If you’ve ever rented a vehicle, you know they love to upsell insurance
on their vehicles. Rental companies such as Enterprise, Hertz, and Alamo
make most of their money by charging high fees for insuring vehicles.
They typically offer various levels of coverage for pricing starting around
$15/day. Many renters agree to pay these fees because they’re confused,
in a hurry, or simply want to play it safe.
What many Georgians fail to realize is that they may already have sufficient
coverage for rental vehicles through their own auto insurance policies
and credit card services. Before you rent a vehicle, it is important to
understand what happens if you’re in an accident while operating
the rental vehicle.
If you are involved in a crash with another vehicle while driving a rental,
the auto insurance policies of both drivers will typically handle the
claim. Most car insurance policies’ liability, comprehensive, and
collision coverages extend to vehicles that the insured is driving, whether
they own them or not. You may still be liable for your insurance deductible
if you’re found to be at-fault, just as you would be in the event
of a crash that you cause in your own vehicle. Check your personal auto
insurance policy to make sure that your coverage follows the driver.
Unfortunately, many auto insurance policies may not cover additional fees
charged by rental companies. Many auto rental companies will attempt to
sell rental car insurance that covers a vehicle’s loss of use and
diminished value in the event of a crash. Loss of use is defined as the
total cost of the loss of that vehicle’s use to the rental company,
which equates to what the cost would be to rent another vehicle while
the vehicle is out of commission. Diminished value is equivalent to the
vehicle’s value decrease following a crash. Because some auto insurance
policies do not extend coverage for these potential fees, it is common
for renters to purchase this insurance through the rental company just
to be safe. Something to consider before handing over that extra fee is
that some credit cards offer rental car insurance services that cover
these fees in the event of a crash if the rental vehicle is paid for with
that credit card. Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover typically
provide insurance for rental cars above and beyond what your auto insurer covers.
So the next time you rent a vehicle, check first with your auto insurance
and credit card companies to determine whether you’re covered in
the event of an accident. This will save time and hassle at the counter,
as well as your hard-earned dollars while renting a vehicle. Know your
rights before renting a vehicle.