Lemon Law Attorneys Blog
Should you pay for additional insurance when renting a car?
April 29, 2021 by Aliaksandra Valitskaya
If you’ve ever rented a car, you know that the rental agent will ask or even “highly recommend that” you pay for additional insurance. The agent typically suggests that you need the additional coverage to avoid having to pay if excess damage was to occur to the vehicle and they’ll add, “it will only cost $xx per day.” And you might think, “I was not planning on spending that much, but my peace of mind is worth it.” However, what the rental agent will not tell you is that your regular auto insurance or your credit card company might already cover excess damage to a rental vehicle. So why pay for something that you probably already have?
I personally know someone who had to deal with excess damage to a rental vehicle. One of the most adventurous couples I know was vacationing in Mexico. They had great plans to spend time outside of the all-inclusive resort where they were staying, which included surfing, diving with sharks, and trying as much local food as possible (I know what you’re thinking – then why stay at an all-inclusive resort??—but this is beside the point), so they needed a rental vehicle to do all of that. They rented a nice Jeep and used their credit card to pay for it.
That vacation turned out to be everything my friends had hoped for. The waves were smooth, the sharks were friendly, and the local food was sensational. On the last night of their vacation, they stayed a little bit longer at their favorite surfing spot, so it was dark when they were driving back to the hotel. Suddenly, they saw a cow in the headlights which they could not avoid. Luckily, my friends were okay (although a little shaken up), but the cow and the Jeep were not as fortunate. Some local farmers came out and dealt with the cow, and a towing company took care of the Jeep.
The car rental company demanded that my friends pay for the damage to the Jeep, of course. And all my friends had to do to cover the damage charges was to make a call to their credit card company. The rental coverage provided by the credit card company covered everything.
So, the moral of the story is before you agree to pay “$xx per day”, call you insurance company and/or credit card company and ask if you are already covered for excess damage through your policy or the terms of your credit card agreement (make sure you let them know if you are traveling internationally, as your coverage might be different). By doing this you will still have your peace of mind, but it will not cost you anything extra.
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