If you’re taking a trip, there is a good chance that your travel plans may include renting a vehicle.  This means you will have to decide whether or not to accept and purchase the additional insurance coverages offered by the rental company.  How do you determine which protection is necessary?

The best way to find out is by reviewing any existing coverages you may have.  For instance, some credit card companies offer rental car coverage as a cardholder benefit.  Also, your personal auto insurance may extend to the rental car as long as your trip is for pleasure rather than business.  However, it is important to call us to discuss your auto policy, as there may be some restrictions that would make the rental company’s insur­ance worth considering.

The following is a brief overview of several common types of insurance offered by rental car companies:

Ø  Collision damage waiver – A Collision damage waiver is just that-it relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged.  In some states, this coverage is already included in the price of the rental.

Ø  Personal accident insurance – This insurance would provide coverage if you or your passen­ger(s) were injured.  It may be unnecessary, since most such injuries are covered by health insurance or your personal auto policy’s personal injury protection.

Ø  Personal effects coverage – This would protect you against theft of any personal belongings you have in the car.  A homeowners or renters policy usually may already covers off-premises theft, provided you have documented proof of ownership.

With the average new car costing around $23,000, most consumers can’t afford to make a mistake on rental car coverage.  Even if you determine coverage is available from an automatic source, you should be cautioned that those sources, including your own personal auto policy, most likely will not cover “loss of use”, that is, the lost income suffered by the rental car company while the car it is being repaired.  Also note that it has been known to happen where a rental car company will lock up the full limit on your deposit credit card while payment arrangements or coverage determinations are being made.  If your travel plans include renting a car please call us before you leave, it may help you determine what questions need to be asked in order to make an informed determination.  Remember, if at the counter there are any doubts in your mind, always buy the coverage.  Familiarity with your insurance coverage may save you money, and that means you will have more to spend on your trip.