Consumers across the nation who rent cars while on business trips or on summer vacation commonly face the same issue: whether or not to purchase rental car insurance. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, conducted a survey in 2007 that revealed about 42 percent of consumers are confused or have a rough idea about insurance coverage when renting a car.
Most consumers do not realize that they may already have limited coverage for their rental car through their existing insurance policies for their personal vehicles. If you have an insurance policy on your personal vehicle then you can call your insurance agent and find out if your policy covers rental cars. Insurance carriers vary in what their policies cover, so inquire about what your particular policy specifically covers. Many insurance carriers can add rental car insurance coverage to your existing policy if you so choose.
Additionally, many credit cards provide limited car rental insurance coverage when a car is rented through that particular credit card provider. Consumers can call the 1-800 number on the back of most major credit cards and inquire whether their credit card provides them with car rental insurance and what the insurance coverage is.
Typically, there are several types of coverage in the rental car insurance world: collision damage waiver; liability; personal effects coverage; and personal injury coverage. Collision damage waiver, or loss damage waiver, usually covers damage or theft and sometimes includes towing, storing, and loss-of-use charges after an accident. Liability coverage extends to any damage you cause to other persons or property in an automobile accident. Personal effects coverage provides protection and peace of mind in the event theft or damage occurs to any personal items located in a rental car. Finally, personal injury protection will cover medical expenses for you and any passengers in your rental car in the event of an automobile accident.
It’s very important for consumers to be knowledgeable when purchasing rental car insurance. Asking questions is the best way for a consumer to be absolutely certain they have the insurance protection they require while taking a trip in a rental car. Your insurance agent or a lawyer would be able to explain the nature of your existing insurance policies that cover your personal automobiles and whether those policies extend limited coverage for rental cars. Always ask about exceptions to your insurance policy. Insurance companies commonly write policies with specific exceptions that will not extend protection to a consumer. If you need more information on this subject, contact Andrew Brashier, a lawyer in our firm, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Andrew.Brashier@beasleyallen.com.
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