Rental Cars: Everything You Need to Know

September 12, 2016

So, you’ve booked a rental car for an upcoming family vacation or a business trip. After filling out all the paperwork, the rental car company presents you with the final step: applying for insurance. If you don’t rent vehicles all that often, you might feel a bit unsettled by this. Should you get the additional insurance? After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, as even if you’re a confident, defensive driver the unexpected can always happen.

Rental Cars: What Does Your Auto Insurance Cover?

Rental car insurance can be on the pricey side; even if you’ve gotten a great rate on your rental, adding the insurance can sometimes almost double your payment. This is why it’s important to do a little research before you sign on the dotted line at the rental car company; in general, the coverage you have on from your primary auto insurance policy should extend to a rental car, but the amount of coverage will vary for everyone.

In many cases, the rental car company will offer four different coverage options for your vehicle. These include:

Liability Insurance: Liability coverage will pay for losses you cause others in the case of an accident. However, the liability coverage you have on your own car should be sufficient enough if you have adequate coverage.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): While not technically an insurance product, a CDW will transfer financial responsibility from you to the rental car company in case damage is incurred during your rental period. However, the collision insurance coverage on your regular auto policy should pay for any accident-related damages to the rental car. Plus, your comprehensive insurance should also provide coverage for theft and other damage.

Personal Accident Insurance: This type of coverage will pay for any medical bills you may incur if you are involved in an accident while driving the rental car. However, the personal injury protection on your auto policy or your own health insurance can provide all the coverage you really need.

Coverage for Personal Items: Let’s say you forgot to lock your rental car one evening and some of your belongings were stolen from the backseat. The rental car company will often offer coverage for your personal belongings. If you have a current homeowners insurance policy or renter’s insurance, the coverage from these policies often will cover your belongings- even if they were taken from a rental car.

Also, one other option to note is that when you book a rental car with a credit card, often the credit card company might offer rental car insurance as an additional benefit. Be sure to check with the credit card company to find out for sure what kind of coverage they offer on rental cars.

Before booking your rental car, it’s also important to find out what your own auto insurance policy covers to make sure you have adequate coverage. If you do, you can happily decline the rental car company’s offers for extra rental car insurance.

If you have any questions about your current car insurance policy before renting a car, contact Machor Sage today! Or, call us for a quote on a new policy at 440-826-0404.