Read Before Renting

What to know about car rental insurance

With Spring Break rapidly approaching, there’s a good chance you (or maybe even your college-aged kids) are looking into a rental car. One thing we should all know before signing up for the car? The ins and outs of rental car insurance. It’s actually a bit more complicated than you’d think. So let’s go over everything your kid will need to know to make an informed decision about the coverage.

Not Exactly Insurance

The loss damage waiver and/or collision damage waiver (same thing, different name) offered by car rental companies is more of a protection plan than insurance. As US News reports, these products basically absolve the driver from having to pay if the car happens to be damaged or lost. Of course there’s some fine print to go with that: If you violating the car rental company’s terms, this waiver is negated. You might still have to file a claim with your auto insurance company. The waiver might not cover liability claims against or cover personal items damaged and/or lost in the rental car.

Check The Card

Before you rent any car, read up on your credit card benefits. Many times renting a car with a particular credit card will activate its collision damage protection benefit. That means the card issuer will cover damage costs after your personal auto insurance does. In some lucky cases, the card’s
rental companies are a waste of money.

Check The Auto Coverage

Just like with a credit card, there’s a good chance your auto insurance covers damage to rental cars. The key is to look into it before they rent. The waivers offered by car rental companies can run anywhere between $10 and $30 per day, depending on a variety of factors. Sometimes that coverage could end up costing more than the actual car. Bottom line: A little research is all it will take for your kid to avoid spending money on coverage that is already paid for.

Chris O'Shea

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