‘Tis the season for vacations and that means rental cars for many people flying to their destinations. But before you hop in that car, make sure you take steps to ensure that you’re covered if any problems arise. Don’t Breeze Through the Pre-Inspection You’ve just landed and you’re already tired from the flight and just want to get to your hotel, but before you drive that car off the rental lot, take a few minutes for your vehicle pre-inspection. You may not think that little paint scratch on the door is a big deal now, but that could come back to haunt you when your vacation is over. If the company you’re renting from does not offer the pre-inspection make sure you ask for it. Most credible car rental agencies will have you fill one out before they let you drive off the lot. Sure you’re anxious to get on with your day, but taking the extra time to look over your vehicle and noting any damage or defects now could save you a future headache. If you have the opportunity, consider taking photos of the vehicle before and after your rental contract. Having extra documentation could help if any issues come up. Rental Car Insurance – Do I need to buy it? The best time to make the decision about whether you will need extra rental car insurance is before you’re standing at the car rental counter. It’s not uncommon for rental car agencies to offer you the opportunity to purchase additional auto coverages, but do you need them?
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, you most likely do not need to purchase CDW from the rental car agency.
Additionally, your credit card company may include some collision and theft protection if the rental car is paid for with your card. This includes coverage for “loss of use,” which refers to the amount of money a rental car company can stand to lose while a car is being repaired. If your credit card doesn’t offer coverage for loss of use, you may want to consider purchasing CDW from the rental agency.
- Liability insurance provides excess liability coverage of up to $1 million for the time you rent a car. Rental companies are required by law to provide the minimum level of liability insurance required by your state. Generally, this does not offer enough protection in a serious accident. If you have adequate liability coverage on your car or an umbrella policy on your home/auto, you may consider forgoing this additional insurance.
If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged. It is also important to check that your coverage level is enough to cover the complete cost of the replacement value of the car you are renting – especially if you plan to rent a luxury vehicle or a substantially newer vehicle than yours. If you have questions about your current auto coverage and how it would apply to a rental vehicle, talk to your AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance agent! We can review your coverage limits to make sure you have the right level of coverage in place.