A little more than a year ago, I bought my first Apple computer, the MacBook aluminum unibody with the integrated multi-gesture touch pad! Wow! It just worked! I loved it. Unfortunately, on a Sunday afternoon about a week into my love affair, my darling husband, who is usually so level headed, tossed a hacky sack at my 11-year-old son who was standing near the table where I was sitting with my beloved Mac. The hacky sack ricocheted off his chest at a 90-degree angle, across the table, into a 7-oz cup of milk, only about 2/3 full, which fell over and splashed all over my keyboard. Apparently, that wouldn’t have been a big problem. In the process of my acting fast and picking it up off the table, without closing it first, I let the milk run down into the back vent and into the motherboard! The screen fizzled out and it wouldn’t come back on.
Well, I contacted Apple in Grand Rapids and then my homeowners insurance carrier, Farmers Insurance. Apple said it was likely a $755 repair. I was rather dismayed when Farmers told me they don’t cover “accidental damage,” plus the deductible would have been $750 anyway. Monday morning, I made an appointment with an Apple Genius for that afternoon and drove to Grand Rapids with the hope that they could just fix it there for free. The Genius, after listening intently to my sad story, looked it over and decided it had to be sent in for a circuit board replacement and, upon my request, handed me my hard drive. There I was without my beloved Mac, with only a hard drive in my hand and wonder about how I was going to recover from this expense.
Well, luckily, someone on the Macs in Law Offices list serv, reading of my plight, suggested that, if I purchased it with a Visa card, it might be covered under the standard Visa benefits. So, I contacted my provider. Sure enough, if it was purchased in its entirety with my Visa checkcard, I would receive reimbursement, even for accidental damage. I submitted the claim. A week later I had my Mac back, and shortly thereafter, I received a reimbursement check from Visa, and all was well in the world.
If you do not know it, using your Visa checkcard does have its privileges. In today’s mail, I received my new Visa checkcard from PNC, following the merger of National City Bank and PNC Bank. With it came the new “Guide to Benefits Package” for Visa Business Card. I’ve never actually read one of these before. I read this one! It comes with a couple of really cool perks: Purchase Security and Extended Protection.
“Within the first ninety (90) days of purchase, Purchase Security will, at the Provider’s discretion, replace, repair, or reimburse you for eligible items of personal property purchased entirely with your eligible Visa Business card up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder in the event of theft or damage.” This is how I received reimbursement for my Mac repair.
“Extended Protection doubles the time period of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. warranty up to one (1) full year on warranties of three (3) years or less up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim.” You don’t need to ever really purchase extended warranties, like Best Buy will bug you about when you’re in the store. Just use your Visa checkcard with that benefit. Your card probably has that benefit if you just check your benefits guide.
Of course, there are terms and conditions and excluded items, such as items purchased for resale, animals and living plants, antiques and collectibles, computer software, etc., on the Purchase Security, for example. However, it really does cover a lot of everyday purchases. What if you just got a new smartphone and then dropped it on the concrete or found it in the washing machine, after it finished, within the first week? If you purchased it with your Visa checkcard or credit card, it would likely be covered.
In addition, these cards also offer, for no additional charge, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver coverage and Travel and Emergency Assistance Services. Just grab your benefits guide and read everything. You’re really covered for a lot. Generally, debit cards backed by Visa and Mastercard carry the same protections and benefits that the credit cards do. Check it out for yourself.
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