One of my pet peeves when traveling is the hard sell for insurance products at the rental car counter sometimes. Often my negative response is countered with the reasons I should buy it; even though I already declined. There’s a reason for that.
Insurance is a profitable product. Collecting $9 or more a day for coverage that the vast majority of renters will never use generates a great deal of revenue. But is there a hard and fast rule about rental car insurance?
No to Rental Car Insurance
You may already have rental car coverage and not realize. it. Many credit card companies include this feature so be sure to check out the benefits of your card and use it when picking up the vehicle.
Organization memberships often offer travel benefits including coverage for rental car damage. My AARP membership has a maximum cap on damages if I decline the offered coverage.
Another reason to turn down additional insurance at the counter is that your own insurance plan may already provide coverage. Many comprehensive policies extend to cars you’ve rented.
Yes to Rental Car Insurance
Times when you should strongly consider signing up for the optional coverage is if you don’t have insurance through any other means. Let’s say you don’t own a car or belong to any organizations that provides this benefit. It’s better to pay the daily fee than risk being on the hook to replace a fairly new car.
A time when even I consider rental car insurance is when renting in foreign countries. Like health insurance, your car insurance policy probably doesn’t provide coverage out of the country.
Conversely, the other country may not recognize your coverage provider. Most Southern Californians are used to buying Mexican insurance as part of their car trip across the border. If you have an accident without this policy, it’s directly to jail until you can come up with the money to pay damages.
Before your next trip involving a rental car, do some research. Read your insurance policy and/or check with your agent on existing coverage. Find out if your credit card or any memberships offer protection. If you’re going out of country, understand the local laws regarding driving and insurance.
By preparing, you can make an informed decision and be confident when you answer the question about optional insurance. Do you have any rental car tips?