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Rental Car Insurance – What You Should Know Before You Buy It

One of the most confusing aspects of renting a car is whether getting rental car insurance makes sense or if you even need it. Well, there are several rules of thumb you can follow to handle your next car rental experience like a pro without wondering if you should or shouldn’t purchase additional insurance.

What you should do first

What you may want to do first is contact your auto insurance company to know exactly how much coverage you have on your own vehicle.

  • Typically, the stated coverage and deductibles that apply to that particular vehicle will, in turn, cover the rental car at the same amounts.

However, if your current policy doesn’t include collision or comprehensive coverage because your vehicle isn’t worth the added expense, the car you rent will not be covered if you have an accident or it is stolen.



What you should do next

That said – you may want to check with your credit card companies to see which ones cover the rental car, regardless of collision or comprehensive insurance coverage on your personal vehicle.

  • The amount of coverage can differ from Platinum to Gold cards. Know which one is best before dropping it on the car rental agency’s counter.
  • If your credit card will be used as your only means of insurance protection, be sure to ask your card issuer for provisions of limited coverage as well as the deductible amount prior to renting the car.
  • Keep in mind that, in most cases, benefits paid by your credit card are secondary to your personal auto insurance coverage or the coverage offered by the rental company.

Know the facts

By knowing the facts, you can be properly insured without blowing extra money on a rental car by purchasing duplicate coverage.  Fortunately, it is possible to be properly insured when renting a car without wasting money by purchasing duplicative coverage.

While insurance is state-regulated and the cost and coverage will vary between states, consumers renting from traditional car rental companies can expect to choose from the coverages offered below:

  • Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) – is not technically an insurance product. Its purpose is to relieve or “waive” the renter (you) of financial responsibility if their rental car is damaged or stolen. Also called a collision damage waiver, it may become void if the accident is the direct result of reckless driving or driving while intoxicated.
  • Liability Insurance – Car rental companies are, by law, required to provide the state-mandated minimum liability insurance But, this amount is often low and the protection is mostly inadequate in the event of a serious crash. It is best to use your personal auto liability insurance coverage, if you have it.

Personal Coverages

Of course, your personal insurance can also cover you and your valuables beyond the basic coverages offered by the car rental company, such as:

  • Personal Accident Insurance – covers you and your passengers for any medical and ambulance bills in the event of injuries caused by an automobile accident. Your personal injury protection (PIP) provided by your personal auto insurance coverage will likely take care of medical expenses.
  • Personal Effects Coverage – Unlike LDW, this personal coverage can protect items stolen from your rental car. Travelers often have expensive items such as cameras, laptops, and jewelry, among other things in the car while dining or sight-seeing. Thieves know this and take advantage of it, so be aware and be careful to not leave anything of value in plain sight.

When renting a car, the right knowledge combined with the options of Loss Damage Waiver and Liability Insurance can save you money.

The same can be said about car insurance. The more you know the better off you are when shopping for affordable auto insurance coverages. Call USAgencies at (800) 420-3712 to get a free car insurance quote.