I Wanna Be Protected!
September 2, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Can one buy a personal auto liability policy for rental cars that replaces or supplements LDW or liability supplement coverage offered by the rental agency?

I travel constantly, and rent cars 20+ times per year as a result. However, I live in New York City and do not own a car, and hence possess no personal auto policy. Prior to moving here, I owned cars and trucks for 15 years, and have an extensive and good driving record across multiple states. I am, of course, licensed to drive in New York.

My credit card (Visa) covers the collision damage liability for the rental car itself as primary insurance in this situation, so I typically decline the CDW. In any case, it wouldn't break me to pay cash to replace the economy or compact cars I usually rent. So to be clear, this is not a question about coverage for damage to the rental vehicle itself. As far as I know, credit cards do not offer liability coverage at all (and many people are misinformed about this, in my experience, including some rental agents).

In some states in which I rent, the rental agency claims not to carry any liability insurance (in Indiana, Alamo and National have told me they are exempt from state minimums and that, in essence, a renter is required to either possess an auto liability policy or buy their liability supplement). In other cases, even where there is some liability coverage (ie, for damage done to other people and property in a hypothetical accident in which I was at fault), it's pathetically low given the risks one takes by pulling out of the airport parking area. So I usually buy whatever additional liability coverage is offered by the agency (still not great -- usually a 100K-200K overall limit). Tends to run 12-15 bucks per rental day. Usually you have to persist in asking for the liability coverage alone, and not as part of a package with the CDW and veterinary coverage for the family pet and every other little ripoff option.

I would like to buy my own policy that would simply cover me in any rental car in the US to the tune of half a million to a million bucks. Does such a policy exist? I've heard about general personal liability policies, but that seems like overkill to me.

I am having a devil of a time searching for this on the net because any combination of keywords pulls up endless bitching about the CDW/LDW policies of the various rental agencies.

Even when I travel on business and supp. insurance is covered by my employer, I'd love to have a personal policy for increased protection. Like I said, it's pretty easy to imagine doing 100K worth of hurt backing into someone's outside wall, for crying out loud.

Seems like an obvious product for business travelers, no?
posted by fourcheesemac to Work & Money (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have this in Massachusetts. Most companies don't offer it here because of the weird changes in insurance laws recently, but what you are looking for is a "Non Owned Auto" policy. In Virginia, it would have cots about $140 a year, in MA, it costs about $300/yr for about $300k of liability. Beyond that, I'd buy a Personal Liability Policy.

Geico, Progressive, Nationwide and Allstate all offer these policies in some staes, but I don't know about new york.
posted by bensherman at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks -- that term was all I needed to know!
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:55 PM on September 2, 2009

Personal liability coverage is sometimes also called an "umbrella policy". It kicks in after other forms of insurance are exceeded or exhausted. If you already have a relationship with an insurance company, such as renter's or homeowner's insurance, ask them about umbrella coverage. A couple million bucks worth shouldn't be more than about $300.00/year.
posted by dinger at 6:57 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

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