As the name says, rental car insurance is a policy you sign for when you rent a car. The fees aren’t outrageously high if you need to rent vehicles every once in a while; however if you do it frequently you will end up with some consistent bills over the long run. This article will show you some tips on the policies you can buy and how to avoid duplicating the coverage you already have.
The driver’s insurance policy will protect the rented car against theft or damage, but often so will a major credit card you use to pay the rental bill. The best thing you can do is call your insurance agent or credit card company and ask for their current terms and conditions. Just because you have used a golden or platinum card to pay for a car in the past and were covered it doesn’t mean this will hold today too – the issuer’s insurance benefits can change from one month to another.
If you don’t hold a liability policy and aren’t insured through a financial institution, the list of available options can seem daunting and add up to as much as $50 a day, next to what you have to pay for the car. Rental insurance plans differ from one company to another. Here are the most popular agreements you may run into:
- The collision damage waiver. While this is not an insurance product per se, it does shift responsibility from the driver to the rental company in case of a traffic accident. Be warned, such a document becomes void if you drive your car illegally – like with a high BAC or lend the car to a person without a valid drivers license – or are caught driving the car on unpaved roads. Such a waiver costs anything between $10 and $19 a day.
- Liability insurance provides coverage for up to $1 million. Again, be warned, if you own a vehicle you are already covered for this under your own car insurance, so don’t buy more than you need. Such a policy can cost between $7 and $14 per day.
- Personal accident coverage will take care of the medical and ambulance bills for you and your passengers if you are involved in a car crash. If you own a medical insurance or PIP policy you are already covered. Opting for this would add another $1 to $5 a day to your car rental fees.
- Personal effects coverage protects you against theft of items left in the vehicle. If you frequently leave your cell phone, laptop or purse inside the car you may opt for this. However, sometimes it pays up to get a floating policy under your house insurance so that your personal items are covered at home as well as on the road. The Personal effects policy costs another $1 to $5 a day.
If you don’t own a car but rent frequently, you will save tons of money if you get a non-owner liability policy from any insurer. This will cost you something between $200 and $600 a year and you will be avoiding lots of repetitive car rental insurance fees.