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Rental Car Insurance: What You Need To Know Before You Rent

Updated: Oct 3, 2018

Planning a vacation often involves a lot of research. You’ll likely look into things like flights, hotels, and different activities to enjoy, and sometimes, you’ll have to decide if you want to reserve a rental car. Renting a car is a great way to stay mobile and explore while you’re on vacation, but what happens if you get into an accident while driving a rental vehicle?

The decision to purchase rental car insurance is a big one that shouldn’t be made lightly. A rental insurance policy can be expensive, but so can the bills resulting from an accident in a rental car if you’re underinsured. Lucky for you, Cushman Insurance Group’s team of insurance professionals are here to guide you through the rental car process and answer any of your rental car insurance questions.

If you have a personal car insurance policy, you may already have a good amount of coverage on your rental car. With many insurance providers, the coverage and deductible from your personal auto insurance policy will extend to cover a rental car, just as they would for your own car. It’s always a good idea to check with your independent agent though, as some insurance providers and policies may differ in the coverage they allow for rental cars. If your auto policy includes Collision and Comprehensive, or coverage for damages from accidents or incidents like fire or theft, these coverages will also apply to your rental car. If you do end up choosing to purchase physical damage protection from the rental car company however, your Collision and Comprehensive Coverage will act as an extra layer of protection, just in case the cost of any unexpected damage exceeds the rental car company’s protection plan.

If you don't have Comprehensive and Collision Coverage on your personal car insurance policy, or if you only have the state required minimum limits, it may be wise to invest in rental car insurance through the rental car agency. If you're not sure about the level of coverage you have, just ask your independent agent! They can help you determine how much coverage you have, and whether or not you should purchase additional rental car coverage.

If you’re planning to rent a car for a longer period of time, for example over a month, then please contact your independent insurance agent before you rent. Depending on the specifics of your policy, your personal MA auto insurance may not provide coverage for long-term rentals.

If you don’t own a car and thus don’t have a car insurance policy, we strongly advise that you consider purchasing a rental car insurance package through your rental car company to ensure that you are protected while on the road. Do your research ahead of time to figure out the specifics of the policies they offer, and follow up with your independent insurance agent if you have any questions.

If you’re using a credit card to pay for your rental car, check to see if your credit card company offers any rental car protection. Depending on your provider, you may have additional coverage beyond your car insurance policy for things like collision damage and theft protection. Many credit cards will also cover things like your deductible, towing charges and some other fees, but policies do vary from company to company so it’s always a good idea to check this first before renting a car.

If you’re traveling internationally, you definitely need to purchase rental car insurance because your MA personal auto policy is only valid in the US. Make sure to look at the limits provided by foreign rental car companies, as minimum requirements may be lower than what you’re looking for. For a good idea of how much coverage your plan should include, aim to buy a package that is somewhat equivalent to your own personal policy back home. If you have a Personal Umbrella Policy, this will follow you outside of the country and will kick in as excess coverage over the rental car insurance policy you buy as well.

Before you sign anything, make sure to read the contract carefully! If you sign and then later cause significant damage to the car, you might have already agreed to buying an entirely new car, which will be extremely expensive if the car is new or a top of the line model. Don’t be afraid to take your time going through the contract, and always know that you can reach out to your trusted insurance agent with any questions or concerns.

We know planning a vacation can be stressful, and we want to help! If you have any other questions about rental car insurance, please don’t hesitate to ask — our trusted team of dedicated agents at Cushman Insurance Group are always available to talk and to help you make the right choice, because we’re here to make your life easier.

Call a Cushman Insurance Group agent today at 800-356-5151 or visit us online:


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