Summer is here and many of us are planning some vacation time. Some of us like to escape the Florida heat and fly somewhere in the northern half of our great USA. Whether you’re headed to the mountains of North Carolina, historic New England area, the parks in Utah or wine country in Northern California, you’ll probably want to rent a car. Your plane lands, you grab your luggage and rush over to the car rental counters.
You make your way to the counter and begin describing what size car you’d like and agree on a car. You haggle over whether you want a navigation system with it and would you like to return it with a full tank of gas or not. And then they offer you their rental car insurance packages. While this may be the most boring part of the transaction, it could be the most important. Make sure you understand what they are offering as compared to what insurance you already carry. The wrong choices could ruin your vacation.
When we rent a car, we ask for a mid-size sedan and then get upsold to a larger sedan or SUV “for just a few dollars more”. We waive the navigation since we have smart phones and go for the savings by filling up the gas tank on the way back to the airport. Then they offer the insurance. First up is the liability insurance, which will protect us in the event of an accident where we injure other parties or property. We have $500,000 of liability insurance and a $1,000,000 umbrella. I feel this is adequate liability coverage for us as it is more than any state’s required minimum limits by far. Therefore, we reject the liability insurance offered by the rental company. Each state has their own minimum auto insurance requirements, so if you are going to reject this coverage, make sure you meet the requirements.
Next up they offer loss damage waiver or collision damage waiver insurance. We have both collision and comprehensive on our personal auto policy, and it applies if we rent a car, so we are adequately coverage. However, we sign up for this coverage. Do you have adequate coverage? Why, you ask, would we spend souvenir money on this coverage? The reason is to eliminate an accident or theft from ruining our vacation. If we wreck the car, someone crashes into us, or the vehicle is stolen, we simply call the rental car company, explain what happened, and ask them to deliver a replacement vehicle to us. Without selecting this coverage, we are responsible to get the wrecked car towed and repaired, reporting the incident to our insurance company and paying the deductible we have on our personal policy. And we ‘d have to go rent another vehicle. Knock on wood, we’ve never had an unfortunate event occur when renting a car, and we enjoy peace of mind by selecting this coverage.
Another coverage they offer is personal accident insurance. The personal accident covers you and your passengers for any injuries you may get in an accident. We have medical coverage, so we reject this. They will offer you personal effects coverage too that will cover any items stolen from the rental car. If you don’t have homeowners or renters insurance, you may want to consider this one. We have coverage under our homeowners, so we reject this one too.
If you are planning a trip and renting a vehicle, please feel free to call us, before you leave, to ask if you have any concerns about what insurance to take from the rental company. We’ll gladly help you figure it out and give you Peace of Mind for your vacation!