Is Rental Vehicle Coverage Necessary?

If you’ve ever found yourself at the counter of a car rental company, you are familiar with the supplemental protection they try to sell you on. What they won’t tell you is that you probably don’t need it. The collision/loss damage waiver they offer alone can cost $20 a day! Most times, your auto policy overage will extend to a vehicle you are renting. Let’s take a look at what coverage they offer and what you may already have that offers the same thing.

Collision/Loss Damage Waiver

This covers any physical damage to the vehicle or if it is stolen. The tricky thing here is that they could deny the coverage if the collision/loss was due to your recklessness (speeding, keys were left in unattended vehicle, etc).

Collision and comprehensive coverage on an auto policy essentially offer the same thing (but without the risk of having the claim denied due to recklessness). If you don’t have this coverage, depending on your carrier, you may be able to add it for the duration you are renting the vehicle.

Liability Protection

This will cover you for any bodily injury and property damage you may cause. It is usually offered in one amount, $1 million. The liability on your auto policy will cover bodily injury and property damage up to your policy limits. Now, if you have low limits you should consider purchasing their coverage or contacting your insurance company to see if they will raise your limits temporarily.

Personal Accident Protection

This coverage is for you in case of injury or accidental death while in the rental vehicle. If you have health insurance and life insurance, they will cover the same incidents. In addition, your auto policy’s medical payments will provide coverage for you regardless of fault.

Personal Property

Covers personal property in the vehicle if it is stolen or damaged in an accident. A homeowners or renters insurance policy’s will cover personal property while it’s in the rental vehicle. In addition to the auto and homeowners/renters policies, major credit card companies typically offer rental vehicle insurance benefits. What they cover varies greatly between companies so it is best to contact yours to see what they offer.

Before you even go to the car rental counter, contact your insurance providers/credit card companies to understand the coverage’s that will transfer to you and the rental vehicle. If you do not have these options, it is necessary to then purchase the protection offered by the car rental company.