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Traveling this summer? If you're getting a rental car, learn how you can decide if you need to pick up insurance coverage from them. 

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?

car rental insurance couple money

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.

Traveling this summer? If you're getting a rental car, learn how you can decide if you need to pick up insurance coverage from them.
Thoughts on Rental Car Insurance

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?

About Kay Lynn

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11 comments add your comment

  1. The rental car people make commission on any insurance they sell. Or, are threatened to lose their job if they don’t sell so much per a specific time period. In which case I would give them a big break for asking. ;)

  2. Just booked a rental car without insurance…. You just changed my mind so I have emailed them to get it purchased before hand… Better safe than sorry.

  3. Rental car insurance can add quite a bit your cost. The only time I buy rental car insurance is when I am overseas. My credit card company covers me on rentals.

  4. I used to avoid buying it because our rental cars are covered by our regular policy AND by a credit card. But two rentals in a row were damaged while parked by hit and run drivers. In one case it was covered by the credit card, and in the other it ended up being covered by BC’s coverage. (That time there was a witness.) For me it’s worth the extra cost to avoid the hassle of getting it covered by the other means.

  5. When I visited family during the holidays last year, I found out the hard way that the low rate they offered online was because they would not let you leave their lot without buying THEIR insurance. And that doubled the cost of renting the car for the week. This year, we’re going with one of the big names and using the coverage provided by MasterCard.

    A tip for saving on car rentals, most companies seem to now offer a discount for paying online when you book instead of just reserving it online and paying when you pick up. We saved $30 on ours.

  6. Our credit card offers good coverage for rental cars. For the counter people at the rental agency, it’s required to ask if you want to supersize your fries, um, I mean, want insurance coverage.

  7. I get a kick out of how the rental car agents often look at you as if you’re crazy for not getting insurance. As if they don’t know that you may already have coverage:)

  8. I don’t buy it. I just have it on my credit card. And I was such an idiot before that I didn’t know about it before checked it in internet.So sometimes there is no need to think about it – you may already have it. And that’s really positive-). In case someone is interested – the tool named insureye. It’s possible to find it in internet so I wouldn’t bother you with my link-). And I advise everyone to check if you have this option or not. If you’re not from Canada you can call to your bank and clear that.