When visiting another area, you may be interested in renting a car. This is one of the best ways to get around. That being said, since you are not familiar with the roadways there is a greater chance of being involved in an accident.
Upon renting a car, you must make sure you have insurance coverage. If you opt against this – no matter how you slip through the cracks – you are going to find yourself taking a big risk.
Before renting, familiarize yourself with the three insurance options outlined below.
Your Car Insurance Policy
If you already have a policy for your vehicle(s) at home, your coverage most likely applies to your rental.
Tip: Make sure you double check with your agent. While this is probably the case, there is no guarantee. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Just as you would with your own car, if you are involved in an accident you are responsible for the deductible before your insurance company steps in to cover the rest of the bill.
Your Credit Card
Did you know that many credit card companies offer rental car insurance coverage free of cost? Of course, this is only the case if you use that particular credit card to book your rental.
In some cases, the coverage may not be free but instead require a small fee. As noted above, it is a good idea to check with your credit card company to ensure that you understand your coverage.
This is the least common option, as most people don’t know about it. Even those who are aware of the coverage often times shy away. Since coverage varies from one credit card to the next, it can be difficult to know exactly what you are getting.
Tip: Have your credit card company send you a copy of the coverage in the mail. This will come in handy if you are involved in an accident and suddenly begin to run into issues with the claim.
The Rental Car Company
Regardless of who you are, during the process of picking up your rental car you will be asked if you want to buy insurance. This is standard operating procedure.
Most companies sell a variety of features meant to offer extended liability protection while relieving you of any payments should you be involved in an accident.
If you opt for this, as opposed to your own auto policy, make sure you get the following:
- Collision damage waivers (CDW)
- Loss damage waivers (LDW)
Since these waivers are not actual insurance products, make sure you are not duplicating coverage that you already have. In other words, if you are covered by your own policy there is no point in buying this from the rental car provider.
Note: You can also purchase personal effects coverage from the rental company. This covers you in the event that any personal belongings are stolen from your rental.
Making this decision is not as challenging as it appears. As long as you know (be sure to double check) that your current auto policy provides coverage, you can simply rely on this when renting a vehicle.