What if you were told you could avoid paying $5,000 next week by giving someone three dollars today? Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it? This is how insurance works. You pay a little bit now for the peace of mind that if you have an accident, there is someone who will come to help you and cover the costs.The same holds true for rental car insurance.
Rental cars offer a quick and convenient way to get around a new city while travelling, or staying mobile when your own vehicle is lost or stolen. There are as many different types of cars, SUVs and trucks to choose from as there are companies to provide you a rental.
The common thread with all these companies is they all want to protect their cars and want them back in one piece by offering you the option to add car rental insurance. This option is often overlooked as a sales pitch or “tacked on extra” rental car agencies try to foist on an unsuspecting traveler.
Many also dismiss this additional charge because they believe they are already covered by their own insurance or credit card company. In too many instances a stack of repair bills and major headaches and hassles could have been avoided by doing some simple research and paying a few extra dollars.
What is Car Rental Insurance?
As fun as it might sound, car rental insurance doesn’t give you permission to try and duplicate every movie stunt you’ve seen and destroy the car. Simply put, it is temporary coverage for accidental damage, theft and injuries for the car and driver.
What Does is Cover?
The agreement you sign when you rent a car makes you liable for a host of costs, fees and payments if you don’t return the car in pristine condition and perfect working order.
In addition to the car and the driver, rental insurance covers you from paying extra costs beyond damage, such as the loss of income to the rental company while the car is out of service and being repaired.
Rental insurance is often considered hassle insurance because it protects you completely even if the car is stolen or totaled when you have it. In short, rental insurance allows you to return your rental car with major body damage and just walk away clean.
What Are Some Car Rental Insurance Options?
There are many categories of car rental insurance. They all add to the daily price of the car, but they all provide an extra degree of protection. According to USA Today the most common four are:
- Collision Damage Waiver – Covers you against any loss or damage to the vehicle up to the full value of the car;
- Supplemental Liability Insurance – Provides additional liability coverage up to $1 million;
- Personal Accident Insurance – Provides medical coverage for injuries to the driver and additional passengers;
- Personal Effects Coverage – Protects against loss or theft of personal belongings from a rental car.
Won’t My Own Car Insurance Cover Me?
In many cases the answer is yes…sort of. Most car insurance covers driver injuries and repairs to the vehicle. But in addition to your deductible, remember that you’re responsible for paying any extra fees imposed by the rental car company when there is damage to the car.
Doesn’t My Credit Card Provide Extra Coverage?
There are some varying degrees of protection provided, depending on which credit card you have and use. The catch is that most of the rental coverage is secondary. This means you still have to file a regular insurance claim before any credit card insurance would kick in. Credit card coverage also varies depending on the type of car rented, where you rent it, and how long you have the car, according to MSNBC.
But it’s Not Even My Fault
When travelling in an unfamiliar city everything is an adventure, even parking your car. There is the constant worry about never knowing if the car will still be there, in one piece, undamaged or spoiled in any way. When damage or vandalism occurs to your rental car, it’s still your problem. And without insurance, you’ll be expected to foot the entire cost.
A Bargain Any Way You Look at it
When travelling you want to focus on your trip, not worry about every little rock on the road. Rental car insurance is peace of mind insurance. Do your research and make the right decision the next time you travel.