Poll: Rental Car Insurance

Last Monday, the Home Warrior was in a minor accident. He was in the left hand lane, and the guy next to him tried to turn left from the center lane. No one was hurt, and the other guy admitted fault and was given a ticket. The interesting thing to me is that the guy was in from out of town for a few weeks and driving a rental car. He had insurance on the rental car, but had gotten rid of it a couple days earlier. Of course, his regular insurance covered our truck, but it made me wonder. Do business travelers get insurance when they rent cars?

The first day of my current job, I flew out to California and rented a car for the first time. When the Budget clerk asked if I wanted insurance, I had no idea what to answer. No guidance had been given by my new boss, but I’m a fairly cautious person by nature, so I went ahead and got it. Turns out my company has some sort of group business travel policy, so it was not covered by my company, and I had to pay out of pocket. Lame. So now of course I don’t get the rental company’s coverage.

Readers, what do you do?

Do you get insurance for rental cars?

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  1. I’ve got primary coverage through two of my cards and when renting for business my company has group ins.

  2. AMEX Platinum! Never leave home without it….

    the $450 fee pays for itself in lounge access, upgrades, rental car insurance, and a wealth of other benefits

  3. Our corporate rates with rental agencies include full coverage when on business and my CC covers it for personal use

  4. From what I can tell, the majority of corporate travel policies have business travel insurance that covers employees’ rentals for business purposes. Has been the case for all of my jobs where I’ve rented cars.

  5. @ Noah
    Fwiw any AMEX gets you basic and premium rental car insurance…even the basic Blue Amex with $0 yearly fee.

  6. So when I tried to expense my rental insurance, it was rejected by finance, and it turns out that there is a group insurance, but no one knew it existed. So thereafter, I stopped taking out insurance. One day I thought – what if something happens? Won’t the cops want to see an insurance card? So I went back to the company, and their response was, first you have to submit your own insurance and pay for it out of your pocket, and then we reimburse you. THis was unacceptable for me, especially since I was just about to get rid of my personal car and not have any personal insurance. Finally, they gave me a group insurance card, that i carry with me everywhere. Lesson: dont assume that your company has group insurance – make sure you ask for proof, and carry all the details with you.

  7. I decline the ‘extra cost’ insurance. After **very careful**checking, my usual credit card and/or my normal auto insurance provide more than enough coverage. That may NOT be true for all renters and one should know the details. In my situation, the existing coverage is plenty. THe take-home is to understand your coverage and benefits. Not all cards or personal policies are the same.

  8. Continental OnePass CC sort of provides coverage. I thought it covered everything but Read the fine print to find out it only covers the rental car, not other car/property nor personal injury, lame.

  9. Work covers work rentals. Home car insurance covers rentals for personal reasons. No reason to ever buy rental insurance from the rental companies!

  10. Amex cards might provide coverage but it’s secondary. Amex offers primary for $19.95 or $24.95 (depends on the state) per rental but you need to sign up in advance. Once you signup for their primary insurance, when you rent a car & pay with your Amex, primary insurance kicks in and a $19.95 or $24.95 charge hits your card. I use my Continental cc for primary.

  11. Business: Company policy covers it. (Also, my AmEx card will cover.)

    Personal: My normal car insurance extends to rentals, plus the credit card covers.

  12. I use my own insurance and CC. It feels like a risk each time because the rental company always makes me feel so guilty.

  13. There is a big difference between primary and secondary coverage.

    If the coverage is primary, then you call the credit company and they act as your insurance company. Even if it was your mistake, your own personal insurance won’t be involved unless you need its possibly higher caps.

    If it is secondary, your personal policy gets involved as if you were driving your own car and then the credit card steps in for any remainder. (I had an accident where the rental company wanted me to pay rental fees for the repair days; Amex dealt with that).

    Primary or secondary, you should always know what’s covered and what’s not. The credit card might just cover comprehensive (someone breaks in and steals the radio) or steals the car itself and/or collision, but not liability or cover it at very low limits. The secondary might cover your deductible, or it might not.

    I have Amex Plat which gives secondary coverage and I also pay for an additional primary coverage from Amex (separate $25 fee per rental).

    My personal risk assessment says that I’m more likely be in an accident driving an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads than driving at home, and I don’t want my personal insurance rates impacted by that risk. Given that I can expense the $25 (but not the Amex Plat fee) that’s what I do, but everyone needs to do their own assessment.

    The only wrong answer is to assume you’ll have coverage only to find out later that what you were paying for had gaps.

    One more thing: company policies often exclude passengers in the car who are not also company employees. For some people, that might be a good thing to know.

    Steve (retired lawyer, but this isn’t legal advice)

  14. It is always a good idea to check with your insurer or your policy, as well as the coverage from your credit cards

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