rental car insurance

Rental Car Insurance

When you go to rent a car, you will probably be offered an option to get rental car insurance. While you don’t legally need car insurance if you already have your own policy (even a non-owned policy if you don’t have your own car), it can come in handy. It all depends on your situation.

Rental car insurance to cover basic liability requirements for the state or territory you’re visiting is usually pretty cheap, though rental car insurance coverage can add up if you travel a lot. Whatever state you are visiting, whether you’re needing rental car insurance in California or elsewhere, the factors in your decision should be much the same. Rental car insurance rates aren’t typically that high, but they are a substantial income source for rental car agencies, and only in rare cases is rental car insurance likely to come to your rescue.

As you know, when you go driving, you need to be covered to the extent of the minimum liability requirements for the state you’re registered in. Even if you have minimum liability coverage though, it won’t protect the car you’re driving unless you have additional protection. To this end, when you visit a car rental agency like Avis or Enterprise, typically you’ll be offered rental car insurance to protect the rental car while you’re using it. This isn’t a legal requirement so long as you yourself are insured, but if there is damage to the car, obviously you’ll be responsible for it. So should you get rental car insurance or not? If you have only minimum liability coverage, you probably want to consider it strongly, since your own insurance will not cover damage to the rental car that you’re driving in the event of a collision or another accident. If you have more than minimum liability coverage though, you should check with your insurance company before you commit to the car insurance, because there’s a good chance your insurance company already covers damage to rental cars. Some auto insurance companies even provide money to cover your rental fees! This is common with major car insurance companies like Allstate, Progressive, USAA, American Express, and Geico. The only way to know is to check your plan and see what it entails. Liability coverage and rental car insurance can go well together, but if you have full coverage, you may not need the latter.

Another consideration in whether you ought to get rental car insurance coverage is how often you drive rental cars, and where you drive them. Regular travelers may end up paying much more in rental car insurance fees than they would by simply accepting financial responsibility for the occasional incident. Where are you traveling and what will you be using your car for? You’re a lot less likely to have an accident in some locations than in others. This should be a prime component of your decision to get rental car insurance coverage or not. Why else would you need rental car insurance coverage? Aside from collisions, there are other possibilities which would only be covered by a comprehensive plan. Say you hired someone to park your rental car for you, and the valet damages it. You’d be responsible for that damage. Or perhaps you parked your rental car on the street, only to get up in the morning and find a scrape on the bumper or a window smashed. Damages are also possible from the elements. What if another vehicle kicks up a rock on the road and it cracks the rental car’s windshield? That becomes your problem.

When considering getting rental car insurance in California, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, Wyoming, Nebraska, or any other state in the USA, you should think about the driving environment you’ll be renting in. In southern California for instance, or northern Virginia, you’ll be in a fast, urban metropolis in all likelihood, and therefore the odds of you having a collision, vandalism, or theft, increase tremendously compared to renting a car in some place like Nebraska or Wyoming. If you’re out in the country, the odds of your rental being damaged aren’t that high, so you’re probably just wasting money by paying for car insurance. If you’re in Los Angeles or San Diego though, rental car insurance in California makes a lot more sense.

When the rental agent discusses terms with you, you’ll discover that many rental car insurance  rates are pretty low compared to the prices you’d pay for standard insurance. One of the most useful tips is to pay very close attention to whether you’re being quoted a rate per month or per day. “$9.00 per day” doesn’t sound like a lot—and it isn’t a lot for just several days—but if you’re on an extended trip, that will add up to almost $300.00 per month! On the other hand, some companies offer rates at just $14.00 a month, which is incredibly cheap; there’s almost no reason to pass that up, unless your auto insurance company already covers it. Rental car insurance  can be a good investment or a bad one. It all depends on your situation. Ask yourself, “Does my own insurance already cover my rental car?” If so, what aspects does it cover? Just minimum liability requirements, or full coverage for collision and comprehensive damage? Then ask yourself, “Am I likely to get into an accident, have my car vandalized, or deal with damage from the elements where I’m renting?” If the answer is “yes,” and you aren’t already covered above minimum liability by your insurance, you should strongly consider rental car insurance. Then ask yourself, “How long am I traveling, and how often?” This should give you an idea what kinds of rates are acceptable for this and other trips. Once you’ve given due consideration to all these questions, you’ll be able to make the perfect decision regarding rental car insurance.

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