

  12. zolielo says:

    @archer117:

    Call me a fool, but I always buy the optional insurance. That way, if all I manage to return is a set of keys and the steering wheel, it’s not my problem and it’s not going on my insurance. Since the amount they charge you for the rental is totally arbitrary anyway, why not negotiate the best possible deal on the rental, take the optional coverage and not worry about the rest?

    I am the same way as well. I try to minimize my long term potential losses (insurance hikes) with short term safety found in picking up the rental insurance for as low as I can get it.

  13. medalian1 says:

    So I can total a rental for only $20 more in coverage … just for shits and giggles? Like drive it into a pond, etc.

  14. DjDynasty says:

    Yes you can total a car for $20 in rental coverage. The Jackass film prooved that, They took a car to demolition derby.

    • Anonymous says:

      @DjDynasty:

      Comprehensive is not covered in CDW/LDW i.e driving in a pond. Also demolision derby would be classified as one of the violations of the contract (competition driving) voiding the CDW/LDW completely AND because of such flagrant violations, your insurance company may/might not cover you either.

  15. joeblevins says:

    Despite your grasp of Insurance Liability that you gained by watching a Jackass film, generally, the insurance won’t cover damage/liability incured during a sporting/racing event.

  16. yg17 says:

    I’m sure Jackass was either set up and completely fake (the rental company knew what was going to happen) or they paid in full for the car.

    But yeah, with insurance, all you need to return is the key (and maybe a part of the car, like the steering wheel or piece of scrap metal) and you’re off the hook. You may be put on that companies shit list, but you won’t owe anything.

  17. nweaver says:

    Heck, if they think they can make a solid case of negligence or malice on your part, they will try to bill you anyway and not pay out through the insurance…

  18. mantari says:

    Actually, they do have ONE trick that they’d get me on.

    Them: “Do you want the damage waiver?”
    Me: “No, thanks.”
    Them: “Okay! Let’s go out there with my clipboard and document every little thing wrong with the exterior and interior of the car!”

    They’re telling you that you’re on the hook if they overlooked a ding or scratches on a vehicle if they didn’t find it while looking it over before you took the vehicle. Because if they notice it when you bring it back, they’ll soak you for it.

    Because _anything_ wrong with the vehicle would have been documented before you take it, anything that they notice when they return it that was not on the checklist is YOUR FAULT!

  19. Pupator says:

    Wow. So we’re just outright stealing company documents now? I’m all for The Consumerist – but encouraging this sort of action is an all-time low.

  20. akira says:

    I ALWAYS purchase the Insurance they offer. And I learned that it’s the right way to go on my Honeymoon. Driving back through the Bruckner Expressway (from airport), we got rear ended pretty bad. Luckily, all I had to do was drop off the car (it was still driveable) and not worry a bit about deductibles or paperwork. It was well worth it.

  21. esquilax says:

    Pupator: it’s not theft, it’s copyright infringement. :)

  22. mantari says:

    Hey, I say that if The Consumerist is willing to take the risk, in the end, we consumers are the winners here. So I have to support The Consumerist, although be concerned for them.

  23. pestie says:

    I always heard the mantra “the extra insurance is a scam” but could never get an explanation of why. Apparently it’s not so simple. I think I probably did the right thing by buying the extra insurance the last time I rented a car, since I was taking that car into Canada and I doubt very much that my insurance, or the coverage available with my platinum MasterCard, would cover me outside the country. I didn’t think to investigate this ahead of time, but the rental was only for 4 days or something anyway – it wasn’t a huge amount of money.

    I was under the impression that my own car insurance was that – it insured my car, not me as a driver. Shows what I know, eh? Or does that vary by state? I really don’t know how that works.

  24. r81984 says:

    @Bradley:
    If it was not the drivers fault because the balcony hung over a road then why would he be liable in this case.
    If budget lied about insurance, then that seems to be a case between budget (the owner of the truck) and the property owner. Budget would be paid for the truck from the insurance from the property owner who caused the damage.
    If this happens once a month then that property owner is clearly negligent.
    Why would the driver have to pay anthing?
    Bradley, your story perplexes me.

  25. superlayne says:

    I kind of want to rent a car, get the insurance, then total the thing.

  26. jamesdenver says:

    If you’re not properly covered or don’t have insurance, yet have a lot of assets, i.e. house and money – then additional insurance is NOT a bad idea. I go by the premise “The more you have to lose, but better your protection should be”. Conversely someone younger could risk more, as a company coming after his livlihood isn’t as big a threat, and there’s always bankruptcy should a huge company sue him

    I agree the sales techniques are laughable, but I guess they work. I’m know exactly what I need and don’t need before engaging in any transaction, and no “easy speak” will sway me either way.

    p.s. I take about 10 pictures on my camera phone of interior and exterior of a car before renting, with the car rental office on the shot. Never had any troubles, but I have proof of the condition should I need it.

  27. pestie says:

    @jamesdenver: Taking pictures is a great idea! I think I’ll do that next time I rent a car. I don’t have a camera phone, but if I’m renting a car, chances are I have my digital camera with me anyway.

  28. mantari says:

    NOTE: I think *they* should be the ones taking pictures and thoroughly documenting the condition of the vehicles. (And using the exact same method to check it back in.)

    But I totally agree that this is an awesome tip!

  29. SkaldGrimnir says:

    As a side note, rental companies do not sell “Insurance.” Technically, they are not allowed to. You need to have a license to do so.

    What they sell are Damage waivers, liability coverage( a promisary note to pay in case, but not actually insurance), etc.

    And just about all companies have policies, where if it can be proven that you purposefully, or through a criminal act, decided to total they car, they will charge you for it, or not pay the liability.

    Also, what you may not know, is that people automatically get state minimums as a secondary insurance, through the car company. You see, each car has to be insured, usually through self insurance by the car company. However, this is for liability only.

    On a third note, car companies used to provide coverage for acts of nature, but many of them dropped that during or just after Katrina. Now, you must purchase the damage waiver from a lot of companies to cover acts of nature such as hail, or depend on your own insurance.

  30. weave says:

    This is why I like the car clubs, like Hertz #1 Gold. Just walk up to your car, contract inside, drive off. The LDW stuff is decided by you when reserving the car.

  31. Trackback says:

    Several great tips rolled in as responses to recent posts on car rentals. Some were posted to comments, but in case you missed them, I’m upgrading them to a post of their own: Max out your dropoff time Reader Jason, a former employee of one of the major rental car chains, responding to a…