Rental Car Road Trip? Consider Buying This Coverage

If you're planning to take a road trip by rental car, you might want to know about a significant difference in coverage between rental car insurance and what is offered by your personal auto policy.

When considering whether to take the insurance coverage offered by rental car companies, the consensus among your friends may be that it isn’t worth it. After all, they might say, your own insurance company has you covered. But what many individuals fail to realize is that your own insurance policy doesn’t cover all potential causes.

Consider the following scenario. You rent a car for a weekend trip to the beach. After a great day in the sun and surf, you hop into your rental, throw it in reverse, and promptly destroy the rear bumper by smashing into a guardrail. This was obviously your fault, and the rental car company will be seeking you to pay for the following:

  • The cost to fix or replace the bumper
  • The revenue lost while the car is in the shop

If you have collision coverage on your personal automobile policy, your insurer may pay for the bumper repair after you pay the deductible. However, carefully review your policy since not all insurers will pay for damage you caused to a rental vehicle.

What is certainly not covered by a personal automobile policy is the lost revenue by the rental car company while the vehicle is being repaired. Depending on how significant the damage, the availability of parts, and accessibility to a reputable repair shop, it could take a day to a couple of weeks before the vehicle is back in service.

With rental car prices soaring, the lost revenue can easily reach into the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. If you had purchased the collision damage waiver, you would simply drop the car off with its keys and walk away. So, the next time you rent a car, read your own policy language carefully and decide for yourself if the extra cost for coverage is worth the risk.

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