Do I need to purchase rental car insurance?
If you’re traveling this summer, you may decide to rent a car for a road trip, or just to explore your vacation destination. When you rent a car, you have the option to purchase rental car insurance at the counter. Is this a good idea, or a waste of money? The answer is that it most likely depends on what kind of insurance you already have, if any. Some drivers absolutely need to buy rental insurance, but others don’t. And chances are you probably don’t need all of the coverages they offer.
Let us explain…
The different rental car insurance options
Liability coverage – Also known as “supplemental liability coverage.” Liability coverage is required in all states. This is the coverage that applies if you hurt someone or damage their property in an auto accident. If you have sufficient liability coverage on your personal auto policy, you probably do not need to purchase additional liability insurance for your rental.
Loss-damage waiver – Also known as the collision damage waiver. This coverage protects you from paying out of your own pocket for any damage that occurs to the rental vehicle, including damage sustained in an accident. There are some exceptions to this – it won’t cover you if the car is damaged because you were driving recklessly, or caused intentional damage.
Personal accident insurance – Personal accident insurance will help with your medical bills if you are hurt in an accident in the rental. If you already have health insurance, and/or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your auto insurance policy, you may not want to pay for this option.
Personal effects coverage – Personal effects coverage covers your personal property (clothing, jewelry, electronics) if they are stolen from the rental car. If you have renters or homeowners insurance with “off-premises” coverage, you may not need this extra protection.
Here’s when you might want to get the rental insurance
If you do not have your own auto insurance policy, you definitely need the rental insurance. Whether in your own vehicle or a rental, legally you cannot drive without liability coverage.
If you have liability coverage but not comprehensive or collision (in many states these are not mandatory), you may want to pay for the “loss damage waiver.” This will help protect you from having to pay out-of-pocket in case the car gets damaged.
If you don’t have health insurance or auto insurance, you may want to buy the personal accident insurance that is offered with your rental. This will help with any medical bills you may incur if you’re in an accident while driving the rental.
Know your own auto policy
You don’t want to waste your money on something you don’t need, but you don’t want to end up paying out of pocket for an unforeseen expense, either. Look at your auto policy or call your agent to determine if your own auto insurance already provides everything you need.
Also, look into any extra insurance you may have through the credit card you use to rent the car. Some credit card companies provide insurance benefits.
What happens if you’ve been in an accident with a rental car
If you’re involved in an accident with a rental car, it can be confusing to figure out who pays. Whether you have additional rental insurance or not, call a car accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to review your case. We will sort out the insurance issues and make sure you get whatever necessary compensation you deserve. Call, chat live, or submit a contact form, 24/7.
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