Car Rental Insurance Tips
As you gather your bags from the luggage terminal, the last stop on your way out of the airport is the car rental counter. Before you get the keys, the agent asks you whether you want insurance to protect against potential problems while you have the vehicle. Before you sign up for car rental insurance coverage, make sure you understand the coverage and whether you might already have this protection.
Primary Types of Coverage
Most car rental companies offer loss damage waivers (LDW) and collision damage waivers (CDW). For most rental car companies, LDW coverage protects you if someone steals or vandalizes the car while you are renting, a tree limb falls on it, or some other non-collision damage occurs. Some companies also include damage from hitting an animal in LDW coverage. CDW coverage pays for damage to the car if you have a collision with another vehicle.
In addition to the primary coverage types, most companies also offer additional liability insurance supplements, which step in if your car insurance has low liability limits and you cause an accident that exceeds these limits. Many companies also offer accidental death and personal property insurance. Personal property insurance pays a small amount to cover loss or damage to your belongings in the car, while accidental death pays your beneficiaries if you die in a crash while in the vehicle.
Sometimes purchasing rental insurance ends up giving you double coverage. Before you rent your next vehicle, check with your current car insurance provider to find out whether your policy extends to rental vehicles. Also, check with your credit card company to see what protection it offers. Many cards, such as American Express, offer automatic insurance coverage when you pay for a rental using that card. If you have a homeowner’s insurance policy, it likely covers your belongings in the rental car. If you have sufficient life insurance, you likely do not need accidental insurance coverage.
Know Your Needs
Unless you have a problem while renting the car, car rental insurance coverage provides significant profit for the rental agency. Because of this, car rental companies train their workers on making a winning sales presentation. While these products may help you, purchasing coverage that you already have simply wastes your money. Research the options before you head out on your trip and know your needs before visiting the car rental counter.
When to Buy
If you currently have nothing but liability coverage on your car insurance policy and your credit card company provides no coverage, consider purchasing the LDW or CDW policy offered by the rental company. For less than $20 per day in most situations, you will be protected if there is any damage to or theft of the car. However, if you have collision and comprehensive coverage that extends to the rental vehicle, and you can cover your deductible if you experience a problem, consider waiving this added expense.