Insurance is always offered to you as an add-on when you are renting a vehicle. Paying for this insurance may or may not be a good idea. There are multiple ways to make sure that you have the coverage you need.
- A lot of folks don’t realize that your own auto insurance policy applies to you no matter what car you are driving at the time. This means that yes, your own auto insurance policy does apply to you when you are driving a rental car. So, if you are great coverage on your own auto insurance plan, meaning that you have comprehensive coverage on your car and liability coverage with adequate limits for damage that you cause to others, then there is really no need to add the extra insurance offered by the rental car company. The only real drawback to using your own auto insurance is that you often have a deductible on property damage that you cause to your own vehicle, that deductible would still apply to the rental situation. Still, if you have a good policy on your own vehicle, your risk would be appropriately reduced even in a rental situation. So, for the majority of people, paying the extra cost to insure your rental car may not be worth it.
- Another route that you have to make sure your rental car is insured is to simply use your credit card to book the rental. Many credit cards have built-in rental car insurance that is offered at no additional cost at all. Even if you do not get it for free with your card, you can likely get it through them at a cheaper rate than you could at the car rental company. However, one point to keep in mind is that you should always have a paper copy of the rental insurance policy you have so that there are no disputes later if an accident actually occurred. What good is coverage if you don’t even know what is covered?
- The third option you have is to pay for one of the many types of additional insurance that are being offered by the rental company. The company will likely offer you a loss damage waiver (LDW), or a collision damage waiver (CDW). Those waivers essentially take the place of your comprehensive coverage on your own policy. They will cover the cost of fixing the rental car, as well as things like theft and vandalism. These types of policies would kick in before your own auto insurance in the event that you are “double-covered” and have both. That would likely enable you to avoid paying even a deductible.
There are also liability supplements. The existence of these is perhaps more puzzling. If you are worried that your liability limits are too low on your own policy, why not just raise it instead of adding a supplement when you rent a car? Are you more likely to cause injury to others while you are driving the rental car? Also, keep in mind that if you are uninsured, the rental car company is required to ensure you with the state minimum amount of liability coverage before letting you take the car. That cost is built into the cost of the rental because you cannot opt-out of it.
If you have additional questions about insurance policies; or about what to do after an accident, call a local auto accident attorney for a free consultation.
This article is offered only for general information and educational purposes. It is not offered as and does not constitute legal advice or legal opinion. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this article without first seeking the advice of an attorney.