Rental Car 101

Rental Car 101 | Valeri Agency

Rental Car 101

January 8, 2020

The key to knowing how to answer your rental car company when they ask you if you want their insurance is to do some research ahead of time.

When you get to the rental car counter, often you have just gotten off of an airplane and are just anxious to get on the road to your ultimate destination. The make and model of the car you are renting seem far more important to you than insurance coverage or the lack of it.

If you will be traveling within the country (or Puerto Rico or Canada) and anticipate needing to rent a car, it is in your best interest to do a little research to get some understanding what coverage you already have as opposed to what might benefit you along with your rental.

There are several places you need to look. These include:

  • AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY: Most automobile policies contain some coverage that will be duplicated by the policies offered at the counter when you are renting a car. Your agent can explain exactly what you have and what you might want to supplement when you are faced with that decision. Most policies cover you and a relative driving your rental car for collision-related expenses. This coverage varies and may be subject to deductible, so be sure your agent fully explains what is and what is not covered and what happens if you do have an accident in a rental car.

  • HOMEOWNER INSURANCE POLICY: Policies at rental car companies generally provide personal effects coverage. In most cases, this coverage is already available under your homeowner’s policy. Again, this is a question to get clarified by a conversation with your insurance agent.

  • MEDICAL INSURANCE POLICY: Health insurance policies generally cover in-country medical expenses caused in accidents in rental cars subject to the same deductibles and coinsurance as is normally applied. Review your policy ahead of time to see where you are at with the deductible and other expenses. Your agent can be of great assistance here as well.

  • CREDIT CARD INSURANCE COVERAGE: Many people overlook this, but often your credit card company has some coverage available to you. This can vary widely. It is important that you review this coverage ahead of time with your insurance agent so they can advise you what might be available with any specific card and under what conditions.

  • TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY: There is potential overlap between travel insurance policies you buy with your airplane flight and the policy you are offered at the counter of the rental car company. This is not always the case, but it is another topic you should discuss with your insurance agent.

Generally speaking, the answer to the question “do you want insurance with that” rental car should be answered with full knowledge of the coverages you already have. If you, for example,  only have commercial car insurance (not personal), the coverage offered by the rental car company can be extremely valuable to you in the event of an accident.

If you are traveling outside of the US, Puerto Rico or Canada, it is usually a good idea to go ahead and buy some extra coverage.

Some people just opt to go ahead and purchase the insurance at the rental car company out of an abundance of caution. Generally speaking, the collision coverage is under $20 a day; the liability under $15 a day and the personal accident (medical) and personal effects coverage are both under $5 a day. But adding those all together over a longer period of time can put a substantial hit on your wallet.

Here at the Valeri Agency, our professional agents are well-versed in answering all of your questions. Before you hit the road, make an appointment to stop in and visit us to discuss what coverage you have and what you might need.

In the meantime, the attached blog from our partners at West Bend Insurance will give you even more information about rental car insurance.

Be safe. Be secure. Be confident that your answer to the question “Do you want insurance with that rental car?” is the correct one. Give us a call.

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