We’ve all been there. You’re standing at the car rental counter, ready to get on your way, and you’re inundated with all the risk and reasons why you should buy rental car insurance. The sweet deal you got for the rental disappears as you’re looking at $50 more per day to rent a car if you add on the insurance coverage.
Do you really need the additional rental car insurance? There are times when you can skip it, as long as you do your homework first.
Your Personal Insurance Might Be Enough
If you have enough liability and comprehensive coverage through your own auto insurance policy, you may be fine. This depends on the type of vehicle you’re renting, as well. If it’s similar in value to what you own, it’s likely the best option. But if you’re renting a larger vehicle or a luxury vehicle, your auto insurance limits may not be enough. Check with your insurance agent before you rent to find out if you can use your existing coverage and opt-out of the rental insurance.
If you have personal health insurance, you may be able to opt out of the personal accident insurance option from the rental company. Your health insurance will likely cover the medical expenses for you and your passengers if you’re in a car accident. Be careful if you have an extremely high deductible and haven’t met it, or you’ll have to pay that amount before insurance will cover the rest.
Your Credit Card May Cover You
This isn’t true of every credit card, but many offer an additional benefit when you rent a car in your name and pay with it using that credit card. You’ll be covered by a loss damage waiver (sometimes called a collision damage waiver or excess damage waiver) of up to $50,000. It only covers damage to the vehicle and doesn’t cover injuries to you or other parties.
Many Visa and American Express cards provide this benefit. Gold, platinum, world, and elite Mastercards often do, too.
Contact your credit card company to verify the benefit before you rent. Some will have limits on where you can rent a car (domestic or international) and how long the trip can be (15 to 30 days). Because of the $50,000 limit, you may only want to use this benefit for sedans and other reasonably-priced vehicles. For SUVs, vans, and luxury vehicles, you likely won’t have enough coverage.
If you have the bare minimum amount of auto insurance and your credit card doesn’t offer loss damage waiver, you may want to pay for the car rental insurance to be safe. When you’re ready to protect yourself with a better insurance policy, or if you’re wondering whether or not you need that additional rental car insurance coverage, contact Charlotte Insurance. We’ll help you find a policy that works for your life and your budget.