car vacation 1

There are a thousand details involved when planning the family vacation. Where to go, what to do, etc. Then you book the hotels, make the airline reservations, pick out the right size rental vehicle. Pack a suitcase (or two), close up your house, and head to the airport. You are finally away and ready for a relaxing vacation. You go to the rental car counter and discover you need to make one more planning decision: Should you purchase the optional insurance?

Most personal auto insurance policies also cover rental cars. That means you have the same coverage driving a rental that you do when operating your own vehicle. So your personal liability coverage is the same, as is your med-pay, uninsured motorist, etc. All coverages will transfer. Of course, that is the same for anything you may lack. If  you have homeowners or renter’s insurance, any personal items stolen from the vehicle will be covered up to the policy terms.

Of course, the rental car company is primarily (or only) interested in your comprehensive and collision. That’s what covers the vehicle you are driving. If you damage the vehicle, you are still responsible for the deductible. If you are renting an exotic vehicle, and RV, or some other non-traditional vehicle, you will probably be required to purchase the rental company’s own insurance regardless of your own policy. You may also be liable for any loss-of-use. One other caveat: Many insurance companies do not offer coverage in foreign countries.

Credit cards can offer rental car protection as well. There may be some exclusions, such as driving on unpaved roads, damage to rims or tires, or rental of full-size SUVs, trucks, etc. Some companies have a maximum days covered, and you will likely not be covered for loss-of-use, either.

The best way to relieve your anxiety (about the rental car insurance, anyway) is to talk with your insurance professional. Ask about your current auto and homeowners/renter’s policies and find out what coverage you do have. Have a great trip!