Do you need rental car insurance when you travel?
From your existing car insurance coverage to getting coverage through your credit card company, let’s explore the options available to you – a surefire way to prevent car rental companies from twisting you.
Will I be covered by my existing car insurance policy?
First things first: Will your existing car insurance policy cover your rental car? He can. Check your policy to see what coverage extends to your rental car before going to the counter. That way, you can confidently add or decline insurance on the rental car when it’s put in place by a pushy car rental agent. Keep in mind that rental cars may be covered by the car insurance policy for personal use only – this means that if you are using the rental car for business or commercial use, your insurance may not cover it.
Will my credit card company provide car rental coverage?
If you plan on using a credit card to pay your rent, you may be covered by your credit card company. Check with your credit card company to find out what additional car rental coverage is provided. All four major credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover) offer some form of car rental coverage.
To ensure that you are covered, you must pay the entire rental car bill to your credit card and decline any supplemental insurance offered by the rental company. This is critical – if you sign up for supplemental coverage, your credit card company will not cover you. Also, your credit card company will not cover your car rental in some popular destinations including: Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and Australia. Again, to avoid frustration and confusion, make sure you have all the answers about what’s covered and what’s not before you arrive at the car rental desk.
When should I opt for rental car insurance then?
Oh yes. There are a few situations where opting for rental car insurance makes sense:
You’re traveling on business: As mentioned earlier, if you’re using the rental car for business or business purposes, you’re likely not covered by your existing policy.
You do not have (or have minimal) car insurance: If:
a) you do not have car insurance,
b) you have very high deductibles, or
c) you do not have comprehensive and/or collision coverage,
you’ll probably want to think about at least opting for the rental company’s damage waiver. If you don’t have any car insurance, you will also need supplemental liability.
You are traveling abroad to a destination that is not covered: If you are traveling internationally, chances are your car insurance provider will not cover your rental car. Again, popular international destinations such as Italy, Australia, Ireland, Israel and Jamaica are not eligible for car rental coverage through your credit card company.
You are concerned about an incident affecting your existing car insurance premiums: If you are concerned about being involved in a rental car accident and concerned that your car insurance premiums will increase, take out rental car insurance. That way, you’ll still be covered and have the peace of mind that your existing car insurance rate won’t skyrocket.
Remember – car rental companies are counting on you not to do your homework. Show up at the counter prepared and know when to opt in and when to decline rental car insurance coverage (these agents can be aggressive!). If you are already a Metromile customer, most Metromile policy coverage is transferred to the rental vehicle. There is no need to connect the Pulse device to the rental vehicle as you will not be charged for mileage while driving the rental vehicle. Be sure to consult your policy agreement or feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your coverage. If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, click here to get a free quote today to find out how much you can save! Stay safe out there and see you on the roads!
Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of women’s lifestyle website The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram.