You’ve just finished a long flight, gathered your luggage, and taken a shuttle to the rental car counter. You just want to get in the car and get to your hotel, but first, you have to go through the rental car agreement. One of the most confusing elements of travel is whether or not you need rental car insurance. Some say that your own automobile insurance policy should cover you. Others say that your credit card may cover you. And, if you talk to the rental car company, they’ll tell you that you need supplemental insurance. So, who is right? According to some experts I spoke to, it seems to really depend on your situation.
Note: Your own situation may vary. Please review your own situation and talk to your insurance/credit card companies before making a decision. This information is just for your information.
Heather Mosher, CISR from Vast Solution, explains, “It used to be that we were confident in telling clients not to think twice about renting that car on vacation. After all, it had made sense for so many years that your personal auto policy would pick up the slack if you damaged a rental car in your possession. It wasn’t until the last 3-4 years that this has changed”. According to Mosher, rental car companies have started charging some additional damage fees, including diminished value, appraisal fees, and administrative expenses. These charges aren’t usually covered by personal automobile insurance, so if you get in an accident, you may find yourself not completely covered.
So, do credit cards, or travel insurance cover you completely? Damian Tysdal founder of TravelInsuranceReview.net explains, “Some travel insurance policies include coverage for rental car damage, including the loss of use damages. If you are purchasing travel insurance anyway, this can be a valuable additional benefit. Some credit cards offer ‘travel protection’ as a side benefit. While this is not an equal substitute for a travel insurance policy, the rental car coverage on credit card ‘travel protection’ is fairly competitive. Many will offer the loss of use coverage”.
If you are renting a car, it’s best to check with your travel insurance, credit card, and personal auto policy to see exactly what they cover. If it’s not everything, you may want to opt for the rental car insurance. If you don’t, and something happens, you may find yourself with a bill that you didn’t expect to receive.