What insurance coverage should I buy to supplement Zipcar's coverage?
October 17, 2011 10:54 AM   Subscribe

My car was recently totaled. I'm switching to Zipcar, but I've read that Zipcar's insurance isn't enough (e.g., here and here). Which parts of my current insurance policy should I keep?

I'm currently covered for:

* Bodily Injury Liability
* Property Damage Liability
* Personal Injury Protection
* Medical Payments
* Uninsured Motorist
* Underinsured Motorist
* Comprehensive
* Collision
posted by morninj to Work & Money (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What you might want to look into isn't more auto coverage, instead a personal umbrella policy like this (we use Geico but this isn't meant to be an endorsement).
posted by bitdamaged at 11:06 AM on October 17, 2011

How much coverage do you have now? Zipcar has $300,000 in third-party liability insurance. Does your current policy cover more?
posted by grouse at 11:09 AM on October 17, 2011

You probably want what is called nonowner's car insurance.
posted by oddovid at 11:16 AM on October 17, 2011

If you do not own a car, you cannot have a traditional auto policy. Auto policies insure vehicles, not drivers, and though there is some sense in which your policy follows you if you drive someone else's car, it is ultimately predicated on a car that you own. There are policies out there for people that don't own cars, but you'll need to talk to your agent* about getting one. You can't simply keep the policy that you have.

Fortunately, this stuff is pretty cheap. I clearly can't offer you a quote, but something in the range of 50% of what you're paying now is entirely possible.

A word about umbrella/excess policies: Many of them essentially require you to have an "underlying," primary policy before there is coverage available, either by imposing a $1 million deductible or simply excluding coverage entirely for losses for which there is no underlying coverage. Others offer so-called "drop down" coverage to pick up losses where there isn't underlying coverage, but drop down is frequently limited to rather unusual types of coverage, and auto BI/PD isn't unusual. So if you do get an umbrella/excess policy, make sure it does what you want it to do, even if that means you have to pay extra. Paying less for coverage does you no good if it doesn't actually provide the benefits you need.

*And I do recommend an agent here rather than simply going online. We're talking about a little-used policy type here, so it's going to be important that a live human being knows what you want. A lot of websites may not even sell this product.
posted by valkyryn at 11:59 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

My non-owner's policy is liability only, not comprehensive. I was told that comprehensive coverage does not exist for non-owners, but that might just be the case for USAA.

I found this out the hard way after having an accident in a rental (hit some roadkill, no fault all around). My automatic coverage through my credit card ended up covering the entire ordeal.
posted by politikitty at 3:12 PM on October 17, 2011

It's a pain to get this. I looked into it for Zipcar and car rentals. When I finally got someone to give me a quote, it was really expensive and only covered the state minimum for liability (which is what Zipcars and NY rental cars come with anyway). If it helps, I got the quote from Geico. Thanks for asking though, I'll be thrilled if someone chimes in with a better option.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:30 PM on October 17, 2011

Ms. Vegetable works for a major auto insurance company:
Valkyryn is correct.
Re: politikitty's comment- Non owner policies do not usually offer collision or comprehensive coverages, just liability. Really what you want to cover is the liability anyway; at most you'd be out the full value of the zipcar for coll/comp, but you could be held liable for somebody else's very severe and Very Expensive injuries.
The non owner policies may, as salamandrous noted, only give you minimum coverage, but zipcar already gives that to you.
You do want the umbrella/excess policy, and you do want an agent. I would keep BI, PD, and UM/UIM, which protects you if you're hurt and the other driver is at fault and he/she can't pay.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:44 PM on October 17, 2011

Might be not at all related, but can you use a credit card to rent the zipcar? A lot of credit cards cover rentals...
posted by getawaysticks at 7:20 AM on October 18, 2011

A lot of credit cards cover rentals...

Usually for collision/loss of the vehicle only.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:29 PM on October 18, 2011

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