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What To Consider When Renting A Car

To get rental insurance, or not to get rental insurance? That is the question.

Whether you're traveling on a business trip or heading to your yacht vacation like Beyonce, many approach the rental car desk uncertain whether or not to invest in rental car insurance. But one thing is for sure: You don't want to be left without any coverage after an accident.

For those who already own a car at home, knowing if your current auto insurance applies to your rental car can mean the difference between shelling out for an unnecessary expense or paying out of pocket after not filing a claim.

When you rent a car, the first action should be to check with your regular car insurer to see if your policy covers rentals. Your regular coverage might extend to a rental car if you're using it for personal reasons rather than business or commercial uses. Check your credit card benefits as well, since some offer additional coverage when you use them to pay for a rental car.

Rental insurance

A rental company may offer you insurance for a certain price per day, and many Americans choose to forego this cost, believing it's a scam or unnecessary. However, if you have no other type of safety net that choice could be foolish. There are typically four types of rental insurance to invest in:

  • Loss-damage waiver

  • This type of insurance waives financial liability from you if the car becomes damaged or stolen while you're renting. It will also cover the expenses if you have to get towed or the vehicle needs to be fixed in a shop.

  • Liability coverage

  • If someone sues you over damage or injury from an accident with the rental car, liability coverage has your back so you aren't responsible for the costs.

  • Personal accident insurance

  • If you become injured and need medical attention from the result of a car accident, personal accident insurance will cover medical expenses.

  • Personal effects coverage

  • Let's say the kids from "The Bling Ring" break into your rental car and steal that $1,500 purse you left on the seat (don't leave your $1,500 purse on the seat). Personal effects coverage will insure the items you keep in a rental car if they are stolen or damaged.

    Depending on your other policies for health insurance, renters or homeowners insurance, you may already be covered for hospital costs, personal items and liability conditions. Don't waste money on extra rental insurance if you're already set, but do get the coverage to protect yourself in the case of an accident.

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