should i opt for auto insurance when renting a car?
January 26, 2006 7:05 PM   Subscribe

i will be renting a car while on vacation in arizona next week. should i opt for the auto insurance? i currently own a car and have both liability and collision insurance. i live in massachusetts, if that makes a difference.
posted by brandz to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I think the information found here could be very helpful.

Short answer: probably not. Most car rental insurance add-ons are complete rip-offs. Especially if you already have insurance on a car which insures you as a driver, and you use a credit card that offers some kind of "gap coverage."
posted by visual mechanic at 7:08 PM on January 26, 2006

You should call your agent and ask specifically. That's what you pay the big bucks for. I know that my Canadian State Farm (I know, that's funny for a nation without states) would cover it, but my former State farm policy in Wisconsin would not have.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:24 PM on January 26, 2006

What gesamtkr... gesamtkunrs... what he said. A query to your insurace company will tell you exactly what to do.
posted by Dunwitty at 12:21 AM on January 27, 2006

I think the generic answer is that if you have personal auto insurance and are paying with a credit card, you almost certainly have collision coverage on the rental car, so that will just be a rip-off. The liability is another thing, and at $10/day for $500k of coverage, it might make sense. I think if you rent cars a lot, it's recommended that you get an umbrella personal liability policy -- cheaper for a higher limit. But yeah, calling your auto insurer is probably smart.
posted by MarkAnd at 5:53 AM on January 27, 2006

I can tell you this: my car was hit by a rental car driven by someone who was not a registered driver and they had not taken the extra insurance, yet the rental company still paid for my damages.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:58 AM on January 27, 2006

If you pay for the rental with your personal VISA card, you're covered. I know my American Express card offers this coverage too.
posted by peppermint22 at 9:07 AM on January 27, 2006

Wow, that's pretty amazing that Visa now offers the CDW benefit on all cards. Used to be you had to have a gold card to get it!
posted by kindall at 9:31 AM on January 27, 2006

I rented a car with Amex last year and got into a fender-bender with a concrete post. Amex did cover the damage to the car. However, it could not cover the other charges that the rental company levied to recoup their losses -- fees for the time the car was out of service being repaired, for example ($250). So if the rental company's insurance would cover everything associated with an accident, it could save you some money, I suppose.
posted by xo at 10:39 AM on January 27, 2006

Recent, personal experience:
I rented a vehicle and did NOT purchase the insurance from the rental company. I used my own insurance. I was then involved in a 7-car pile-up. The girl driving the large passenger van that collided with us did not have an operators license and the van was not insured. It looks as though I might have to pay the $500 deductible from my insurance and might even have to pay for damamges to the rental car out of my own pocket.

/crossing my fingers, hoping either my insurance company gets the money from her or her family, or my insurance company pays for everything, including the deductible.
posted by UnclePlayground at 1:48 PM on January 27, 2006

My insurance company tells me that I am covered for everything in an accident with a rental car except for the possible charges that xo mentioned above: the "loss of service" costs to the company while the rental is being fixed. I suppose these costs could be substantial, but I usually go with just my own coverage. Rental company insurance can nearly double the cost, in my experience.
posted by Hobgoblin at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2006

Response by poster: great advice from one and all. thanks!
posted by brandz at 8:00 PM on January 27, 2006

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