Explore Your Rental Car Insurance Options: Is it Necessary?



The article tackles the question of whether additional insurance is needed when renting a car, with experts suggesting that it largely depends on personal circumstances, credit card benefits, destination, and existing coverage. Vehicle owners’ personal insurance policies should generally cover rentals for damage, theft, or injuries caused to others while domestically traveling. Some credit cards also offer primary or secondary car rental insurance as a benefit. However, travelers are advised to check whether their insurance extends to foreign countries and to ensure they have adequate health coverage.

Navigating Rental Car Insurance: Expert Insights and Suggestions

Traveling always brings complications, and figuring out if you need extra insurance for a rental car can be one of them. Submit your travel dilemmas and we will bring you expert advice for navigating these challenges.

This week, we’re exploring a common question: Between credit card protections and personal car insurance, what’s left uncovered when renting a car? It can feel overwhelming navigating through the myriad of insurance plans offered by rental companies, especially when they are often bundled with other add-ons like car seats and fuel packages. One wrong choice and the rental cost can quickly double.

The importance of having some form of insurance coverage for rental cars is vital, however, whether you need to purchase it directly from the rental company can be debatable. As Elie Michaels, vice president of operations at Advantage Rent A Car explains, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all coverage option. The necessary coverage and its cost can depend on various factors such as your personal circumstances, the chosen insurance coverage level, the type of car, and the rental location.

Existing Coverage for Car Owners

Generally, people who own cars should have their rentals covered by their own insurance, at least for damage, theft, or injuries caused to others when traveling domestically. “The coverage and deductibles you have on your auto insurance policy apply in most cases when you rent a car, as long as it’s for personal use,” says AAA spokesperson Brittany Moye.

If you have a comprehensive coverage policy, it will likely cover your rental for damage caused by unexpected events like vandalism or fire, according to Ted Olsen, vice president at Goosehead Insurance. Also, if you have collision coverage, it should cover the rental car costs if you hit another vehicle or object. However, it’s always good to confirm this with your insurance company and get the details in writing.

Checking Credit Card Travel Perks

Did you know that many credit cards offer primary car rental insurance as a benefit? They typically provide reimbursement for collision or theft damage, up to the actual cash value of most rental cars. However, they don’t usually cover damage you cause to others. Reach out to your credit card company for a detailed explanation of your benefits.

Traveling Abroad? Understand Your Coverage

If you’re renting internationally, it’s likely that your personal insurance coverage will not extend abroad due to varying laws in different countries. However, if you’re in Canada, your insurance is likely to transfer over. In many countries, it’s required to show proof of third-party insurance when renting a car.

Important Final Notes

It’s important to remember that personal auto or credit card insurances won’t cover physical injuries sustained from an accident. To bolster your medical protection, especially when traveling abroad, consider travel insurance. Lastly, if you feel pressured at the rental counter, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Reputable rental companies should be able to answer all your questions and guide you through the process.

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