Those who enjoy traveling by car or who like to have access to a rental car when they go on vacation often don’t know what to say when the rental agent asks about purchasing extra insurance. Rental car insurance is expensive and you, along with millions of other drivers, may wonder if it’s necessary. It’s always better to be safe than sorry; if you’re not sure whether you need rental car insurance, the following information may help you decide.
Check current coverage
Before you reject the offer to purchase extra rental car insurance, it’s important to be certain you have the coverage you need through your regular auto insurance policy would apply to any vehicle you’re renting. If in doubt, check with your insurance agent about whether your policy provides adequate coverage that extends to rental cars. You should ask about:
- Liability coverage. Liability coverage protects you if you cause an accident that causes an injury or fatality, or property damage.
- Collision and loss coverage. In the event of an accident with your rental car, collision insurance covers any damages or loss incurred by the car owners (the rental company). Your auto insurance policy may or may not provide this coverage for rental cars.
Credit card perks and other benefits
If you pay for your rental card with a major credit card, the credit card company may cover insurance for that rental. Check any perks or benefits you may have through your workplace, or any club or union memberships.
Not everyone has coverage sufficient enough to cover liability and loss following an accident with a rental car. If you’re someone who doesn’t, choosing to reject the extra insurance can be a costly mistake. When it comes to paying for the extra insurance, the additional dollars are worth the security and peace of mind gained.
If you don’t own a car, you’re not likely to have car insurance. A non-owner’s policy can provide you with coverage when you rent a car or borrow someone else’s. Without this, it’s wise to consider biting the bullet and purchasing the extra insurance coverage from your rental agency.
If you have a bare-bones auto insurance policy, your rental car may not be covered. Many auto insurance policies provide limited coverage for rental cars. Short-term coverage can be sufficient if you’re only going on a short trip. But if you know you’ll need the rental car for a longer amount of time, it can be worth your while to purchase the extra insurance coverage.
An educated decision
Once you become knowledgeable about your insurance coverage, or lack thereof, you can make a more educated decision while standing at the rental car counter. Whether you’re renting a car for business travel or your family vacation, knowing that you’re covered for liability, collision or loss can allow you to focus on your work or vacation. The surprises you encounter on your road trip should be a large part of the fun. Reduce the potential for unpleasant surprises by having adequate coverage before you pull out of the rental car lot.