When it comes to car insurance, there are a couple of traps you can fall into. The contracts are complicated and extremely difficult to understand, and that’s if you even have the time to read them. The fact is that most people don’t read insurance contracts and there is a significant information shortage when it comes to consumers and the contents of their own insurance contracts.
One of the problems with this information gap is that it can lead to wasted money. Every time you rent a car you are asked what kind of insurance you would like. The options are generally to take none, which costs nothing, or you could cover liability insurance, which should cost about $10 per day. Then you have a variety of options to cover the rental cat itself, prices for which vary from company to company and state to state. The full coverage option, which includes liability, passengers, and the rental car usually, comes to about $25 to $30 a day. Most people genuinely don’t know what option they should be taking.
Liability insurance is the only insurance you are required by law to take out. All the others are optional. That’s the first and most important thing to remember when you’re at the rental desk, and the total price for your two-week vacation car is quickly adding up and up. The other thing to know is that in many cases, you will be covered, to some extent by your existing car insurance. You will have to check your insurance policy to make certain, but for the vast majority of drivers, they will have liability insurance by virtue of their own car insurance, and this will carry over to the rental car.
It is however, unlikely that full or comprehensive coverage will carry over from your own car insurance. This is because comprehensive insurance is calculated based on the value of your car. Insurers don’t want to be in a position where they set your policy based on your say, $15,000 vehicle, and then have to pay out when you crash a $40,000 rental. So your policy will state that only liability insurance is provided when you rent.
Credit Card Cover
You may still require no insurance from the rental company however. This is because many credit card companies, including both visa and MasterCard, offer this insurance if you pay for the rental with one of their cards. This is a major benefit of using a credit card and should not be wasted. Again you should check with your credit card provider what they cover, but the bottom line is, if your own insurance covers liability, and your credit card covers the rental car, why pay a couple of hundred dollars for extra insurance when you’re already covered?
If you are in doubt as to your insurance, it is wise however to take the rental company’s policy, especially liability.