The Reality

There you are at the rental counter ready to start your vacation and your faced with the decision on whether to spend another couple hundred dollars to get the insurance. Enter stage left, the age old question… should you purchase the insurance that the rental car company offers you?  Here is your definitive, once and for all answer, the answer you’ve been waiting for…wait for it…maybe. I know, I know, not cool, but it’s reality.  It depends on a lot of factors, like what company are you insured with, what coverage do you have on your vehicle(s), are you renting in the U.S. or abroad, and what is the purpose of the rental?  These are just a few of the factors.

So unfortunately there is no one perfect answer to this.   But, here are 3 questions I ask the company I am insured with.


1. Are the full limits of my liability extended to rental vehicle?

In other words, if I cause damage to someone else and they sue me, will my existing insurance protect me in the rental car up to my full limits.

2. Is physical damage coverage extended to the rental vehicle at the same deductible that we carry on our policy?

In other words, if I return the rental car with a missing bumper and tire, will my policy pay for the rental car to be repaired minus my normal deductible?

3. In the event of and accident, will my policy address any loss of use claim that the rental car company would potentially file?

Here is one many people don’t think about but can get hit with a large bill after the fact.  The rental car that is damaged will be in the shop if it’s repairable, the rental company can’t rent it, so they are out revenue.

They come after you for that lost revenue, will your company pay for it?

( For these questions, I am assuming you are renting a car in the U.S. and have a auto valid insurance policy in force)
This doesn’t answer all the questions, but definitely helps point you in a direction.  If all of these are answered yes, you might be thinking “GREAT, I don’t have to purchase the coverage.” While that might be true, it can be to your advantage to purchase the coverage to avoid having a claim filed under your primary policy.  If you are renting a car for a week in an unfamiliar area, you are likely increasing your chance of having an accident, if you have an accident and have purchased the additional coverage, you can likely just turn the car in and let the rental company deal with it.
Just like in many circumstances there is no perfect answer, but knowing what questions to ask and having a good agent to help you get answers to these questions can prove invaluable.
BONUS TIP:  Many credit card companies offer some form a coverage extension for rental cars.  Before you purchase the additional coverage, be sure to check with your credit card company to see what, if any, coverage is available.
For help with this or any of your insurance needs, please email us,
DISCLAIMER: The information provide above is for general use only and meant to provide the consumer with questions to consider prior to purchasing additional coverage.  You should always consult with your agent or company to address your individual needs.