It’s easy to forget that when you rent a car, you’re “borrowing” a vehicle that costs tens of thousands of dollars from a major corporation. When renting it, you expect the car to be in great condition with no dents, dings or scrapes on it. So what happens when the car is damaged during your rental? Even if it wasn’t your fault, the rental car company is, of course, going to expect you to pay for the repairs. Rental car companies know the fear of getting a large bill for repairs makes you an easy target to purchase the “insurance” they’ll sell you for just a few dollars a day.
We’ve already written about the excessive charges for gas and the markup on tolls that car rental companies charge. Why would we believe that all of a sudden car rental companies will sell you insurance at a reasonable price? It’s not that the coverages they sell aren’t necessary, because they are. It’s moreso you may already have coverage that makes buying their insurance unnecessary. Knowing what coverage you already have allows you make an informed decision ahead of time. I’ll also share a trick that lets you avoid the hard sell at the counter. But first, what is the car rental company trying to get you to buy?
Most of the information listed below only applies to cars rented in the United States. Rentals in other countries have different rules and restrictions. Please note I’m neither an insurance agent nor an expert so I suggest reading the policies including, but not limited to the parts about policy limits, deductibles and exclusions.