Whether you're flying into a strange city, or just don't own a car and need one for a short time, being prepared is the best way to make sure your car rental goes off without a hitch. Whether you're renting for a week the traditional way, or just taking a car out from a ride share company for a few hours, you need to make sure you have the insurance coverage to cover both you and the vehicle.
Method #1: Check Your Credit Card
Many people assume their credit card will provide insurance coverage, but don't count on it without verifying first. In most cases, you have to use the card to pay for the rental to get the coverage, and even then, not all credit cards provide coverage. If you use a debit card, you'll definitely be on your own. If your card does offer coverage, make sure it's enough. It should cover both medical and vehicle repair costs. Even then, the card company may not cover any additional fees assessed by the rental company in the event of an accident.
Method #2: Purchase Additional Coverage
Rental agencies offer insurance coverage, either on its own or in addition to your usual insurance, on every vehicle they rent. Unfortunately, its cost is usually well above what you would pay securing insurance on your own. If it's your only option, such as when you have a last minute rental, it's well worth paying for. If you have time to plan, price other options first.
Method #3: Check Your Existing Policy
If you have auto insurance back home, check your existing policy. Many policies offer full coverage for rental vehicles, but you may need to notify the company first that you plan to rent a car. Even if your policy doesn't cover rentals, you can usually add temporary coverage for a fee much lower than what you would pay the car rental agency. This coverage is also usually more comprehensive than anything your credit card offers.
Method #4: Take Out Your Own Temporary Policy
If you don't have auto insurance and you want a better option than what your credit card or the agency offers, you can take out temporary car insurance specifically for rental cars on your own. Get quotes from several companies and verify the coverage limits before you commit. These short-term policies will cover you for a predetermined window, usually from one day to one month. Once you have a relationship with an agent, you can call and activate the insurance whenever you need to travel.
Protecting yourself and the car makes smart financial sense. You don't want to be caught driving under-insured, even if it is just a rental car. For more information, contact Colling Insurance Services, Inc. or a similar company.