How Does Chase Sapphire Preferred Car Rental Insurance Work?

As I wrote about yesterday, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the hottest all around credit cards. In addition to offering double points on dining and travel, the card also offers a very generous sign-up bonus, with the first year’s annual fee waived:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign Up Bonus
50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months
Additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user to the card that makes a purchase within three months

In this post I wanted to talk about what I consider to be one of the other best benefits of the card. Specifically, the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s rental car coverage.

Chase Sapphire Preferred collision damage waiver protection basics

I consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred to be the all around best credit card for rental cars. On the most basic level:

  • You earn double points on car rentals with the card
  • The card offers primary collision damage waiver protection, even in the US; this means you can use the coverage of this benefit without having to file a claim with another insurance company (just be sure you decline any collision damage waiver offered by the car rental company)
  • Even authorized users are eligible for this benefit (you can add authorized users to your card at no additional cost)
  • As long as you’re paying for the rental, you’re also covered if someone else was driving the car, as long as they were authorized to under the terms of the rental agreement
  • This benefit even covers most luxury car rentals, but rather just “expensive and exotic” cars are excluded

You can find the full Chase Sapphire Preferred guide to benefits here, which provides all the details of the car rental protection offered by the card. I do think it’s worth clarifying that this is collision damage waiver protection, which limits your liability for the damage to your car. However, this doesn’t limit your liability to other parties and cars if you’re at fault for an accident.

Chase Sapphire Preferred collision damage waiver protection details

Here’s what’s covered, under the benefits guide:

Auto Rental CDW reimburses you for covered losses to the rental vehicle while it is in your control or in control of another Authorized Person. The benefit only covers vehicle rental periods that do not exceed or are not intended to exceed thirty-one (31) consecutive days within or outside of your country of residence.

Covered losses are:

  • Physical damage and/or theft of the covered rental vehicle
  • Valid loss-of-use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and is not available for use, as substantiated in the company’s fleet utilization log
  • Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility. Auto Rental CDW is primary coverage and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle as it was originally manufactured. Most private passenger automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles are eligible for coverage, but some restrictions may apply.

My experience with Chase Sapphire Preferred’s car rental coverage

Last summer I rented from Silvercar in Los Angeles and paid using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and unfortunately got rear ended on the interstate in bumper to bumper traffic.

Fortunately no one was injured. You’d think the process would have been simple, given that I got rear ended, so it wasn’t my fault. However, the problem was that it became a three car accident.

So while it wasn’t my fault regardless (I was in the very front), the two other drivers’ insurance companies got into a dispute about who was at fault:

  • The driver who hit me claimed that he was hit first, and that caused him to be pushed into my car
  • The driver in the back claimed that she hit the other guy’s car after he had already hit my car

Car-Rental-Accident

Long story short, even though it wasn’t my fault regardless, this would have been a massive pain if it weren’t for having using a card with primary coverage. That’s because neither insurance company wanted to pay for my damage, and obviously Silvercar wanted their money.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred coverage is handled through a third party, and they were great. Of course there was some paperwork, but after that they just kept me updated on the situation throughout.

I don’t know what ended up happening in the end (if the two insurance companies settled, or what), but I didn’t have to pay a dime, even though Silvercar claimed the damage on my car was $12,000+, including their fees for the car being out of service.

Bottom line

While there are several credit cards offering primary collision damage waiver protection internationally nowadays, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the all around winner, in my opinion. You earn double points on the cost of the car rental, you and your authorized users on the card are covered globally, and the primary coverage even applies in the US, unlike on many other cards. There are significantly fewer exceptions than with other similar policies.

When I had an accident the experience filing a claim was seamless, so this is the card I’ve long used and continue to use for my rental cars, and I recommend you do as well.

What card do you use for rental cars, and have you ever had to use the coverage?

Comments

  1. You’re supposed to pull over onto the shoulder if no one seriously injured. Look at all that interstate traffic thats backuped behind you

  2. How does it compare to Amex platinum car rental insurance?? Is it still by far the winner? What are the main differences?

  3. You mention being covered as long as you decline any insurance offered by the rental car company. I think it’s important to clarify/amend that to say you’re covered for any damage to your rental car as long as you decline any damage waiver coverage offered by the rental car company. Technically, damage waivers are not insurance and calling it such is misleading. The damage waiver benefit of this credit card (and several others) does NOT cover any liability insurance protection and accepting a rental car company’s liability offerings would not invalidate your credit card protections (though may duplicate coverage your own personal auto policy provides).

  4. I assume the other parties involved asked you for proof of insurance. What do you present them in this situation when the credit card company is acting as the primary insurance and not your personal insurance company?

  5. I booked a rental in Vermont last year with my Chase Sapphire. While trying to navigate the off-road parking in the woods, I backed into a small tree and damaged a rear tail light and bumper. I called Chase Sapphire’s customer service line, was connected to the third party, and they opened a claim. I was then emailed some documents to fill out with additional documentation requested. I sent it over, and that was it. I received a letter later on informing me the claim had been processed, paid, and was closed. Fully covered, despite me being at fault. It is probably one of the single best assets on the card.

  6. Can you give some details on when you called and got Sapphire involved? What paperwork you had to sign and also, how did you deal with Silvercar? Thanks!

  7. Silvercar usually requests your insurance information be added to your account before you rent (but I don’t know if they require it) I assume you can just decline having coverage with them?

  8. I am also curious about what you’re meant to do if the credit card is acting as your primary insurance. I don’t why I’d never thought about that before.

  9. I have the CSP, but a Canadian driver’s license. Am I still covered when I am not a US resident?

  10. Lucky who is the provider of your personal auto insurance? The primary vs secondary nature of the CSP insurance only matters if you are insuring autos.

  11. In Ireland Hertz refused to accept it. They were nasty and arrogant. I was told that I had to give them 6000 euros if I didn’t take the cdw coverage, the cdw coverage was greater than the car rental in Ireland. I will never use hertz aain. I have used the sapphire in the us without a problem.

  12. To everyone asking about what to show as proof of insurance it’s important to know that this credit card benefit is not your primary liability insurance. If you hit another vehicle and are at fault, you better have coverage from somewhere else to pay for damage to their vehicle. The credit card acts as a primary damage waiver, meaning you are not responsible for damage to the rental car. This credit card benefit would NOT suffice as proof of insurance if you are involved in a collision that involves any other parties. It truly is a good benefit, but I think its important to recognize the limitations of it and make sure you are covered if you were at fault.

  13. Lucky, you should follow up with Chase to see what the outcome was (final claim paid to Silvercar and if they were made whole by another driver).

    Some of your readers are curious if Silvercar’s inflated claim got reduced (12k for what looks like minor damage ont he rear of the car, LOL. Nothing in the expensive engine pay, no airbags, etc.

    Also it’d be good for your own knoweldge if you are “in the red” on Chase’s books, or if Chase was fully copensated byt he other insurance. Just becaues chase paid out doesn’t mean they will want to keep unprofitable customers.

  14. I’m probably one of the 6 people in the U.S. that still has a Diners Club personal card, but it also includes primary CDW worldwide. I had to use it to deal with a damage claim for a rental in the UK, and it was an incredibly easy process. I just had to call their 800 number after I got home, send in a copy of the receipt showing the damage charge, and they handled the rest. I had a check in about 2 weeks.

    As to why I still carry a Diners Club, I was planning to cancel the card some time ago, but then discovered they are an Alaska Mileage Plan transfer partner. That makes it worth keeping IMHO.

  15. You are one of the idiots who doesn’t pull over to the shoulder and blocks traffic. Since you were in the front, you should have taken the lead. Lack of leadership and consideration is all I have to say….

  16. If asked, do you tell the car company that you’re using the CSP’s coverage?

    It seems straightforward when there’s an incident, but what about beforehand, when a company wants to check insurance? Or police?

  17. Lucky,

    Did you have to pay anything to Silvercar when you brought the car in? I scraped my rental car in Spain and paid a fee when I dropped the car with off. I’ve been working with Chase Sapphire’s car insurance folks since June 10th and have not been reimbursed yet. It should hopefully happen soon though.

  18. All rental cars come with basic limits liability insurance. I’d guess you only need to show your rental contract.

    i think it was pointed out correctly above that its primary CDW insurance.

  19. Isn’t Primary Coverage a standard benefit on all US Visa Signature cards? Given the special nature of Chase’s relationship with Visa I wonder if it is a Chase policy or if they are leveraging the Visa Policy

  20. For all the people chastising Lucky for not pulling over: Have any of you actually been in an accident on the freeway? I have. It is the most nerve-wracking thing. It is very hard to think straight in that situation. The only thing going through my mind (aside from relief that I wasn’t hurt and making sure no one else was hurt) was that I wanted to get pictures of the vehicles involved exactly as they ended up. Which is clearly what Lucky did, and I don’t blame him.

  21. @ anon — I’m aware of that, but the car wouldn’t start after I was hit. Caused a huge backup, but nothing I could do since the car wouldn’t move.

  22. @ Hannah — The Amex Plat only offers secondary protection for free. They have a reasonably priced premium policy, but I’d rather use the CSP’s free policy.

  23. @ Jonathan — They actually didn’t, since I wasn’t at all at fault. When the cops arrived I explained that it was rental car insurance and I had coverage through them.

  24. @ jediwho — I called up the Chase Sapphire Preferred claims department several hours after the accident to start the claim process. There was a fair bit of paperwork explaining what happened, sharing the details of the rental agreement, etc. I also contacted Silvercar right away. Obviously they wanted their money (it’s not their problem who was at fault), though I was able to give Silvercar the reference info for my Sapphire Preferred CDW claim, and they handled it from there.

  25. @ DaninMCI — Indeed, it’s a bit tricky with their website, but basically you can decline and just explain you have primary coverage through your card, which does the trick.

  26. “I wanted to get pictures of the vehicles involved exactly as they ended up.”

    snic , that is just as selfish as those people who took their rollaboards with them off the DXB crash. The signs around here clearly say to move your car off the the road.

  27. @ JUAN — You might want to call them just to be sure, but I don’t see anything in the terms requiring you to have a US license.

  28. @ tim — Keep in mind that this is handled by a third party, and I suspect Chase doesn’t actually have any liability with this. Rather I suspect they pay some amount per cardmember for this benefit, and then there are several levels of insurance that cover the claims.

  29. @ MT — Lack of leadership and consideration, LOL. The car wouldn’t start. Shall we make some generalizations about you being so judgmental about a situation you have no clue about now? 😉

  30. @ Chris C — No, I didn’t have to pay anything. I actually never even brought the car in, since it had to be towed to Silvercar because it couldn’t be driven anymore. That’s very odd, though, as usually they don’t charge anything on the spot but rather get an estimate and then send you a bill.

  31. Keep in mind that many rental car agencies will not accept the CSP as they require RAISED NUMBERS on a credit card and not the engraved numbers like the CSP has. I have had the CSP refused in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Dubai for this reason.

  32. I am holding a Singapore driver’s license and i am only an authorized user from my father who lives in SF. Last year in UK, my rental car from Hertz got some minor damage to the tire and as I followed exactly what CSP’s t&cs say, i managed to make the claim online when i got back to Singapore.
    And after submitting all required documents to this 3rd party, i got a cheque sent to my address in SF within a month. Smooth.
    So i guess it doesn’t matter where your driver’s license is issued as long as you have a valid USD address.

  33. Would be helpful to know more details about the process with Chase. How long was your call? How tedious was the paperwork? Etc.

  34. Hi-

    Curious if you could explain more about the authorized user benefit.

    Is an authorized user covered if they use their card to book a car under their name?

    Is an authorized user covered if you book the car with the primary account card and the authorized user is added to the rental contract as an additional driver?

    Thanks!

  35. Rental companies make a fortune off credit card rental insurance. There was probably about $3000 worth of damage to the car. The level of insurance fraud makes it shocking that credit cards continue to offer it as a free perk.

  36. +1 to Sean M’s comment.

    Hertz in Cancun refused to accept the card because it doesn’t have raised numbers and they still take an imprint of the card….

  37. @Avi you can actually call Chase and request a regular plastic CSP card with raised numbers. I requested it right after I got the card three years ago since using the metal card made me feel like a huge douchebag.

  38. I recently had an accident with a Hertz rental in France (I’m a US resident/driver), and fortunately used the Citi Thank You Premier card to pay for the rental. I dented the passenger side in a parking garage, and while the car was driveable, the dent and paint scrapes were significant. I called Citi about an hour after it happened, and they very quickly got the claim process going, telling me exactly what I needed to get from Hertz and following up with an email including the same information. It made a stressful situation much less so, and may have saved my vacation.

    Because the claim process lagged the billing, I did have to pay Hertz for the damage, which was around $3000. The claim took longer to process than I expected, but after a few phone calls I received the credit in the next billing cycle.

    Terms of Citi’s CDW are similar to Chase’s, i.e. decline rental company’s insurance and pay for all charges with the Citi Thank You Premier.

    I got this card (and the Chase Sapphire Premier) after starting to follow this blog (and coincidentally booked my flights for this particular trip using points and miles, experiencing my first international first class plane ride, thank you Lucky!)

    I will say that Hertz on the other hand was not so easy to deal with. Out of courtesy I attempted to reach them after the accident to inform them of it. Hertz in the US would not deal with me. The numbers for Hertz in France were incorrect, but I couldn’t tell that from the recordings I was getting in French. The person working the desk at my hotel was extremely helpful, and after about an hour (no exaggeration) of trying to reach someone, I got an English-speaking representative from Hertz, who was very helpful and appreciative of the fact that I reached out to them and noted the incident, telling me that if I had any issue with the car that they would exchange it for me.

  39. One area where chase car insurance beats Amex platinum is if you travel to Italy, Ireland, Jamaica or New Zealand. For some reason Amex doesn’t offer insurance there, but chase does.
    It has something to do with the country rules but I called and chase does cover Ireland at least

  40. Lucky — Something I’ve always wondered since I rent a car weekly for business… Would the following scenario be admissible?

    I rent a car using any credit card other than my CSP. I get in an accident or a situation that requires filing a claim. When I return the car or pay for the rental (in the case that the car is towed), could I change the charge to the CSP? And then reap the benefits of that charge? I ask because the initial charge is often a hold and not a charge posted to your account, yet.

  41. @Kiwi

    The Visa standard CDW is secondary in your country of residence and primary elsewhere.

    @Randy Fisher

    Israel, Ireland, and Jamaica are frequently excluded from credit card CDW but the CSP, UMPE, and Ink Plus explicitly cover all countries. You can get a letter from Chase explaining such to bring with you.

  42. I pay for the $18 (flat fee per rental) AMEX premium policy with each rental and … knock on wood … Never have had an accident. But I’ve wondered how that process would work if needed.

  43. i booked my rental in a couple of weeks using ultimate rewards points – will give them the CSP as my card when i check in….does this give me coverage since i technically paid with UR points instead of my CSP card? thanks.

  44. Merchants cannot legally refuse a credit card if they accept other cards from that brand. The rental agencies in those specific locations should be reported to the payment brand. Unbelievable that a company like Hertz has locations that allow this behavior. I realize it’s just ignorant behavior but when you’re dealing with potential damage or injury refusing to accept your preferred choice of payment is a big deal

  45. @Sean M: “Keep in mind that many rental car agencies will not accept the CSP as they require RAISED NUMBERS on a credit card and not the engraved numbers like the CSP has.”

    Maybe when you use the word “many” you should give more examples than just one that happened in South Africa and you didn’t name the rental company. I use CSP in EVERY RENT I make and I Was never told anything like that. I used it in the US, Greece, Italy, Brazil and it always worked. Thus, your case was probably a particular one and not the norm. BTW, I just used it on a rent in Greece where the car was delivered at the hotel to me by one of the company’s agents. He had a portable credit card reader and no issues at all.

  46. Worth to mention that Chase coverage is worldwide including those countries where the basic CDW coverage is MANDATORY from the rental car companies – countries such as Australia and NZ as they are no fault countries, countries such as South Africa and Jordan – both basic CDW is included in the rental rate – the option to drop CDW is grayed out on Avis website for example. The basic CDW has a large amount of “excess” (deductible) – high 3 to 4 figures, and the rental companies always push the additional CDWs that would reduce the “excess” to a much less amount or even zero.
    Chase coverage would be the “Excess” in those countries. As you all know the insurance is handled by a 3rd party. (used to be Chubb, but not sure who it is now.) AMEX handles the insurances itself IIRC.
    AMEX only cover the “excess” in South Africa. They exclude Australia and NZ, according to an AMEX rep, “they” (the reps) are told that these countries refuse to sign an agreement with AMEX, so no coverage.

    We used a UA Biz card to rent in Croatia. Initially Avis wanted us to buy the CDW. After we showed them the Visa Signature benefits (downloaded on iPad) they agreed on not to buy the CDW but insisted to put a 65000 HRK authorization on the card – for those who are not familiar with Croatia Kuna – it is 6.5 HRK to a USD1 roughly – so that is 10K USD authorization.. We chuckle and told them that aint going to happen. At the end they tried 1800 euro, which was declined. Then they tried 1600 euro and it was approved by Chase. It was an authorization but nonetheless it took out the 1600 euro spending power from the card.
    FWIW, Chase biz cards cover personal rental but it would be secondary domestically. However internationally all secondary coverage defaults to primary as you would most likely have 0 coverage from any place for international rental.

    Oh, important to mention that LIABILITY insurance is NOT covered by CC as several have pointed out. In most countries, liability insurance is built in the rental car rates, but sometimes it can be really low, such as we just found out being the case in Jordan. In those situations you should buy extra LIABILITY insurance in case you damage others’ properties or hurt someone.

    My suggestion is to download the benefit documents to your device and show it to the rental car agent when there is any doubt.

    As for the poster’s comment about “report the company when card is not accepted”. Yeah right. That does NOT solve the issue on hand, that is, if you insist to use that card the rental company refuse to take, then you have NO car to use. Go ahead to report that company and call a taxi to wherever you need to go… Each time I read about reporting a company that does not accept a card, I have to laugh – as if Visa / MC / AMEX would ever care…

    AU cards enjoy the same benefits as the Primary cards, as long as the renter’s name is IMPRINTED on the card being used. Also any additional driver ON THE CONTRACT is covered, under the card being used for the rental.

    AMEX has a very plainless claim process online too. We had a minor scratch in Brittany on our Avis car – the curb was too high and we scraped the wheel ring in several places when making a tight right turn. Avis charged 110 euro on that in the final invoice received a few days after turning in the car. It is labeled other charge. Filled out the AMEX online claim, uploaded the needed doc, and got a personalized email from AMEX in a couple days. Then the agent called to ask whether we wanted a temporary credit on that amount or wait till the claim is processed. We told her just wait till the claim was processed as there were still 3 weeks to statement close. A “payment” was deposited to the card the next week. Very quick. Though the claim is also very minor, that might help the speed of processing.

  47. @FLL
    i think your issuer would care that the merchant refused their card for no good reason. Might not help you then and there but it could help the next person. And your comment abut the payment networks not caring is not true. No acceptance means no revenue. They care, I’m telling you that from someone who works at one of the companies you mention.

  48. A side note about California: if you get rear-ended and the other party is clearly at fault you can file the claim directly with the other party’s insurance company. If they drag their feet then you should get your own company involved. Your company will then subrogate the claim to the other company.

    I have a ton of liability coverage, through the car insurance policy and an additional umbrella one, cuz California. My wife’s side mirror hits someone else passenger side mirror last year when trying to merge. Basically no damage: the mirror didn’t even rotate on its spring. The driver claimed damage to her entire car side as well as injuries (!)

  49. I have AMEX Premium and have used it once when involved in LA rush hour and rear ended by a young woman who was texting. When I got out she freaked and drove off. Leaving me with a hit and run. I was only able to get partial plates. Filed a police report. Called AMEX. Hardly any paperwork needed. All handled with minimal ease. No issues with Hertz. All promptly resolved. I am a AMEX fan for life. But glad to know the CSP gives me options where AMEX doesn’t cover.

  50. Lucky, newer cars have sensors in the back that automatically shut off the fuel pump in cases of a rear end collisions. It takes a mechanic to get things working again.

    Your readers telling you to pull over are a bit clueless about how things work in 2016.

  51. @RG Thank you for sharing your experience with Citi ThankYou Premier.

    @Lucky Is there any reason why you didn’t use Citi ThankYou Premier to pay for the rental car considering Citi’s similar CDW policy to CSP, but with additional points?

  52. I just left New Zealand, and am in Australia now.

    Rented a car in both locations, and asked Hertz why most cards exclude coverage in those countries.

    The manager answers were the same that I had guessed from my own research: These countries include Loss Damage Waiver on all rentals (but have a $1150 AUD/NZD “copay/deductible). I was told the card issuers were told by the rental agencies and gov’t laws ‘full insurance is provided-no need to provide any more’. BUT them over time the copay/deductible was introduced, and has crept up in cost.

    For other rentals worldwide:
    Here is what I do: drive low value clunkers at home so I do not carry ANY collision or theft insurance. What does that mean for me: ANY card with secondary coverage automatically becomes primary coverage for me.

  53. @GOB:

    most car rental benefits on Chase Signature Visa cards require both reserving and paying for the rental to get the coverage.

  54. After a vehicle accident where I was wrong for there was a trouble with the insurance company. Later on, I was confronted with expensive clinical expenses, and with a significant loss of salaries because of my lack. About the recovery, I could not protect my rights. I turned to an attorney in Brooklyn, I will not tell the names. They did not aid me. Now I want to count on one more company http://www.boyko-law.com/. But I hesitate I will be deceived again. Are you personally knowledgeable about this law firm or no? Please, create your evaluations.

  55. @ Sean M — I didn’t read all of the comments, so maybe someone else responded last week, but I’ve rented in Johannesburg and Dubai in the past year and used my CSP in both places without an issue. Wonder if it’s just some agencies still taking an imprint, or if your info is outdated?

  56. I just got into an accident where I used the CSP as the payment method. It was not my fault, as a driver hit me head on after jumping lanes while having a medical issue. It was not his fault either, as sudden medical issues are considered an “act of god.” Therefore, I am on the hook for everything.

    I think its important to note, that A LOT of paperwork is required. Also, I was charged the deductible from my insurance by the rental car company immediately, $500.

    You are required to submit two pictures of the damage to the vehicle, so make sure you snap a couple if possible. I was injured and could not, so this is a hang up.

    Also, you need to get paperwork on the estimate of damages to the vehicle, so expect to wait a while for that, since the rental company is taking their sweet time. They must estimate their own damages.

    Although it seems like a good benefit, I am having trouble satisfying the documentation requirements, due to injury, and they seem to be making it difficult.

    Just FYI to those thinking about using this benefit.

    IN ADDITION TO THE CLAIM FORM, THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTATION IS NECESSARY TO PROCESS YOUR CLAIM:
     Copy of the monthly billing statement (showing the last 4 digits of the account number) verifying
    the rental transaction
     A copy of the itemized receipt may be required
     Copy of the initial auto rental agreement (front and back)
     Copy of the finalized auto rental agreement (front and back)
     Copy of any correspondence from rental company outlining charges from this loss
     The itemized estimate of repair or the repair bill*
    (Generally referred to as the Cost Matrix for International Rentals)
     Copy of the police report and/or the auto rental company accident report(s)*
     Two photographs of the damaged vehicle, if applicable and available
     For holders of personal cards (e.g. Gold, Classic, Platinum, Signature):
     If travelling within your country of residence, a copy of your Auto Insurance Declaration
    Page(s),
    which provides a summary of coverage and deductible amount in effect on the date of
    loss
     If travelling within your country of residence and the driver at the time of the accident did
    NOT have personal automobile insurance, a notarized statement indicating that lack of
    insurance, which includes the date of incident
     Copy of your insurance company’s settlement for this incident (if applicable)
     If the cost of the rental was prepaid or included in a travel package, please provide a
    copy of the
    prepaid voucher or a copy of your travel package invoice
     If the rental was transacted on a company card (e.g. business, corporate, purchasing, or
    government):
     A letter from your employer stating that the rental was for business purposes
     If your rental was not used for business purposes at the time of the incident, follow the
    personal card instructions above

  57. We will be renting a car in Scotland for 5 days. we have CSP card what insurance do I need to get from the rental company if any.

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