Getting rental car insurance or not should be an informed decision you make some time before actually picking up the car’s keys, at least in your mind. The usual scenario is that you get to the car rental counter after a long flight, tired and simply wanting to get to the hotel as fast as possible.
However, before being tempted to add any insurance to the bill just to get the guy selling it off your back, it’s better to take a moment and think about whether you actually need it or not. Let’s take a moment and discuss what rental car insurances cover and what it is that you need to take into consideration.
Some standard terms
If you are lost in all the fine print you see on the contract, let’s take a closer look at what some of the standard terms mean. The loss or collision damage waiver protects you in case the rental car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged in a crash.
The supplemental liability insurance protects you in case other vehicles or properties are damaged while you’re driving the car. In certain situations, it can also pay for medical expenses if others are hurt in a car crash you’ve caused.
On the other hand, the personal accident insurance covers the medical costs for you and the passengers riding with you, if anything goes wrong. Another term that you should be familiar with is the personal effects coverage that covers you if you have any personal items stolen from or damaged in the rental car.
You might be already covered
Before making a decision regarding any additional insurance you might be tempted to get, check your regular car insurance policy, to see what is already covered. In a standard contract you most probably already have liability coverage in place, as this is usually required by state law.
Moreover, this insurance normally should carry over to when you are driving a rental car. This means that, as long as you are comfortable with the coverage you already have, the supplemental liability could be avoided.
In terms of collision coverage, this is not as common as the one already discussed, as it’s related to non-driving calamities that include theft, vandalism, or fire. This type helps pay for damage to your car, whatever the cause, in case of a crash. Some car owners drop this coverage, especially if the vehicle is aging or has a high mileage, because it’s rather pricey.
Health and home insurance
If you already have your own health insurance that covers many aspects related to a car crash, then you might not need the one offered by the rental company at all. This applies even more if you have any kind of medical payments or personal injury protection covered by your regular car insurance.
As companies have developed coverages for a wide range of situations, you might want to double check your home insurance as well before leaving the house. This might already take care of everything in case you have any personal belongings stolen, even from a rental car.
Yet another place to take a look at is your travel insurance, as some car collision coverage can be included there as well, and it might even be at a lower cost.
The only thing to keep in mind here is that a primary coverage means that you won’t have to involve your car insurance company if anything happens, while secondary type means that your own insurance company is responsible first before getting the travel insurance involved.
As getting a good insurance is not the same as choosing a fancy golf bag, the best approach is to check everything, but never assume that you should be covered. Do your homework before leaving the house and you’ll be fine.