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Old 01-23-2013, 08:11 PM   #1
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Should I buy EXTRA rental car insurance?

We are going to rent a car in AZ for about three weeks.

We have dandy full coverage on our own autos which will include any rental car. The rental car office will want to sell us CDW/LDW for extra $$$.

I have asked our auto insurance agent about this and he replied that it WAS a good idea as there is no deductible for me to pay if there is an accident. Plus I do not report an accident to him and it does not show up on my policy. It shows up on rental car insurance carrier.

Plus if there is an accident, I just walk away from the problem without coming up with up-front $$ and later going thru our insurance co. for a reimbursement claim.

There could be some fine print in the 400 pages of my credit card contract. Have not yet contacted them yet or read the fine print.

I have not rented a car in 40 years and that is why I am asking you, out there, who DO rent cars.........about the extra add-on insurance.


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Old 01-23-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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It is worth checking your credit card fine print or calling them. Most card companies do provide coverage if you use the card for payment that will cover your deductible. The extra coverage offered by the rental company should do away with the pay up front and then get reimbursed issue, but it is costly. Interesting article here: Should You Purchase Rental Car insurance? - US News and World Report

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Old 01-24-2013, 05:50 AM   #3
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If you have rental insurance from either your regular auto insurance or from your credit card company, make sure it also covers loss of use. In addition to you covering the cost of repairs, the rental company may want to charge you what they could have made renting the car while it is laid up for repairs. If it is in the shop for a week waiting for parts and another week for the repairs, you may have to pay 2 weeks rental fees in addition to the cost of the repairs.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:37 AM   #4
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I have asked our auto insurance agent about this and he replied that it WAS a good idea as there is no deductible for me to pay if there is an accident. Plus I do not report an accident to him and it does not show up on my policy.
What a load of c**p. Insurance companies typically check driving/accident records (at least spot check) at renewal time, or if one of their many monitoring systems flags an issue so, unless there was no accident report your chance of sneaking one by the insurance company is probably slim and none. Besides, if I read my auto policy correctly, policyholders are required to notify the insurance company if they are involved in an accident, whether they file a claim or not. Essentially what your agent is saying is pay for the insurance but be afraid to use it. The cost of rental car insurance could far exceeds whatever your deductible is in a short time.

I cannot speak for every contract or if this practice still holds, but years ago when I traveled a lot I rented three or four cars a week. Once I was in an accident that was not my fault, but totaled the rental car. The rental company immediately charged an amount equal to the damages on the credit card, in this case $20,000 or so, essentially maxing out the card. I would have been out of luck if that was the only card available to me. The hold lasted about one month, I believe, until it was lifted.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:30 AM   #5
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I have many years of experience in domestic and International travel which included renting cars at times.

The insurance we are talking about is collision ins because most, if not all rental cars must carry Liability insurance as required by local laws, to a degree. I say to degree because this may not cover a driver against specific liabilities that exceed the insurance coverage limits especially if driver negligence was proven or the vehicle was not used as specified in the contract.

In many places I hired a car and driver or took taxies as required and avoided the liability of driving myself.

Did this in India, Indonesia, Phillipines, Thailand, Egypt (Cairo) and many other places where driving is dangerous and getting into an accident is highly probable with unknown legal ramifications of being in an accident. I always took the best option for me.

But in lets say "civilized" places where drivers actually follow the rules of the road most of the rime, I have used my CC and regular Auto Policy. I always check with my CC company and my auto policy holder and get confirmation in writing of coverage in the country I am planning to drive. My CC company even covered me in South Africa, Botswana, Argentina and Chile. Just a comment re my RV insurance, there is a note in my policy that says my coverage does not extend to Mexico, need to contact them if I plan to go there,

Never had any problem in most European countries, but sometimes they do require a CC deposit to cover potential damage and the amount is either credited back or not realy run through. Often they have asked me to sign a blank credit card form for thier backup. I have always refused to do that, I insist on putting an amount in and have that amount indicated in the contract with an explnation what it is for. One time in the UK that amount was £10K on my CC until I returned the car and they lifted the lean, so to speak , when no damage was done. Good job I had $50K limit on that card. But if there is Damage you pay and get reimbursed, unless the rental car company goes to your CC company on your behalf. Never have damaged a rental vehicle.

I was scammed once in Australia by Dollar car agent in Melborne Int Airport and my CC company paid up even though I told them it was a scam.

Dollar offered the best rates but they were offsite. Took a taxi or shuttle, can't remember which, to thier lot and rented the car with the normal inspection report filled in.
But they had a drop-off at the airport for return. I returned to the airport about 0500 hrs and put the car in the Dollar spot and dropped the keys in thier slot.

No Dollar person was present at that time. I was leary of that and did a total inspection on the car and took pictures from all angles where it was parked with the Dollar sign in the background, that showed not obvious damage. Also had a picture of VIN and plate #s. (Have done this a number of times of times at other places without incident but like to have a person receiving the car if I can.)

Anyway after I returned home I noted an extra charge of about $3500 on my CC for Dollar Rent a car. I contacted them and they said it was for damage repair to the car.) I told them there was no damage to the car when I left it and I could prove that, I asked to see photos of the damage and the actual repair bill showing what was done. They did send me an estimate for repair from a company, No VIN of lic plate # on the estimate and neither myself or my business collegue in Melborne could find the company that provided the estimate as being a real repair place. But no photos, said they did not have any and would not produce the repair bill. My collegue went to Dollar in Melborne on my behalf and asked to see the car, and this was only 2 weeks after I left Australia, they said the car was out on rental again and refused to show any repair documentation or information.. My collegue took all the infomation to the local police and we never heard anymore about it.

I gave my CC company all this info, but the person I spoke with said it would reimburse me but did not reverse the payment to Dollar because ir might cost more than it was worth in a foreign country. Go figure, I got my money back but the scammer won this time. I suspect if I had paid for thier expensive insurance, there would not have been any "vehicle damage",

So in my case the CC company came through for me but the Scam goes on. I read of a recent similar case where the scammer was caught. Think it was in the Vancouver BC area.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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I travel quite a bit for work. American express tends to have better rental coverage than most other cards. I would start by contacting them if you have one. I have always declined the coverage and used my personal auto policy for rental coverage or the credit card coverage.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:40 PM   #7
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I had an Amex card but I found many places did not accept it so I finally got rid of it, Have not had one for about 10 years so perhaps things have changed

How many countries have you used it in? And have you ever encountered any problems.?
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Old 01-25-2013, 10:18 AM   #8
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DW and i have both traveled extensively for business for years and we both ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND that you have extra coverage for the rental car, be it from the rental company or other. The standard insurance provided by both you regular car insurance company and almost all CC companies is really short of what you will be charged if you have an accident. We buy a separate insurance coverage for all rental cars provided by American Express (not just what they normally provide). They automatically charge us $24.95 PER RENTAL, NOT PER DAY when we rent a car with our American Express (IT is taken by ALL major car rental companies. Then, if you have an accident you just notify them and walk away, they handle it all. We did this only after being assured that between our credit card and our regular car insurance that we were covered only to find after a truck backed into US at a gas station that we ended up spending spending months communicating with Dollar rent a car and our insurance companies and CC company and eventually paying over $500 out of pocket. All of this is our experience.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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My opinion is that you want a CC that offers primary coverage of the rental car itself.

AmEx has a deal some have mentioned, and Diner's Club used to have it (although that program has changed over the years, you might want to look into it).

Either way, those costs will be MUCH less than the rental company's coverage for 3 weeks.

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:19 PM   #10
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Thank you for all your replies, ESPECIALLY to those who mentioned American Express.

From reading their Premium Car Rental Protection plan vs. VISA coverage......theirs is much superior......at MUCH LESS cost. ($24.95 per rental contract. Not per day).

It offers primary coverage. AMEX lesser plan has no cost and comes with your card, but is secondary coverage. It looks like VISA will offer me either primary or secondary coverage.

I did not have an AMEX card........until 15 minutes ago, when I signed up and was approved, over the phone. When the card arrives, I will get the Premium car rental plan.

Now I can politely decline the rental car agent's request for their supplemental insurance and feel good about it.

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