What to Do if You are Considering Rental Car Insurance

rental car insuranceThere are some people that say you should get rental car insurance when you are using a rental car while others say it is not necessary and that your own car insurance is necessary.  There are good arguments for each side of this when considering what rental car insurance should I get when looking to rent a car.

Some think that additional car insurance for a rental car is a myth.  Some want to make sure that they are covered.  When you ask yourself, ‘What rental car insurance should I get?’ you need to make sure that you are covered and protected even if it is an extra cost.

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That minimal cost offered by a rental company is much better than finding out that you are not covered otherwise and having to pay for damage to a rental car because of an accident.  However, some believe that the need for extra rental car insurance is a myth.  For this decision, the jury is still out but you really should do some double checking on a car rental and the type of insurance might be best for you.

Rental Car Insurance: what to do

Check with your car insurance company

First off, you need to check with your car insurance company that you have for your own car, if you have one, to see if they cover rental cars in the case of an accident.  In some cases, if you have had an accident in your own personal car, an insurance company will pay for you to have your own rental car while your own is being fixed and in this case, the car rental is covered.  However, if you are on a vacation or business trip in a foreign country or another state, you need to make sure that you are protected in the case that you might be in an accident.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

Insurance in Rental Car agencies

Alternatively, some people then find that the rental car agency already has some options.  These options can vary depending on the rental car agency as do the daily costs of insurance. In the United States, it is considered to be a tricky decision to make. Drivers may already be covered with the car insurance you already have or through your credit card. Personal auto insurance coverage typically covers rental cars. However, you might want to ensure that you have collision coverage too in the case of accidents or damages to a vehicle from an accident.

For some people that already have an insurance coverage policy that includes collision insurance, it is often thought that purchasing rental car insurance is a complete waste of money. However, if you do not have a policy that includes collision coverage, you will either have to go ahead and purchase rental car insurance through the rental car agency or you can use a credit card to pay for the car rental.  However, you need to know whether or not your credit card has car rental insurance built in.

Insurance through the credit card companies

Many major credit card companies do offer rental car insurance to their cardholding customers. Some may only offer it to their elite members. There may be some limitations though too like the credit card company may have insurance coverage that only kicks in in the case that there are damages or theft that is not already covered by other types of insurance. Basically, a credit card should only be used as a secondary means of rental car insurance so it is only used as a backup plan.

If you do not own a car, it is likely that you do not pay car insurance. Therefore, you do need to definitely consider rental car insurance when you choose a rental car whether it be in the United States or in another country. You must be protected from any damages that could happen as the result of a car accident in case there is one.  While you always hope for the best, you must be prepared for the worst.  Nothing ruins a fun vacation like an expensive fee due to a rental car being damaged or worse: totaled.

Take one example when considering what rental car insurance should I get when renting a car in Europe that it is a required expense.  This may differ in other countries too depending on where you go.  It also may be a requirement of the car rental agency. You will also find out, particularly in Europe for example, that insurance will be one of the most expensive costs besides the price of the car rental itself.  While sometimes there are car rental agencies that include car rental insurance in the price already, it is not always true.

How does car insurance work in Europe?

It is also possible that your credit card covers extra insurance that is legally required in some countries. However, this should not be assumed. In Europe, if you choose to take the car insurance that the car rental agency offers, you will find that is an extra 30 percent of your fee.  An additional collision damage waiver supplement insurance could also be an additional cost.  This could be around $30 per day for your car rental for the cheapest cars. If you opt for a luxury car, you are going to expect to pay a much higher insurance fee.

Rental car companies, regardless of where they are, are required to provide car renter customers with statutory minimum liability insurance coverage. However, in the case of a major accident, that will not do you much good.  When you ask yourself what rental car insurance should I get, make sure that you get one that protects you entirely rather than minimally.

Others point of attention about rental car insurance

Also consider whether or not you will have another driver driving the rental car to help share in the responsibility.  While adding an extra driver to your car rental agreement is an additional daily fee, it is much better than the alternative. In some instances, if someone is driving the rental car though they are not listed on the car rental agreement and they end up being in an accident, the car rental insurance will not cover the damages.

If you wonder what rental car insurance should I get, make sure it covers another driver that is listed on the rental agreement. It is not worth it to let someone else drive a car, end up in an accident and then you have to come up with the money to pay for having it fixed. A damaged rental car that was not insured can be extremely costly and not a chance you should want to risk. When you think about what rental car insurance to choose and you decide not to get any but have another driver, you might as well do something as risky as go sky diving without a parachute too. It is not a recommended idea. Read also: Should I buy extra rental car insurance?

Also, you need to be aware of a theft protection expense.  This is common within European countries.  Italy’s car rental agencies even advertise the theft protection as a form of insurance for your rental car.  However, in Italy, as an example, this is a required type of rental car insurance that is legally required. In Italy, the average fee for the theft protection of a rental car is about $20 per day.

Technically, insurance that rental companies offer is not really insurance because they are a car rental agency.  They are not licensed insurance agents. When thinking about what car rental insurance should I get and you decide to opt to purchase rental car insurance through the rental car company, you need to be sure that you read all of the fine print in the rental agreement. That is a problem many people face. Each rental care agreement differs per company so you need to make sure to see just what it is that you are contractually obligated to when you sign the paperwork. It does not hurt to research rental car insurance online when you go to make your car reservation.

You have to have some type of insurance on the rental car.  It would be problematic to be underinsured but even more detrimental if you are completely uninsured.

If you have any doubts, please take a look at our “most popular rental cars questions” page!