Make us your home page
Instagram

Everything you need to know about rental car insurance

Are you covered by insurance? Too many have no idea, and it's in that cone of uncertainty that the rental car companies are able to pounce and profit. Peace of mind doesn't come cheap. Think hundreds of dollars added to your weekly rental costs. We're here to help.

Do you own a car? Yes? Then you probably have an insurance policy. Before you leave home, examine your policy documents or call your insurance provider and ask. Questions like: Am I covered for damage, theft and loss of use? Liability for injury to others (personal and property) while in the rental car? Personal effects if stolen or damaged? What deductibles will I face if I find myself in any trouble related to the above? You should know the answers to all of these questions.

Coverage through your credit card? Probably not. Too many people think that their auto insurance policy plus their credit card coverage benefits equals all set. Maybe you are, maybe you're not. Have you read the documents? Too many renters learn the hard way that what most cards provide is "secondary" coverage, meant only to bulk up your auto insurance policy, paying out after that has been exhausted. Examine each card document carefully. Note that credit cards tend to mostly offer collision, damage and theft coverage, if they offer anything at all. Personal liability (hitting a pedestrian, crashing into a store front, or injuring drivers in another car) and personal effects are generally your problem.

So you've got nothing. If you're not protected, don't just wing it. That can lead to all kinds of trouble, such as you being stuck with a bill for thousands of dollars. Besides upgrading your credit card to something more useful and bulking up on your auto insurance, you can also sign up for primary coverage with a third party to cover damage to the car (but not personal liability coverage).

But what about liability? As long as any accidents involve just you and, say, a lamppost, you're now protected. Bump into a billionaire in a supermarket parking lot, however, and you may not be adequately protected liability-wise. Many drivers lack the proper liability protection, often assuming that they're safe, hiding behind their homeowners or renters policies. If you're a high net-worth individual, you probably have an umbrella liability policy, which should be enough, but check with your agent. For those without coverage, the agent will be happy to sell you Supplemental Liability Protection, reasonably priced at about $10 per day. Then again, liability protection isn't something you should be sorting out on the fly; this is a matter for your insurance broker.

Everything you need to know about rental car insurance 08/21/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 10:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Appointments at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Straz Center highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Charities

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 16. Selected by the Y's CEO Search Committee following a five-month search, Mitchell will succeed Tom Looby, who is retiring. Looby has served the Y Movement for 37 years, the past 10 …

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell as its new Chief Executive Officer. [Handout photo]
  2. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  3. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  4. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  5. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]