Automobile rentals have become accepted and common in today’s highly mobile society. Consumers naturally want adequate protection in the event they are involved in a collision or accident while operating a rental car. Absent sufficient knowledge and advance planning, obtaining such coverage can be confusing and involve unnecessary costs.
Two calls, that’s all
The Insurance Information Institute advises consumers to make two telephone calls before renting a vehicle. The first call should be to your current auto insurance carrier.
First, find out how much personal auto insurance you already have. Any rental car coverage will have limits identical to those of your current policy. Ask if your existing coverage includes administrative fees, lost usage, and towing charges.
Frequent auto renters should consider buying a special rental car rider through their present insurance carrier. This option is much cheaper than buying separate coverage through the auto rental agency.
Next, call your credit card issuer. Credit card auto insurance coverage varies widely among auto rental firms and card issuers. If you hold several credit cards, contact each issuer to learn which one offers the best rental car insurance.
Be aware that credit card rental coverage is generally “secondary.” Benefits are not payable unless your primary policy benefits are exhausted or deemed inapplicable to specific claim(s).
All insurance offered by rental car agencies is very expensive. In fact, it can more than double the cost of renting a vehicle. Here are some helpful hints about the two major forms of rental car insurance available directly from rental agencies:
- Loss Damage Waiver (“LDW”)
Although technically not a true insurance product, LDW waives any financial liability for the loss or damage to your rental car. Forego the LDW if you presently have comprehensive and collision coverage under your existing policy.
- Liability coverage
State laws require all auto rental companies to provide the statutory minimum levels of liability coverage. If you already have adequate liability insurance, omit agency-provided liability coverage.