Car rental insurance in US for UK resident
August 16, 2006 6:10 AM   Subscribe

UK resident requires car insurance for 4 days to hire car in Arizona & drive into New Mexico & back. Rather than pay over-the-odds for insurance (CDW & SLI) with the car hire company I'm looking at getting my own insurance in advance –– probably in the UK. Anyone have any experience?

I will be checking with my credit card co. to see what coverage they offer but I don't think UK CC co.s offer the same sort of car rental insurance deals as US ones do. [There have been a few similar enquiries on AskFi previously but not one regarding a foreign resident bringing their own insurance.]
posted by i_cola to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why? Just rent with a company that provides it all inclusive and cheaply. You're going to pay over the odds doing it the other way around (at least, it worked out that way when I researched it, having the same idea as you).

I rented a car from US Rent a Car (really a UK agency that gets good deals with the main US chains) and chose the cheapest vehicle for 10 days in Los Angeles. It came to about £200. I arrived, and Budget upgraded me to a convertible for free! It totally made the holiday.

I just tried Oct 1 - 5 from Phoenix International Airport and it gives prices as low as £104. You'd pay more than that for insurance organizing it remotely. That includes SLI and LDW!
posted by wackybrit at 6:46 AM on August 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

(The important part is to make sure you have it all signed up before you go. Insurance is only expensive if you turn up without everything prepared and they up-sell you at the counter. Go with a decent agency and it's all sorted in advance for cheap.)
posted by wackybrit at 6:47 AM on August 16, 2006

If you shop around, an Economy car can be rented for 4 days in Arizona for as little as 144$, including full CDW and SLI (the best price currently seems to be with Alamo via this link - the first page is in German, the rest not, and the offer is neither limited to Germans nor United Airlines customers for that matter). How much cheaper could you get a rental car in the US (without insurance) and how much would UK-based insurance add to that cost? And would it be worth the hassle?

So what I'm saying is, you'll probably have trouble finding (m)any people who have done what you ask, since it is kinda pointless given how cheap it is for Europeans to rent a car in the US and get full insurance coverage.

On preview: what wackybrit said.
posted by ckemp at 6:48 AM on August 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Do you own a car at home? I don't know if this works in the UK, but here in Canada I can get a rider on my own car insurance to cover rental cars for an annual fee that's about as much as one day's insurance from the rental company.

To the others: In my experience, the coverage from the car rental company is always an invariable fixed amount. So whatever deals you might find, you can subtract that $X per day if you don't need the insurance.
posted by winston at 9:36 AM on August 16, 2006

Many credit cards also have built-in insurance coverage for renting a car, perhaps one of yours does and you are not aware of it.
posted by maxpower at 11:01 AM on August 16, 2006

It will be cheaper to pay for CDI/SLI when you hire the car. Simple as that. There's no upside to finding separate insurance cover, because it's far less efficient (in terms of actuarial number crunching and other trans-atlantic whatnot) than the deals offered as part of the rental.
posted by holgate at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2006

Post trip update:
ckemp's link gave me a rate of $144 which at the time of pickup cost GBP 73 and I got a free tank of gas (worth USD 40 @ USD2.49 per gal when I filled up in Albuquerque, NM). I got a discount rate on an upgrade (due to the United Airlines promotion) to a mid-size car with cruise control when I picked up and when I got down to the parking lot I was given a free upgrade on that!

It might have been worth going down to the lot with just the original booking (a compact) and seeing if there were any upgrades available. From previous experience, upgrades are pretty common so it could be worth going for the cheapest booking & seeing what's available when you arrive. You can always pay for an upgrade if you don't get one automatically although there is the outside chance that you can't as everything else is booked -- I'd guess Fridays or Monday mornings could be peak times.

wackybrit's link gave a decent price but I saved GBP40 using ckemp's. Thanks to all involved (apart from the guy who jumped a stop sign a few hundred yards from the drop-off point...luckily I avoided having to test the insurance.)
posted by i_cola at 4:41 AM on September 7, 2006

« Older Audio (Video) Normalizer?   |   How much trouble can I get into for lying on a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.