Insurance for Rental Cars

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Insurance on 1-month rental will cost as much as the rental itself!

June 2016

Hello: My family is going away for about a month this summer and are going to rent a car. The issue is that while I can find a good rate for a rental, the cost of the insurance is equal to the rate! When I decline the insurance option because I have insurance and/or my credit card claims they will pay for a repair if there is one, the car rental company insists that I will still be charged for each day the car cannot be rented while it is being fixed, and one company said they could charge as much as they wanted per day. I really don't want to get the insurance because of how much more the cost would be, and am wondering if what the car rental claims is true or a sales pitch? Has anyone had this experience and been able to use their insurance or credit card to cover everything-or the rental agency doesn't actually charge for loss of use? I've gone through the major chains, and they all say the same thing. Are there car rental companies or other options that I should be looking at? I know insurance is always a gamble, but the extra cost is prohibitive! Any advice on what to do, or other options I haven't thought of would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

This sounds like total BS in the part of the rental company. I rented a car with enterprise for 2 weeks last year and I also declined the insurance. There was a minor push to purchase it, but no hard sell. I ended up getting in a little fender bender, and after my own insurance company declined to cover it (grrrrr), the Visa card stepped in and paid for the whole thing. The repair charge was inflated compared to taking it to your own mechanic, but not nearly as big as I thought it would be. I'm sure it didn't include any charge for time in the shop, or whatever they are trying to tell you. The paperwork and hassle was not fun, but I've seen worse. Drive happy!

Hi, this question recently came up for me with the attached article in the New York Times, and also in discussing with my brother who travels and rents cars frequently. He told me he always pays for the insurance because he's known people who have run into real trouble with the rental car companies when there is damage when they depended on their own insurancd. The article echoes that and I think does a good job of explaining how complex it all is and how to assess what you are covered for in different situations. One thing I figured out is that I had been using my American Express card which had car rental insurance, but learned that it isn't primary coverage. I have decided that in the future, i will pay for the insurance even though it is expensive. Car renter too

Your credit card company covers it. I believe your regular car insurance does as well. In the multiple times we've rented a car we've never bought their insurance and they've never changed the rate based on that. They're playing you.

New York Times Travel Section recommended the website as a broker/dealer for rental cars. I used it to book a car in the Los Angeles area last month. Auto Slash guarantees the lowest price, which turned out to be true. I checked my deal by confirming ahead with both Auto Slash and Economy Rental, and again at the counter. You do not have to pay ahead, or even pay a deposit, so you are not out-of-pocket if you cancel. You mentioned that the rental companies you spoke with tried to push or scare you into purchasing the additional collision damage waiver, although your credit card company covers it, as did mine. I did not buy it. I trusted my card company, but you could check with them, and also with AutoSlash about the threats that the companies are making about loss of use fees. Doesn't sound right to me. Lynn S

I have had the experience of renting a car in Oregon that was damaged by the wind--an act of G0D. I had declined the extra insurance coverage opting to use my own auto insurance in CA which covered the damage to the rental car in full under my comprehensive coverage. The cost that was not covered was the loss of use per day Budget claimed they would suffer while the Prius was in the shop. Some states allow this charge. My insurance suggested I request Budget to prove to me they had no Prius rentals available within a 20 mile radius of the Portland airport on the exact days the car was in the shop. Budget dropped the claim. They had more than enough cars in inventory to provide for all rental requests during the repair period and could not prove otherwise. Such a challenge might not hold up in a smaller town but State farm knew a demand for proof would likely resolve the bogus claim--and it did. windy

I'm surprised you're getting so much pressure from the rental car company to buy their insurance. I've never had a problem saying 'no' to the insurance option. And, by the way, we've had accidents twice with rental cars and never had a problem there either. (Both were minor and the cars were still driveable though). If your insurance company tells you that your auto coverage will apply to your rental, I wouldn't worry about it and I'd stand firm on declining the extra coverage. Allstate customer