What to Know In Case You Wreck Your Rental


Photo courtesy of www.merchantcircle.com

Photo courtesy of www.merchantcircle.com

Most of us have been there before. You’re standing at the front counter of a car rental company when the agent asks if you’d like to purchase supplemental insurance for the vehicle. Treating the coverage as just another add-on, you decline thinking to yourself, “What could possibly go wrong?” Well, a lot actually and it can happen in a matter of seconds.

Although rental cars are convenient and can save you a lot of wear and tear on your own vehicle, they could end up costing you a fortune if you don’t have coverage and wind up in an accident. To avoid this headache, writer Terry Ward has put together a list of things you should know before declining coverage at the front counter.

Know Your Credit Card: Make sure your credit card offers primary coverage and know that a Collision Damage Waiver will not pay for damages or injuries you’ve inflicted on other cars or people. Cards geared toward travelers typically have good rental car insurance coverage but remember that credit card insurance only covers you if you charge the entire rental amount to the card and the name on the card is listed on the official rental agreement.

Know Your Personal Car Insurance Policy: Damage to a rental car in the case of an accident is usually covered if you have comprehensive and collision damage. If another party is involved in the accident, your personal car insurance’s liability coverage should kick in. To be safe, contact your insurance company before your trip to ask exactly what rental car benefits are covered.

Know When You Should Pay Extra: Supplemental insurance – which runs about $20 per day – exempts you from paying the deductible that your own insurance may require and protects if your credit card or personal insurance doesn’t cover you in all situations.

The lesson to be learned? Better to be safe than sorry.

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