If you have ever rented a car, you’ve undoubtedly had that moment of confusion, uncertainty, and maybe even panic, when you came to the question of whether or not you should pay for the optional insurance.
Often when we are renting a car we are in a distressed state to begin with: we’ve just stepped off a plane or we’re trying to nail down all the myriad details that are involved with leaving home and going on a trip. The last thing on our minds is auto insurance. And the car rental companies are banking on this.
So, let’s change the dynamic here. Rather than focusing on whether the optional insurance is a good choice, a better approach would be to find out what level of insurance you’re comfortable with, what coverage is already available to you, and then examine some options for making up any difference – before talking to the rental car company.
Understanding Your Auto Insurance Needs
The first step is having a good understanding about the various types of auto insurance coverage and what comfortable policy limits are for you. A dry subject to be sure, but we’ve created an easy-to-read Insurance Comparison Chart (http://www.sarasotalitigator.com/insurance-comparison-chart/) to help educate Florida drivers about car insurance and help them communicate better with insurance agents about their protection needs and budget. Having this chart handy when you talk to your agent can not only be helpful in understanding what is covered when renting a car, but also help you determine if your current policy is meeting your needs.
Regardless of whether you are driving your personal vehicle or a rental car, by law in the U.S. you must have a minimum amount of liability coverage. If you cause an accident and the damages exceed that amount, there is the possibility that you will be responsible for the difference. With the high cost of medical expenses these days, minimum coverage policies don’t cover much, which leaves you on the hook to pick up the costs not covered. We cannot stress how important it is to understand what your auto insurance covers and your level of risk before putting the key in the ignition of any car.
Knowing What Rental Car Coverage You Already May Have
The good news is that, quite often, regular auto insurance will extend to a rental vehicle. But don’t make assumptions that every aspect of your policy will carry over. Your insurance agent can go over the specifics of your policy with you and provide you with a rider to present to the car rental company if your collision and comprehensive coverages do carry over. These are the types of coverages found in those optional rental policies.
It May Be In The Cards
But your auto insurance isn’t the only place you may be covered. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance as a perk. If you do have a credit card that provides rental car insurance, make sure you understand the degree of coverage before relying solely on it. And make sure you use that card for both reserving and paying for your rental car.
Peace Of Mind
If you will be on an extended journey or multi-leg trip with several different car rentals, you may want to consider travel insurance. Many travel policies do cover damages to rental cars, but can also cover a lot of other situations and mishaps. While it may be an extra expense, so is the optional insurance at the rental car kiosk – and that only protects the vehicle.
Consider The Bigger Picture
While the focus of this article is the optional insurance to cover damages to a rental car, we cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure that there is adequate coverage for you, your passengers, and anyone else who may be injured if you are in an accident. This is especially important if you are driving on unfamiliar roads where there is more to distract you. Approach your auto insurance choices much like you would travel: know all your options and make sure you are prepared for any outcome.