Did You Ever Wonder: Renting a Car


By Harvey Brown Special to The Pineapple Question: When I rent a car, do I need by buy the extra coverage offered by the rental car company? Answer: In most cases yes. This is a somewhat complicated issue but I’ll attempt to clarify why using my own insurance as an example. Let’s start by understanding that most rental car company contracts are not the same. As a matter of fact, rental contracts can vary by location even with the same company! When I rent a car, my car insurance (with some exceptions) treats the rental car like it is one of my cars, in other words my policy will provide physical damage coverage to the rental car less my deductible just as if it was my own, that’s because my auto insurance policy has “full coverage”, meaning I carry not only Liability Insurance (for damage I may cause to other people or their property) but also physical damage (Comprehensive & Collision) coverage for my cars. I also have a credit card which provides physical damage coverage for cars that I rent. Reading their literature I could infer I don’t need either the rental car company “insurance” or my own auto policy to pay for damage to my rental car. Between my own Auto Policy and my credit card you would think I’m all set and don’t have to buy any of the “insurance” the rental car company offers at the time of rental, right? Wrong! It turns out that renting a car can obligate you to some pretty serious financial penalties which are not covered by your auto policy or your credit card. Rental car companies also are not required to repair a damaged car in a timely manner. Why does this matter to you? Two reasons: 1. That rental car could sit in their lot for a month before repairs even commence but you’re still on vacation or on business and you still need a rental car. Meanwhile your rental car insurance typically only lasts 30 days! 2. Remember you will be charged daily for the lost rental income every day that car sits unrepaired and THAT is typically not covered by your auto policy or your credit card. As you can see, this adds up quickly! All of these potential problems can be avoided by buying the “Collision Damage Deductible Waiver” (could they make it sound any more complicated?) from the rental car company. This typically costs anywhere from $12 to $22 a day. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s more cost but you will be untouchable if something happens to your rental car. With this extra coverage you can pull up to the rental car location with a damaged car, toss them the keys, and get on the van to the airport to catch your plane home with almost no delay. No muss, no fuss! Doesn’t that sound like a good deal? Next Month: One of the greatest estate planning tools you can buy! The Harvey L. Brown Agency are experts in auto, home, business, life/health and represent over 40 companies. If you have questions or concerns about your insurance, call 561-276-0369 Monday-Friday 9-5pm.