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Car Rental Insurance

Determining if You Need Rental Car Insurance

If you need to rent a car, a “friendly face” at the rental counter will offer you various insurance options. Are any of them necessary? Are you at risk if you don’t purchase them?

There are generally four prime insurance options available when you rent a car:

  1. A collision-damage waiver waives your financial responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen, and takes care of fees and charges for loss of use, towing, and related expenses.
  2. Liability coverage protects you from potential lawsuits.
  3. Personal accident insurance covers medical costs following an accident.
  4. Personal effects coverage insures whatever you stash in the car.

The auto insurance you carry for your own vehicle will typically cover any property damage or injury you cause while driving a rental. Comprehensive and collision insurance will pay for damage to the rental car. If you don’t have both options, you would be well served to purchase the collision-damage waiver.

You may be able to safely decline the other coverage options listed above. It would likely be redundant to buying it when renting a car.   You should bring a copy of proof that you have your own car insurance.

Your health insurance may already cover accident-related injuries. Same thing if you have personal injury protection and/or medical payments coverage in your auto insurance policy.

Renter’s or homeowner’s insurance with off-premises coverage will typically protect any personal effects that you stow away in a rental.

Many rental car agents are really salesman, and the more “up sell” they give you at the rental desk, the more profit/income they make. So, you may wish to call your own insurance broker before you rent a car and make sure you are already covered for all the above, and then save some cash when renting a car.