Insurance has become one of the most important and expensive decisions for Americans. Homeowners, health, car, and life are the four most common types of insurance but there are many other insurance related decisions we have to make on a consistent basis.
One of the most important insurance related decisions we have to make when traveling is whether or not to purchase car rental insurance.
We have all been at the car rental desk ready to pay for the car we decided to rent when the question arises, “Do you want insurance coverage on your rental?” At that point, we run through a variety of scenarios:
- Does my car insurance cover a rental?
- Does the credit card I am using include rental insurance?
- What is the likelihood that I will need insurance for a rental?
- Is it worth paying 50% more on the rental to have full coverage?
In the end, we make the best decision we can and hope for the best, and the majority of the time we opt out of the “extra insurance.” We go on our trip, and all of a sudden, an accident happens. Maybe we hit another car, another car hits us, or maybe we just ride over a pothole that causes damage in the rental. Regardless of the scenario, we have to figure out What to do After a Car Accident.
If you find yourself in an accident there are steps you should take immediately regardless if you are in a rental car or not.
- Pull over.
- Check for injuries.
- Call 911 if needed.
- Be polite but do not admit fault.
- Exchange information with those at the scene.
- Take pictures.
- Note important factors.
- Call a tow truck.
- Seek medical care.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Obtain the police report.
- Contact an attorney.
While the use of a rental car can be a very positive addition to a trip, getting into an accident in a rental adds a different layer of difficulty. Just knowing that you are using someone else’s vehicle and will have to pay out-of-pocket for even the smallest accident can make using a rental car a tough decision and the decision to purchase insurance even tougher.
There is definite peace of mind that comes from being fully covered by the company, but that peace of mind comes at a cost, oftentimes even 50% of the total purchase of a rental.
There are three available options on insurance when renting a vehicle:
- Accept the rental company’s insurance.
- Decline the extra insurance and use your current personal car insurance policy.
- Call your credit card company and ask if rental insurance is provided for you as a cardholder.
If you accept the rental company’s insurance, everything is covered. From hitting a pothole to being at fault in a larger accident, you will have the assurance that you will not have to pay a hefty out-of-pocket amount. If you decline the insurance and use your personal policy, it is vital that you know what your policy includes.
You will want to ensure that you have collision coverage, comprehensive, and liability coverage but even if you have each of those, your deductible might be high enough that you would want to consider supplemental insurance anyway.
Finally, if your credit card company offers its cardholders rental insurance, you will want to find out if it is primary or secondary coverage, and what types of expenses would still be out-of-pocket. Also, many rental agencies require their customers to pay out-of-pocket immediately and then to be reimbursed by insurance at a later date. That is another important question to ask and to be prepared for if the unexpected happens.
Purchasing the rental company’s insurance is expensive, but according to Consumer Reports, it could very well be worth the extra expense.
Knowing that you are covered for anything will not only take away any stress related to driving a rental car, it will also cover you from any unexpected financial disaster that could arise from even the smallest accident.