On Vacation – Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?


If you’re in the planning stages of your next vacation and they include a rental car, you may want to talk with your insurance agent about the rental car insurance options that you may have.

When it comes to traveling and more specifically rental car insurance, the market is extremely competitive for your dollar. This is because not only do the insurance companies compete for your dollar, but so too do the rental car agencies, and your credit card companies as well. And while all this competition may sound as though it works to your advantage as a consumer, all the marketing hype may change if you have an accident.

Start by contacting your insurance agent and see if your policy includes rental car insurance. Most auto insurance policies do including covering you in a rental car as well. Of course, verify this with your agent. Make sure it includes collision and liability insurance (damage to your car and to the other vehicle). Make sure your current coverage doesn’t fall short of the type of car you may be planning on renting. For instance, if you drive an older car with minimal coverage, you may be putting yourself at risk if you’re going to rent a top level newer car. So, check on any limitations that your policy may have. Find out what the conditionals are ahead of time so you don’t get caught short.

If you are considering getting your rental car insurance through one of your credits cards, then you should shop carefully. Call your credit car company and ask them to fax or mail the details to you. Either way get their coverage in writing. Again, ask specifically about collision and liability coverage and if there are any limitations or stipulations or complete exclusions. Don’t assume that just because they offer you ‘insurance’ that you will have the coverage completely protects you.

Thinking about getting your coverage directly from the rental car company? You’ve got some more investigating to do. Insurance coverages from rental car companies are all over the place and generally can be fraught with all kinds of stipulations and exclusions and certainly not all rental car companies are not on equal ground.

Don’t base parts of your decision to go with insurance from the rental car company thinking that if you are at fault in an accident that you can avoid a potential rate hike from your home insurance company. Your regular insurance company can raise your rates no matter who cuts the check. If you are involved in an accident make sure that you report this to your insurance company back home because if the credit card insurance or the rental car company insurance doesn’t pay… and you haven’t reported it to your insurance company, you could paying out of your own pocket.

Make sure you ask a lot of questions and get them answered well before you go on vacation. And as a side note, you may want ask your agent with whom you have your homeowner’s policy about what is the coverage in the event you have personal belongings stolen from a rental car. It may sound like a bunch to get done before you go on vacation, but getting yourself the proper insurance can literally save you financially.