With the weather starting to heat up and savvy families starting to plan their summer vacations to see Mickey or Shamu, one of the inevitable questions that will arise is whether or not car rental insurance should be factored into a family’s vacation budget.
While many consumers may reflexively decline the coverage on the basis it’s just an added frill, the true answer revolves around several questions that should be answered before arriving to the rental counter and being bombarded by pushy and aggressive sales pitches to buy the rental company’s car coverage, according to the insurance experts at AutoInsuranceMonitor.com.
First of all, if a driver already has a car insurance policy, does the policy cover rentals? If a driver doesn’t know the answer, then a call to their insurance company is in order to determine if the current policy extends to renting a car. Drivers should leave no question unanswered in gaining a full understanding of how their current policy relates to damage to their rental be it from vandalism or a car wreck. Also, how does it cover the driver in the event the car is broken into and personal property is stolen like an IPod or a laptop? For example, will they be covered under the driver’s current deductible amount and how will a high deductible affect that? Typically, having comprehensive and collision car coverage would cover rentals up to their car policy coverage limits. But if drivers skipped on collision and coverage because they drive “vintage” cars then they wouldn’t be covered. Drivers should also look to see if their existing policy covers the rental company’s “loss use” fee which is charged when a car can’t be rented out due to damages.
Usually, a driver’s current policy will cover “reasonable” losses but if there is a dispute as to what is “reasonable” between a driver’s insurance provider and the rental company it may fall on the driver to pick up the difference.
Drivers should also ask themselves whether or not the car rental would be covered by their credit card. In some instances, if a driver charges the full cost of a rental to a major charge card they may receive automatic coverage in case the rental is wrecked in an accident or is stolen. Drivers must decline the rental company’s damage waiver coverage to qualify though and drivers should also check with their credit company on what other conditions or exclusions apply toward automatic coverage. For example, a motorcycle or a muscle car may not qualify for automatic coverage, as well as cars rented abroad.
Another question to ask is how long the car will be rented for? Is it for three days or for three weeks? The difference is literally hundreds of dollars if a driver feels their current coverage is more bone than meat and choose the coverage offered by the rental company.
While for other drivers, the peace of mind of having the rental coverage is worth the extra dollars.
In some cases, some of the options available are worth the price. For example, if items are stolen from the vehicle only when the dollar amount surpasses the driver’s current deductible will insurance kick in to cover the losses. So in the event a driver has a high deductible then buying the personal items coverage to protect their high-dollar personal items, like a still or video camera, from damage or theft is worth the couple of dollars a day it costs.
Another reason to choose the coverage is because in the unfortunate event there is an accident or the vehicle gets stolen is that when a claim is filed it won’t be with the driver’s regular car insurance company but with the car rental’s which wouldn’t affect insurance premiums or mark a driver as high-risk which would affect them long after the vacation is over in terms of higher premiums or even worse dropped coverage.
So while every driver’s financial situation as well as insurance coverage is different, sometimes spending a little more can go a long way to prevent major headaches, bills and hassles on down the line in case something goes wrong.
And when driver’s need more information to Frequently Asked Questions regarding rental or regular car insurance coverage they can click on to AutoInsuranceMonitor.com which offers drivers tips on how to save on auto insurance, car insurance FAQs, insurance quotes by state and much more.