| Auto Insurance
Man renting car

Whether you are going to visit far-away family or need wheels for a weekend jaunt, ’tis the season for holiday road trips. Some families simply pack the trunk and hit the road, but others find it easier to rent a car for their holiday trek. Now, your cheap car insurance may give you the protection you need by law, but you probably have questions about whether rental coverage is included as well. Does your insurance cover you when you travel in a rental car? Do you really need the extra insurance coverage that the rental company offers? To make the decision, do a little research before reserving your rental.

Call Your Car Insurance Company

When renting a car, the number 1 question is, “Does my car insurance cover a rental car?” To get the answer, you’ll need to review your policy and/or call your insurance provider and check. The auto insurance policy you already have may cover your rental car needs. For example, your comprehensive and collision coverage may take care of rentals too. Talk with your insurance agent about your current level of coverage and what you may need to change to ensure your rental car is covered too.

Call Your Credit Card Company

Some credit card companies, and even motor clubs, provide members with free rental car coverage when you use their card to pay for the rental, reports the Federal Trade Commission. Look on the back of the credit card you’ll be using to pay for your rental and look for the customer service phone number. Before the rental agency can convince you that you need their additional coverage, ask your credit card company if they already provide it and at what level.

Your Options at the Rental Counter

Once you’ve done your research, your rental car pick-up should be a lot smoother. When you arrive to pick up your rental, the representative will offer you additional insurance coverage. Based on what you’ve learned from speaking to your car insurance and/or credit card company, you can decide what kind of extra coverage you want, if any at all. (Keep in mind, however, that if you don’t have your own auto insurance, you will need to purchase insurance from the car rental agency.)

You typically have four coverage options to choose from when you rent a car: loss-damage waiver, liability coverage, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage. Depending on your situation, extra coverage might a waste of money, or, a smart way to get what you need/supplement what you already have. For example:

  • Consider getting rental car coverage if: 
    • You don’t have your own comprehensive and collision coverage,
    • You are renting and/or traveling out of the country, or
    • You don’t have your own auto insurance.
  • Consider skipping rental car coverage if: 
    • Your current auto policy already offers personal injury protection or medical payments auto coverage and comprehensive and collision coverage.

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