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Do I Need to Buy Rental Car Insurance?


rental car insurance_bodyIn my experience, traveling can quickly inspire a new state of mind. It’s easy to leave the mundane details of our daily lives on the runway when we leave for a new destination. There are, however, some very useful mundane details that can travel with you—without taking up luggage space!

Your car insurance, for example, often extends across the country to cover rental cars. If you already know this, then you’re ahead of the curve. It took me years (and hundreds of unnecessary dollars) to realize that I did not necessarily need the insurance that rental car agents were so keen to sell me.

I blame the travel state of mind—a new city, a new car—why wouldn’t I need new car insurance? It seemed logical, especially when it came from a rental car employee who presented all the disastrous scenarios that could result from hypothetically wrecking a rental car in an unfamiliar city.

If you’re like me, getting put on the spot by a rental car agent might make you lose confidence about what your current auto insurance does or doesn’t cover. That, of course, is right where the rental car company wants you to be—lined up just right for their agents to get their commissions for selling you their insurance policies. 

If you want to be prepared the next time you’re renting a car, learn whether or not you need to purchase rental car insurance before you get to the rental counter by asking yourself the following questions:

Do I already have auto insurance?

Often, your regular auto insurance policy will cover any rental car that you drive. Not every policy is the same, but many will cover any damage to the rental, as well as theft. Remember, if you use your own auto insurance to cover a rental car, you will still have to meet the deductible. Call your insurance agent before you travel to see what your policy covers for rental cars.

What if I don’t have auto insurance?

It is important that you have coverage on a rental vehicle. Those disaster scenarios that they talk about when trying to sell you the rental car insurance can happen, and they will ruin your trip. If you don’t have an existing auto insurance policy, or if your auto insurance does not cover rental cars, it’s a good idea to buy insurance from the rental company.

Does Rental Car Insurance Cover Injuries?

If you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage under your current auto policy, then your injuries would be covered in the event of a rental car accident. If you have health insurance, some of your medical care costs would also be covered under that policy. If you don’t have personal injury protection or health insurance, consider adding the rental company’s insurance.

What Happens in the Event of Theft?

If someone steals personal property from your car or rental car, your home or renters insurance may cover some of the cost of what was stolen. In the event of theft, you should always file a police report immediately.

What if I’m Traveling for Work?

Many companies have large commercial auto insurance policies to cover their employees while they’re traveling. Sometimes, you will have to pay the claim using your personal insurance coverage and then get reimbursed from your employer’s insurance company. Ask your employer if they have a commercial auto insurance policy, and if they have specific rules for what you should do when you rent a car.

If you’re unsure about whether or not your auto insurance policy covers rental cars, call your insurance agent today at (866) 541-2560.

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