Does my Auto Policy Protect Me in a Rental Car?

Drive it like a rental, right? Only if you have insurance coverage! Renting a car the question comes always up: buy extra insurance with a rental car or pass? Adding insurance to rental cars adds up – up to over $200.00 a week on top of other costs.

Rental car companies are charging for rental damages and repairs using complex agreements. The good news is: you may already have rental car insurance coverage. Before renting a car, check insurance coverage using these three steps:

1. Read Insurance Policy Documents

Owned insurance coverage is the first place to start. Auto insurance policies may include basic coverage for rental car damage. Even without one, short-term policies are available.

When reading an existing auto policy, ask the following questions:

  • Is there rental car coverage? The first thing to know before moving on.
  • What is my deductible? Often the same as your personal vehicle, but good check.
  • Does my policy cover accidents, fire, theft, and vandalism? Agencies typically require this coverage.
  • Does my policy include rental cars for business travel? If you’re at work or on vacation matters – make sure you’re covered. Your company policy may cover you in event of business travel.
  • Does my auto policy cover extra fees and charges by the rental agency? Towing costs, mileage, decreased value and others add up!
  • Does my car insurance plan pay for the actual value of a rental car? There’s coverage and there’s adequate coverage. Make sure you aren’t going to be left holding a bill.

After reviewing your policy you may find you’re covered, or you might still have gaps to fill. Oftentimes, credit card companies include rental coverage with cardholder benefits. The next place to check for rental car coverage is a credit card issuer.

2. Check Your Credit Card Benefits

Major credit card issuers cover rental car insurance costs within benefits programs. Coverage varies depending on the issuing agency. Some cover varies expenses and fees issued by the rental car company.

Before checking this box, confirm with the credit card company. The largest issuing companies are available using the following toll-free numbers:

  • American Express: 800-338-1670
  • Discover: 800-347-2683;
  • MasterCard: 800-622-7747
  • Visa: 800-847-2911

Rental car insurance coverage through a credit card agency works along with auto insurance coverage, covering the leftovers. The credit card must be used to pay for the rental, for benefits to be available. The cardholder must be the person driving the rental. Credit card companies do not cover all losses, and exotic or luxury rental cars are usually excluded.

After reviewing options through credit card agencies the process is near complete. Before accepting or declining the rental agency insurance, the last step is to read the fine print.

3. Review the Car Rental Agreement

Rental car companies train their staff to make their auto insurance coverage feel mandatory. When reviewing your agreement, take the time to review the fine print. The agreement will state your liability, and where the company takes responsibility. States require rental agencies to provide coverage of differing levels. If using a credit card to rent your vehicle you may already have adequate coverage.

If planning on taking a rental across any state or international borders, be sure to check coverage. State requirements mean coverage changes when crossing over. Personal coverage is not valid in Mexico or other countries (except Canada, usually).

All this considered coverage may leave gaps. Unlicensed drivers, driving on unpaved roads or off-road, racing, DUI and more can all complicate car rental insurance coverage. Vacation is supposed to be fun. Take the worry away with affordable insurance coverage. Contact an agent today about car rental insurance for the next road trip!

Always on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that may impact health and wallet! For any insurance-related questions be sure to call.

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