It’s a situation many of us have found ourselves in: you’re at the rental car counter, checking in to pick up a vehicle you booked months ago. But before you can check out, you’ve got a decision to make: will you buy car rental coverage, or will you decline it and maybe find yourself wishing you had purchased it?
Deciding whether or not to purchase rental car insurance can be confusing. But looking into rental car coverage ahead of time, learning about what to expect and having a good understanding of your own personal car insurance policy can help make your decision easier.
What Is Rental Car Insurance?
Rental car insurance, sometimes called rental car coverage, is a type of protection that is offered at the time of rental to cover you when you rent a vehicle from a rental car company. Typically, when you rent a car in this way – such as at the airport – you may be asked if you want to purchase coverage or waive it.
Not sure if you should hand over the extra cash for rental car coverage? Here are a few details to keep in mind, so you can help make sure that you’re protected.
Rental Car Insurance vs. Rental Reimbursement Coverage
Rental car coverage is different from rental reimbursement coverage or extended transportation expenses coverage, which is an add-on to your car insurance policy that can pay for a rental car if your personal car is damaged in a covered accident.
Does My Current Car Insurance Cover a Rental?
The first factor that should influence your decision to purchase rental car coverage is your existing car insurance coverage. Take the time to review your coverage before you rent a car. What sort of comprehensive, collision and liability coverage do you have? Does it extend to rental cars you may drive? In many cases, your existing car insurance policy will cover rental vehicles – at least to some extent. If you aren’t sure if your car insurance policy covers rentals, check with your insurance agent.
Do I Need the Coverage Offered by the Rental Company?
You’ll need to look at the types of coverage the rental car company is offering. Is it coverage that your existing policy doesn’t provide or does it overlap with your personal insurance in most areas? Here are a couple of options that rental car agencies typically offer:
Liability coverage is an important insurance protection. Bodily injury and property damage liability coverages provide compensation for injuries to others, and for the damage your vehicle does to another person’s property if you cause an accident.
Typically, there’s a good chance your existing policy covers this already. Check your policy to determine if you could benefit from more liability protection.
Physical Damage Coverage
Physical damage coverage includes comprehensive and collision coverage for a covered loss. This optional coverage may apply to rental car insurance.
Credit Card Rental Car Insurance
Have a credit card or two? Pull up your agreements and look for any credit card rental car insurance they may include. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance as an added benefit to cardholders. These can either replace your primary insurance coverage or offer supplementary coverage depending on the credit card and provider. To leverage these benefits, you’ll need to book and pay for the car rental with the credit card in question.
How Much Is Rental Car Insurance? The cost of rental car insurance varies, depending on what car you rent, how long you’ll have it and other circumstances.