It’s summer time and many of us have plans to head out of town. Many of our clients ask us “Should I get the insurance offered by the rental car company?”. It’s a great question and there are several things to consider. In short, you are covered when driving a rental car by your personal policy at the same level of coverage as your personal auto policy. If you have full coverage on your personal policy, your out of pocket in the event of an accident would be the deductible you carry for Collision or Comprehensive protection. If you have liability only coverage or don’t have your own personal auto policy, you are inadequately protected and should always buy the rental car coverage. Even if you have a strong personal auto policy with full coverage, there are many reasons to consider purchasing the rental company’s insurance:
- If you have an at-fault accident or something happens to the car. With the rental company’s insurance, you can drop off the car and leave with minimal hassle. If you don’t have their insurance, you will be required to fill out a myriad of forms and have your insurance information verified before you can go anywhere. This can take some time, which is a hassle, especially if you have a plane to catch or simple just ready to get on your way.
- If you use their insurance, any damages or accident claims go under THEIR insurance policy, therefore it will NOT count against your insurance record. This can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in future premiums.
- If the car is damaged and the rental car company is not able to rent the vehicle out again until it is repaired, it’s likely the rental company will bill you directly for the income lost from the car being out of service. This expense is typically not covered by your personal auto policy, causing you headaches and expense.
- Are you traveling outside of the country? If so, your personal auto policy, nor credit card coverage, is unlikely to extend any protection. Purchasing the rental company’s policy may not only be mandatory, but also removes the issue of unknowingly being uninsured.
- If you have an AMEX card, you should review their protection or call them to affirm. Depending on which version of card you carry with them, they may automatically cover the property damage when using their card to rent the vehicle.
Buying insurance through the rental car company generally runs between $5-$12/day depending on the state and rental company. When renting a vehicle for several days, the costs can really add up for the coverage. This can make your decision to purchase coverage more difficult. To ensure the best choice for your individual situation, talk to your credit card company and your insurance agent for advice, and weigh the options and benefits.