Rental Car Insurance and Diminished Value Claims
July 2, 2008 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Rental Car Insurance - "Diminished Value" - Say you decline their insurance, and there's an accident. How commonly do car rental companies try to get around your personal car insurance and your credit card car insurance with a "diminished value" claim, or other sneaky end-runs?
posted by coffeefilter to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I live in Minnesota and wrecked a rental car in Atlanta last year. My insurance is State Farm, and I contacted both them and the rental company ASAP (Alamo- I declined their coverage), and everything was covered and handled by State Farm except a $50 "administration fee" which couldn't be covered by insurance or some BS like that.
MN also differs from other states in that state law dictates out-of-state rental car accidents are covered under liability with zero deductible. Don't ask me why- I was expecting a huge bill for my F'up, but it worked out that way and I wasn't going to ask any more questions.
posted by jmd82 at 9:51 AM on July 2, 2008

Also Anecdotal: I know someone that had this problem just last year. She was insured by Geico, and they told her she absolutely did not need to get extra insurance for the rental, that she was fully covered. She declined the rental insurance, and ended up totaling the car when they hit a deer on vacation. Claiming "diminished value", Geico refused to pay, despite their earlier promises. She had to get a lawyer involved and fight with Geico for months before they finally agreed to pay only a portion of the costs.
posted by geeky at 11:08 AM on July 2, 2008

AmEx explictly tells you to decline the additional coverage, so I assume their built-in insurance is at least as good.
posted by meta_eli at 2:15 PM on July 2, 2008

meta_eli: The "regular" AmEx insurance is like most credit card insurance. Secondary. Since I don't have full coverage insurance on any of my cars, it would be the only insurance I have on a rental, aside from liability coverage to pay any damages I caused.

AmEx sells a service that will charge you an extra $20 or so any time you rent a car that is primary insurance and has higher limits than the free insurance.

And just because someone mentioned Geico, they are shit. Anyone who uses them is looking to get screwed. They're worse than the lowballers at Nationwide. Not only do they go to excessive lengths to avoid paying claims, they use your money to buy radar and laser guns for the police in the hopes that you'll get a ticket and they can raise your rates.
posted by wierdo at 3:32 PM on July 2, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the war stories. So it really can happen.

-More reasons to move to Minnesota!
-I left Geico years ago.
-I'll have to check into Amex.
-My credit union offers a credit card that acts as Primary Insurance on rental cars, for no charge (I don't know if it covers Absolutely Everything, but the fact that's it's primary rather than secondary is interesting.)
posted by coffeefilter at 3:00 PM on July 3, 2008

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