For most people, the worst part about renting a car is the last step, when the agent presents you with an expensive, confusing list of options for rental car insurance. Most of us feel we need to have a master’s degree in rental insurance to figure this stuff out!
If you’ve ever been confronted with the question of wondering how you can get insurance on a rental car and just wanted someone to give you the cheapest, easiest option, this is THE rental car insurance guide for you. After all, it’s not in the rental company’s interest to make it simple — so we’ve done it for you.
Read on to learn all about how rental car insurance works and then be sure to enter your ZIP code in above for a FREE car insurance quote comparison!
Do You Need Car Rental Insurance?
Make no mistake: you will be asked if you want insurance for your rental car. Here are some of the rates that companies charge per day for insurance coverage:
Loss Damage Waiver
Supplemental Liability Insurance
$10.50 – 22.99
$11.95 – 12.95
9.00 – 35.99
10.95 or 12.95
9.00 – 35.99
10.95 or 12.95
8.95 – 34.99
8.95 – 12.99
10 – 15
10 – 16
9 – 35.99
10.95 – 12.95
10.50 – 22.99
11.95 – 12.95
8.95 – 34.99
8.95 – 12.99
Source: USA Today
Rental Car Insurance Definitions
Loss damage waiver covers you from liability if a car is damaged in any way.
Supplemental liability insurance protects you from lawsuits by victims of accidents involving a rental.
Multiply this by the number of days you’re going to have the car, and you can see how expensive rental car insurance can be. But don’t worry: just follow these simple steps, and you’ll know the answer to the question “Do you want insurance with your rental today?” before you even step to the counter.
Step One: Personal or Business?
If you’re renting your car on business, you may be covered under your company’s insurance policy. Before you leave, find out from your corporate travel department if car rental insurance is covered. It’s possible that you may need to be added to the policy by providing a photocopy of your driver’s license. Your company has to have some type of insurance, so it pays to find out.
If your trip is personal, read on.
Step Two: Are You Covered Under a Current Policy?
You’re already paying for car insurance, because that’s the law. Find out if your car insurance policy covers rental cars. If it doesn’t already, you may be able to get a better deal by adding it to your policy, rather than getting it at the last minute from a rental company. Find out your options from your insurance agent, or go to their website to find out more.
If you don’t own a car, it is possible to get non-owners insurance through your standard insurance provider.
In addition, check your homeowner’s insurance. Since it is usually cheaper to buy all of your insurance as a package with one insurer, you may save money buying rental insurance this way.
Make sure you check all the insurance policies that you have, since you may be covered and not even know it!
Step Three: Check With Your Credit Card Company
Many credit card companies offer car rental insurance as a benefit. This is most commonly found on cards that offer regular benefits as part of an annual fee — American Express is the best-known example. To find out if your card offers car rental insurance, just call the phone number on the back of the card.
Make sure you go beyond just asking if rental insurance is offered, however. Sometimes these car rental policies are just secondary to regular insurance, such as supplemental liability. Find out for what and how much you are covered before you hang up the phone with customer service.
Step Four: Be Loyal
Just like airlines, car rental companies have loyalty programs. Along with the programs come special benefits like rental car insurance for good rates, or as part of an annual fee. If you’re a power traveler — or are planning to become one — find out whether these loyalty programs can benefit you. You’ll probably be surprised by the perks, and not just rental insurance benefits.
This is especially true if you plan on renting cars in another country; sometimes it’s easier to work with the rental company than with your own insurer, since they will be more familiar with the laws regarding insurance in that particular country.
If you’re simply renting a car out-of-state and are wondering about rental car insurance, insurance rules a should stay the same as the state where you are from.
Step Five: Get Covered (Cheaply)
At this point, if you’re not covered by the steps above, you need to accept some insurance from the rental company, to make sure there are no out-of-pocket expenses if something happens to your car. It’s possible that your credit card or other insurance policies already offer the supplemental liability insurance benefit, so if you must have some sort of collision insurance, go with the loss damage waiver. The car rental company is likely going to offer you various levels of coverage, just take the cheapest one that will cover you from common scratches and dings.
Finally, of course, drive carefully. The best way to save money on insurance is not to get into any accidents!
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