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Do you need optional insurance when you’re renting a car?

You’re standing at the car rental counter waiting to start your vacation when you’re asked a tricky question. Do you want to buy car rental insurance? How will you answer?

If you have auto insurance, your policy may already cover damage to a rental car, but the coverage might be less than the value of a rental car. Read your policy to know what’s covered and the coverage limits. If your coverage limit is too low, consider increasing it. You will pay more in premium, but it might be cheaper than buying additional coverage through the rental agency, especially if you rent cars often. If you aren’t sure if your policy covers damage to a rental car, ask your agent before you rent the car.

Rental car agencies offer collision damage waivers and liability policies. The collision damage waiver isn’t insurance. It is an agreement that the rental company won’t, with certain exceptions, try to make you pay for any damage to a car you rent.

“Knowing if you need to buy rental insurance can save you money and give you peace of mind,” says Rick Crawley with Progressive. “Optional insurance could nearly double the cost of the rental. Do your homework and know before you go.”

Here are some pointers:

  • Review your policy with your independent insurance agent. Your agent can evaluate your personal car insurance policy to find out if you are covered in a vacation rental car.
  • Check with your credit card company. Some credit cards provide coverage at no charge if you use their card to pay for the rental. However, some restrictions may apply. Be sure to ask for an exact description of what’s covered.
  • Take your insurance policy “Declarations Page” with you to the rental counter. You may be asked a question that these papers can answer. If you’re not sure of an answer, you’ll have your agent’s name and phone number readily available.
  • If you don’t own a car, but borrow or rent cars often. You can buy a non-owner liability policy. A non-owner policy pays for damages and injuries you cause when driving a borrowed or rented car, but it doesn’t pay for your injuries or damage to the car you are driving.

McKnight Insurance Services

“Shielding you from life’s little upsets”

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