Do I Need Rental Car Insurance?

You’ve just landed at the airport and made it through baggage claim. You’ve waited on the shuttle, anxious to get through the rental car place and on to the beach. After waiting in long lines to pick up your rental car, the perky associate behind the counter asks if you want rental car insurance  quotes. You’re reluctant to tack on any more charges to your limited vacation budget, but you don’t want to get stuck with a major bill. Should you do it?

The answer is, like so many things in life, sometimes. Basically, you should never put yourself in this situation. Do a little research ahead of time and you’ll know how much car insurance you need.

There are two phone calls you should make before you travel. The first one is to your own car insurance company, the other is to your credit card company. Find out if they cover accidents that happen while you’re driving a rental car, and how much coverage they offer.

Generally, if you’re not carrying full coverage car insurance, your rental car may not be covered by your own auto policy. In addition, if you drive an older vehicle, your coverage limitations may not be enough to cover the damages to a brand new rental car.

Many times credit card companies provide rental car insurance when you pay with your credit card. If you’re carrying several cards in your wallet, like most Americans, figure out which one has the best coverage on rental car insurance.

Many people don’t do their own research and wind up facing pressures at the rental car counter. A lot of them go ahead and purchase the optional car insurance package, not realizing they’re probably already covered. This results in huge profits for the rental car companies and the insurers they work with.

If your credit card or your own car insurance company provides rental car coverage, be sure to find out how much for each of the general areas of car insurance: liability, property damage, and bodily injury. Then see if it makes sense to purchase add-on rental car insurance. You may be able to just add supplemental liability if your own car insurance policy has low limits.

If you plan on dropping off the rental car after the rental company is closed, consider purchasing the damage waiver. This will protect you in case there were any small dings or dents on the vehicle you overlooked.

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