5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Rental Car Insurance


Make Sure All Of Your Questions Are Answered Before Renting A Car

Renting a car can be a confusing and distressing experience. Prices fluctuate so often and we need rental cars so infrequently that we’re not always sure what we need and what we don’t need. Getting rental car insurance is one of the things that you’re probably not sure about. Questions about your coverage arise, and you might not have answers to all of them on hand. Here are five questions you should ask before buying rental car insurance. SEE ALSO: Securing Your Car With Mercury

1. How Much Does The Additional Coverage Cost?

This varies based on the company you rent through and the coverage you want. Generally speaking, coverage can cost anywhere between five dollars and $45 a day. There are four major types of insurance you can purchase for your rental car:
  • Loss-damage waiver (collision damage waiver): Covers damages if the car is stolen or damaged and loss-of-use coverage. This costs about nine dollars to $20 a day.
  • Liability coverage: Covers you against personal lawsuits. Costs seven dollars to $15 a day.
  • Personal accident insurance: Covers the medical costs after an accident. Costs one to five dollars a day.
  • Personal effects coverage: Covers the items you keep in the car. Costs one to four dollars a day.
Now, no one’s saying you need all $45 worth of coverage. In fact, you probably don’t need much at all. The key here is to know what each of your policies cover and to adjust your rental car insurance based off that. If you’re fully covered, so be it. No one can make you buy rental car insurance.

2. Does My Auto Policy Cover Damage?

Your auto policy might foot all or part of a bill for rental car damage. However, don’t assume it will do so. Check your insurance policy to make sure that you are covered before getting the keys or signing off on additional insurance. The amount of rental car coverage depends greatly on your insurance plan and company. While one lower tier plan might cover it, another might not. Usually, if you have comprehensive or liability coverage on your car, it will transfer over to a rental. Even if you are covered, you might not be completely out of the woods. The coverage might have limitations. For example, if you are renting a car outside of the US, your coverage probably does not apply. In that case, you’ll most likely have to get some sort of additional insurance through either your auto policy provider or the rental car company.

3. What, If Anything, Does My Credit Card Cover?

Some credit cards also provide additional coverage for a rental car. However, this coverage can be severely limited, so call your credit card company before renting a car. If your credit card does cover anything, it will probably be secondary to your auto insurance and will be collision, damage, and theft coverage. Any personal liability, in this case, is completely left to you. It might seem obvious, but you do have to use the credit card with the coverage to rent the car. Don’t expect the credit card company to act like your insurance if you didn’t even give them any business. No company is that nice.

4. Will My Other Insurances Cover Anything?

Three other insurance plans might help foot the bill in an accident with a rental car: health insurance, home or renters insurance, and umbrella coverage:
  • Health insurance is designed to protect you in emergencies. As a result, health insurance plans will cover you if you have an accident-related injury.
  • Home and renters insurance plans with off-premises coverage can cover your belongings not only when you use your rental car, but also at other locations, like a hotel or a restaurant.
  • An umbrella liability policy can fill the gaps your insurance doesn’t already cover. For example, if you have collision insurance, but not personal liability, your umbrella policy could fill in those holes so you do not get sued.
SEE ALSO: Stay Safe With State Farm

5. Will My Premiums Go Up On My Policy?

One thing to consider before going without rental car insurance: your regular insurance premiums might go up if you are in an accident. It really depends on how much coverage you have, how much damage was caused, and how your previous driving record is. Generally speaking, if the damage is less than $1,800, then your premiums will probably not go up. If it is above $2,800, on the other hand, you can expect a fee hike. If it’s somewhere in between those two numbers, you might experience a small fee hike. Even if you buy the rental car’s insurance, your premiums could go up because an accident will be on your driving record. Say, for example, that you got in a fender bender in a rental, but you bought the extra insurance. Even though the repairs and liability coverage is through the rental car insurance (so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for repairs), your insurance company can still raise your premiums because an accident has been added to your driving record. This is true of states with or without point systems. No matter your driving record, the key to safe use of a rental car is checking your coverage on all accounts. If you do not have enough coverage, you should consider purchasing the additional coverage from the rental car company. If you get into an accident, you will not regret it.
Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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