Do You Need to Buy Extra Rental Car Insurance?

Many drivers paying too much

At times it may feel like the clerk at the rental car counter is trying to guilt you into paying for extra insurance, but maybe that is money you don't need to pay.

"I would say a vast majority of people who buy the insurance at the rental counter don't need to do it," State Farm Insurance agent Walt Waggener said.

Waggener says the insurance you are already paying on your personal car will most likely carry over to your rental car. The Encinitas based insurance agent says whatever you have on your car insurance policy at home is going to extend to the car that you rent when you are on vacation.

But that policy must include comprehensive and collision coverage to transfer over to a rental. And whatever coverage you have, for instance, a $500 deductible will also apply to the rental car.

Waggener says before you rent a car you should call your agent and find out if your coverage will carry over. Waggener also says you should call your credit card company because many cards also include rental coverage.

You need to call the credit card company to get the details. You must use the card in the rental transaction and you need to decline certain coverage.

With both personal car insurance and credit card, you need to check on restrictions. Some policies do not cover foreign rentals and may limit the time of coverage.

"We encourage customers to check their personal auto insurance and credit card coverage before picking up the vehicle." Alice Pereira with Avis/Budget car rental said via email. "Customers should know what their own personal auto policy covers — if there is a gap in the value of the car they own and the value of the car they are renting, they might want to purchase additional coverage in order to be fully covered."

Bottom line, you can save money by denying additional coverage on your rental but you need to get the facts before you leave on your trip.

"Insurance contracts are very different and it varies from company to company so it's really important you make the phone call before you make the assumption," Waggener said.

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