When you walk up to the counter of a rental car office, you have a decision to make: should you buy rental car insurance or rely on your own existing car insurance?
On one hand, most financial experts and consumer advocates recommend that you save money and not buy it, but, on the other hand, many car renters have been glad they paid a few extra dollars for that insurance because their own car insurance turned out to be inadequate.
Check Your Existing Coverage
The best thing to do to resolve the question is to call your own car insurance company to find out what is covered in your policy. Explain to the insurance agent that you are planning on renting a car and would like to know if you’re covered for car rental damage and for personal property loss.
You should call your insurance agent if you have auto, home or renters insurance. If you have collision and comprehensive insurance coverage, this will cover any damage to the rental car. Of course, the extent of this coverage will depend on the limits of your insurance policy.
Another option you may have is to check with your credit card company if you are using your credit card to rent the car. Some credit cards include a loss damage waiver as part of cardholder privileges.
You should not simply assume that you have sufficient coverage. It’s always worth taking that extra bit of time to call either your auto insurance agent or the credit card representative to find out exactly what type of coverage you have and how it applies to your planned car rental.
When You Should Buy Rental Car Insurance
There are many circumstances when it is advisable to buy car rental insurance.
Here are some instances:
In your state, the auto insurance policy does not cover the rental car company’s policy on “loss of use.” This is a policy that states that the rental fees on the car are not waived while the car is in the repair shop.
You plan to drive the car outside the country and your own car insurance only covers you within the country.
You do not have homeowners or rental insurance to cover your personal effect and you are traveling with expensive electronic and computer equipment. Considering the low cost of rental car insurance and the high cost of your personal belongings, it is worth getting the rental car insurance.
In addition, here is something else to consider. Even if you do have adequate insurance coverage of your own, a claim for an accident with your rental car may raise your insurance premiums because you will be considered a high risk driver. It might be cheaper to pay extra for rental car insurance, rather than pay higher premium prices for years. What’s more, the chances of your having an accident are higher in a new car driving on unfamiliar roads.