Auto insurance and rental cars

Most of us don’t think about it until we are actually standing at the rental agency counter with a long line of weary travelers waiting in line behind us, while the rental agent impatiently stares at us. Do you have to buy the insurance the rental company offers? Are we covered by our personal auto insurance policies? What happens if we have an accident? It pays to know ahead of time.

There’s no magic answer, but there are a number of guidelines you can follow in regards to auto insurance and rental vehicles. For starters, the only way to determine if your own policy will cover you is to actually call your agent and have them explain your coverage options.  Many auto insurance companies will extend the coverage on your personal auto policy to a rental car. If you have comprehensive collision coverage, it will pay for damage such as scratches and dents, and will also cover theft.Car Rental Insurance

Another option that many people do not know about is that coverage may be provided by your credit card company. May credit cards will pay for damage to a rental car as long as you pay with your card. This coverage is secondary to your own personal policy. Your credit card company may also pay for towing, but won’t pay for damages or injuries to another driver. This type of coverage is called liability or personal injury coverage, and will be part of your personal auto insurance policy. Once again, it is worth a call to your credit card company to see if you are covered. Beware – just because your debit card has a Visa logo, it may not offer the same coverage as a dedicated card.

Another option is to rely on the coverage your place of employment provides. This coverage will only apply if you are using the vehicle for work reasons, however. Often, large businesses have this type of corporate coverage, though. Keep in mind as well that your own personal coverage will only work if you rent a car in the U.S. and travel within the U.S. Once you drive into Canada or Mexico your coverage will be more limited. In this case, you may need to buy the coverage offered by the rental car company. One final word of caution – don’t let anyone except for the named individual drive the car. If you let a friend or relative drive the car, your coverage could be nullified.

So, in order to make sure you have auto insurance coverage when renting a car:

1.       Call your insurance agent and ask what coverage you need

2.       Call your credit card company and ask what coverage they offer

3.       Ask about towing and liability or personal injury coverage

4.       See if your firm covers you for business rentals

5.       Don’t assume you are covered in other countries by your personal policy

6.       Don’t let anyone else drive your rental car

7.       If you are in doubt about coverage, bite the bullet and purchase the coverage that the rental agency offers. The good part about purchasing their physical damage coverage is that you can completely wreck the car and just turn in the keys without having to pay a deductible or any other costs.

Click here for a free Arizona Auto Insurance Quote to see if you can save more money or get better coverage now!

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