So you’re going on vacation, great! You’re gonna need to get around somehow, right? Get a rental car; easy enough; but what about the insurance for the rental car? Oh, didn’t think of that.
Let’s go over that now, so you don’t have to deal with it when you get to that rental counter. So you’re renting a car; should you take out the insurance at the rental counter, or does your policy already cover you?
Well, if you have an auto policy that contains liability and collision and comprehensive; typically known as a full coverage policy on your auto, your coverage should extend to that rental vehicle, provided you’re not renting that vehicle for more than 30 days at a time and you’re within the United Stated or Canada.
If you don’t have an auto policy, then you’re going to need to take out the coverage from the rental agency; or another option, which I’ll go over in a second. But your policy that you have (if you have an auto policy) will be just like driving your own car. Your same liability coverages should extend to that rental vehicle, and your same deductibles also will extend to that vehicle if you damage it.
What I recommend though: talking to your agent first to make sure that your policy does cover it. There are different types of auto policies; not every policy covers a rental vehicle. So please check ahead of time, before you go, with your agent.
If you don’t have an auto policy, then you’re going to need to purchase that coverage. There are two parts to the coverage. There’s liability, and there’s the collision or property damage portion. The liability is gonna cover it in case you injure somebody else. The collision is gonna cover it in case you damage the vehicle itself.
Make sure your policy will extend to both those; if you don’t have one or the other, then you may need to purchase that. Also, if you’re renting a vehicle with a credit card, a lot of credit card companies will extend coverage to that rental car if you rent it with their credit card.
Now, there’s a lot of fine print with that, make sure you call your credit card company and ask them a lot of questions about how that coverage works. But, you may be able to get some additional coverage through that credit card that you carry.
There’s another big coverage that’s often overlooked, though. It’s loss of use coverage. Let’s say you do damage to a rental vehicle and it’s involved in an accident. The company can’t rent that out anymore. They’re gonna lose the rental income on that car. It may be several hundred dollars, or it may be several thousands of dollars, depending on how long that car is out of service.
Make sure that your auto policy will cover those damages and the loss of that income; or your credit card company will cover that loss of income, because that can add up very quickly. If not, you may want to buy the coverage from the rental agency as well.
Also, don’t forget to inspect that car when you first get it. There might be a couple dings or there might be some damage on there. You don’t want to get stuck paying for someone else’s damage that had the accident before you picked up the car. So go over it with the rental car agency people, and make sure that the damage is not existing before you rent the car, so you don’t get stuck with someone else’s bill.