Should I purchase additional rental car insurance?

So you are ready to rent a car and the sales clerk behind the desk asks if you would like to purchase, or waive, rental car insurance for an additional fee. What most drivers don’t realize is that this same coverage may be covered under their standard car insurance policy.

Not only that, but it is not uncommon these days for major credit card companies to provide some rental car insurance if you use their credit card to pay for your vehicle rental.

However, your best bet is to check your coverage before you get to the rental counter. The last thing you want to do is assume that you have coverage- and then find out that you were wrong. Credit card companies change their benefits often so you might have had coverage once- but not anymore. Give your car insurance agent and credit card company a call and see if rental car insurance is provided.

Also, inquire about how much coverage is provided. You can always supplement the coverage you have with additional coverage from your car insurance company. All car rental agreements are different; however, most of them offer the following coverage for customers:

Collision Damage Waiver- This is a waiver that the driver can opt for that redirects the liability of damage to the vehicle from the customer to the rental car company. If you have signed a collision damage waiver and are involved in an accident the car rental company would then be responsible for the damage- not you the driver. Keep in mind, however, that the waiver can be void if an accident occurs while the vehicle was operated illegally.

Liability Insurance- This covers a driver in the event they are involved in an at-fault accident while driving the rental vehicle. Most coverage costs $5-$15/day and provides protection up to $1 Million. This type of coverage is typically already provided by your car insurance company- however- you should check with your car insurance agent before assuming this.

Personal Accident Insurance- This coverage typically costs $1-$5/day and covers medical and ambulance bills for the driver and their passengers. If you have a health insurance policy, you may already have this coverage- again, check with your insurance agent.

Personal Effects Coverage-This type of coverage is not usually covered under a standard car insurance plan- it protects against theft of items in the vehicle and costs between $1-$5/day. This would be recommended for a frequent car renter who travels with expensive items (lap tops, golf clubs, etc) in their car on a regular basis. Sometimes a homeowners insurance policy will offer coverage for certain items if you have a scheduled endorsement-however, there are limitations and you should check with your home insurance agent for specifics on your policy.