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Mercury News: Published on 01/08/09   At the rental-car counter: Do I buy the insurance offered? Rental car insurance can be expensive, but driving either uninsured or under-insured could be financially catastrophic.

1. The coverage you have on your own vehicle may insure you while you drive the rental car. First, talk to your insurance agent or broker or with your insurance company. Provided you are not on a business trip, the coverage and deductibles you have on your personal auto may extend to the rental car. But double check with your agent and be clear on exactly what coverage you need. If anyone else intends to drive the rental car, please discuss whether your coverage will transfer to other drivers of your rental car.If you do not have comprehensive (theft) and/or collision coverage to consider transferring, you will have to purchase this coverage through the rental car agency. If your personal automobile insurance policy will cover you, keep in the rental car your proof of insurance certificate and your agent’s or broker’s name and phone number.Being prepared will payoff; at $10 per day, the Damage Waiver sold by rental car companies is a big profit item for the rental car industry that is equal to an annual premium of $3,650 for comprehensive and collision coverage. That’s as much as 10 times what your insurance company charges.

2.  Your credit card company may provide coverage at no charge when using their card to pay for the rental car. If so, establish exactly how you will be covered while driving the rental car – and for how much. You may have full coverage, or you may only need to purchase a specific type of coverage for the rental car company to bring your coverage to a level with which you are comfortable.

3.  Once you have established that you are already covered or that you will need to purchase insurance from the rental car company – either way, clarify the following: Establish the status of specific coverage for Collision Damage Waiver (damage you cause to another’s vehicle you hit with your rental car), Liability Insurance (damange you cause to other people or property), Collision (damage you cause to the vehicle you rentel), and Comprehensive Claims (stolen vehicle, weather-related damage like that caused by hail, flooding and collisions with animals), Personal Accident (medical/ambulance bills), and Personal Effects (theft of personal items in the car). Also, before you even get in the rental car, be sure to take the time to closely inspect it for existing damage.  If you find any, note it on the rental form and have an employee of the rental company initial it.

Related: Some rental car companies combine personal accident and personal effects coverage together as one type of insurance, while others sell it individually. In addition, the cost of insurance at the rental car counter will vary depending on the rental car company, its location, and the type of car you rent.

Some auto rental companies may stipulate in their contract when you sign at the counter a “loss of use” clause, which deals with the loss of use of the vehicle you are renting if it is damaged while in your possession. Most California auto insurance policies do not cover “loss of use” for a rental car. Check with your insurance agent or broker and the rental car company to make sure where you stand on this issue.

At Remland Insurance we want you to be informed and have a great vacation!


The COVID 19 virus has certainly changed our lives for the short term both at home and at work. Our office is working in compliance with state and local officials and their request to minimize contact with others for the short term so that we can shorten the life of this virus.
As such, our offices will be available by phone or by e mail 8-5 Monday thru Friday. If you need to make an appointment to come by, please call us before you drop by, so we can reduce risk, and take care of our staff and just be safe.
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