Many rental car companies offer their own car insurance for customers who rent their cars. If you already have your own car insurance policy, you may automatically refuse getting any additional insurance from the rental car company. However, there are several good reasons to still consider purchasing, or not purchasing, the additional insurance.
To begin with, your insurance policy may not provide both collision and comprehensive coverage. This is going to be a problem if you are driving and someone hits your rental car through no fault of your own. If the other driver has no insurance, you may be forced to pay for some or all of the damages.
You can make sure that your insurance policy will cover your rental car by first calling your agent. Be sure to explain how long you plan to rent the vehicle and where you will be traveling. Ask if your insurance policy covers not only rental car damage but also any personal property loss. Finally, find out if your insurance company covers “loss of use” charges by rental car companies, which are rental fees charged to you if the rental car is being repaired and therefore cannot be rented out.
If you charge the cost of your car rental to your credit card, you should also consider calling your credit card company. The reason is because your credit card company may actually provide a rental car loss/damage waiver as a benefit to its cardholders. Such a waiver usually makes buying additional auto insurance unnecessary.
If you are considering driving out of the country or in another country, be advised that many nations will not accept your own private auto insurance as valid. Mexico, for example, requires that all drivers have Mexican auto insurance. Drivers who are found to be without Mexican auto insurance can actually be detained and/or jailed until they compensate the other party for damages. Furthermore, your own car insurance company may not cover you if you drive out of the country.
Even if your insurance policy covers rental cars, you may still wish to purchase rental car insurance for personal effects such as your laptop, digital camera, etc. While your homeowner’s or car insurance policy may already cover personal property loss, there is probably a high deductible that must be reached before coverage will activate. In many cases, such a high deductible will not be reached if something is stolen out of your car. However, rental car insurance typically does not assign a deductible for personal effects. For a few extra dollars a day, obtaining rental car insurance with personal effects coverage can be worth it.