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Should You Get Rental Insurance when Renting a Car

Bovo Law March 5, 2012

If you have ever rented a car for a short period of time, whether during a vacation, a business trip, or while your own automobile was being repaired, you have probably faced the question of should you get rental insurance when renting a car. Paying your rental company for insurance on your rental car is necessary sometimes, but not always. In fact, much of the time rental car insurance ends up adding some fairly steep fees onto your rental even though the coverage you’re paying for may be completely redundant.

To know whether you need to write a check for the hefty chunk of change that many automobile rental companies collect for insurance coverage, all you need to do is spend a bit of time finding out exactly what kind of coverage you already have. In many cases, your regular auto insurance is more than sufficient to protect you financially if you do damage a rental car. Anyone who owns an automobile of their own has an insurance policy that gives them some level of coverage in case of damage to the car from an accident, theft, vandalism, or other mishap. It varies a bit from policy to policy, but most of the time this same coverage will apply to a car rented in the policy owner’s name. This means that if your car is fully insured, any rental car that you drive will probably be just as well covered as your personal automobile.

Of course, before you turn down added rental insurance at a rental car agency, make sure you have spoken to your personal insurance agent or a representative from the company that holds your policy to make absolutely sure your policy covers rental cars. If your auto insurance doesn’t cover your rental, you could be left holding a bill for tens of thousands of dollars. This kind of costly mistake can be easily avoided just by making one phone call in advance. Even if you are not planning to rent a car in the near future, it is not a bad idea to find out today whether your policy covers rental cars. That way, all the necessary information will be there for you when you need it.

Even if your regular insurance plan doesn’t adequately cover rental cars, you don’t necessarily need to pay the high insurance fees that a rental agency will probably charge. There are plenty of options to make sure your temporary wheels are covered in case of a collision or other cause of damage to the car. In fact, you can get a much better rate than a rental agent is likely to offer you even if you don’t own a car of your own. There are specific policies that insurance companies offer for customers who rent cars frequently. A non-owner auto liability insurance policy provides affordable and usually quite comprehensive protection for rental drivers who do not own cars. If you don’t have personal automobile insurance that already covers rentals, one of these can offer you the security of knowing you are fully covered without the steep prices of rental agents’ insurance packages.

Whether you find out that you need to take out a non-owner auto liability insurance policy, or whether you discover that you don’t need to pay anything above what you already do for insurance, a bit of forethought and planning can save you a lot of money at the rental desk. Your rental car may be temporary, but the savings will be permanent.

The foregoing article was written by the author based on experiences she has had. This article is not stated as a legal opinion or as fact but instead is stated as opinion of the author.