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.