When you're traveling on vacation, it's hard to beat the convenience of a rental car. However, it's vital that you protect yourself by thoroughly investigating the limits of any applicable rental car insurance. Do not automatically assume your rental car is properly covered under your current car insurance policy.
Rental Car Insurance Under Your Existing Auto Policy
Determining whether a rental car is covered under your existing policy depends on the location of your trip. If you're renting a car in the United States or Canada, your Louisiana auto insurance should provide some level of coverage. However, if you're traveling in any other country, your current auto insurance may specifically exclude rental car coverage.
If your trip is to a covered destination, your comprehensive and collision coverage likely covers the value of the car even if it's declared a total loss. However, you'll still have to pay your deductible and any applicable fees from the rental car company.
If your trip is to a covered destination and you only have liability coverage, this coverage extends to the rental car as well. As a precautionary measure, check your policy's coverage limits before traveling to see if they're comparable to what the rental service recommends.
Types of Rental Car Insurance
When you rent a car, the company will ask if you want to purchase specific rental insurance. In most cases, there are four coverage options:
- Collision damage waiver, to cover your financial responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen with no deductible
- Liability coverage, to protect you against lawsuits if you cause property damage or injury to others while driving the rental car
- Personal accident insurance, to cover your own medical costs and the costs of any passengers after an accident
- Personal effects coverage, to pay for valuable items you might keep in the car while traveling
The rental car company only requires you to purchase liability coverage if you don't currently have any sort of policy on your own vehicle. Other coverage is optional. The company might use high-pressure sales tactics, but you're free to decline any coverage you deem unnecessary.
Avoiding Duplicate Coverage
As a budget-conscious consumer, it's understandable you want to avoid paying for unnecessary coverage. However, you may need to make a few phone calls ahead of your trip to properly determine what types of rental car insurance you already have. Collision and liability insurance may already be provided under your own auto policy. Personal accident insurance may be unnecessary if your health insurance plan covers accident-related medical expenses. Personal effects coverage may be unnecessary if your renters or homeowners insurance provides off-premises coverage for your belongings.
If you have a credit card, keep in mind that many credit cards also offer insurance coverage for rental cars. Platinum or Gold cards are the most likely to offer this benefit to cardholders, although the actual terms of coverage can vary widely. This coverage is intended to be secondary to your own auto policy or the coverage you purchased from the rental car company but is still a factor to consider when determining what your insurance needs are.
Receiving Compensation for Injuries From a Rental Car Accident
If you're involved in an accident while driving a rental car, you can receive compensation if the other driver was at fault for the accident. Your personal injury claim can include:
- Past accident-related medical expenses, including emergency room care, surgical care, and follow-up appointments
- Any applicable future accident-related medical expenses, if your injuries have left you permanently disabled
- Loss of wages during your recovery
- Loss of future earning potential, if applicable
- Pain and suffering
If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still collect damages. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault for the accident.
To learn more about your right to compensation, contact Neblett, Beard & Arsenault for a free, no-obligation case review. Appointments are available at six convenient office locations throughout the state.