It is a plan: you will fly with your family across the country, pick up a rental car and make your way up and down the coast. That kind of trip can be so relaxing as well as educational. But, the education you do not want is to discover that your rental car insurance coverage was insufficient, especially following an accident. For, if your insurance coverage is weak or nonexistent, you will be responsible for repairs or in some cases the replacement value of a totaled rental vehicle.
You can avoid a huge heartache and taking a possible financial bath by exploring your rental car insurance options before visiting Hertz, Avis, Enterprise or other car rental company.
Rental Company Insurance
Your rental car company offers insurance coverage, what you will pay when you rent a car unless you ask to have it waived. There are various types of insurance offered with each one designed to reduce your liability although it may not completely eliminate it if there is a deductible present.
You may want to choose both the collision damage waiver and the loss damage waiver if you do not own a car. Or, if you own a car and you have basic insurance that does not include comprehensive and collision coverage, then car rental company auto insurance may be right for you.
Credit Card Providers
It is almost a given that you will be using a credit card to pay for your car rental. In fact, it is
usually a requirement at most National, Hertz, Enterprise, Thrifty, Budget, Alamo and Avis locations. Some will also take a debit card, but a credit card offers certain protections that a debit card may not provide.
For instance, if you hold a Visa Standard Credit, a Visa Rewards Credit or a Visa Premium Rewards credit card, then collision and theft coverage is included on auto rentals when you use these cards. Coverage is automatically activated when you complete the entire rental transaction with your Visa card and decline CDW coverage.
American Express includes care rental loss and damage insurance with eligible AMEX cards. Simply use your American Express card when paying for your rental car and then decline the collision damage waiver when offered same by the commercial car rental company. Check with MasterCard, Discover or other accepted card for their respective policies.
Your Auto Insurer
If you have car insurance, your auto insurer may have you covered. Typically, you need both comprehensive coverage and collision coverage with you picking up the deductible if you file a claim. Some insurers include special rental car insurance coverage that covers the deductible. Contact your insurance provider to learn what options are available to you.
While relying on your auto insurer can be a good way to turn down the collision loss waiver, keep in mind that filing a claim can raise your rates. Moreover, you may discover that there is much more of a hassle involved with choosing the auto insurance route than relying on your credit card company or rental car company for coverage.
So, before you take a trip, make sure that you are covered. Calls to your insurer and credit card provider can reveal much, otherwise expect to pay an extra $10 to $20 per day to protect your rental car from an accident, theft or total loss — that’s a small price to pay when taking that dream vacation.
Insurance Information Institute: Do I Need Separate Rental Car Insurance? http://www.iii.org/individuals/auto/a/rentalcar/
Insure.com: The Basics of Rental Car Insurance http://www.insure.com/car-insurance/rental-car-basics.html
See Also — How to Avoid an Unsafe Rental Car