Do You Need to Buy the Rental Car Insurance?

These days, add-ons are a fact of life. You could go buy something as varied as a fast food combo meal and a computer, and you’d amazingly be offered add-ons on both. This is also true if you’re booking a rental car. Whether you need the car for business or pleasure, the person behind the desk at the car rental shop will be offering you a few add-ons. All for a fee, of course.

However, unlike buying fast food where the choice is mostly limited to whether you’re adding fries to go with your burger, car rental add-ons need to be understood before you say yes. It’s important that you know what you’re in for; otherwise, you’ll be stuck with rushed decisions while trying to get out of there as fast as possible to avoid potential traffic.

So to help you out, here are the most common protection plans offered by rental car companies. Each one is explained so you can make a more informed decision the next time you need to rent a car.

1. Collision Coverage

If your car is hit by another car or an object, collision coverage is what protects you if the other driver isn’t insured. Or, if you are the one that’s actually at fault. In other words, it will take care of the rental car damage.

If you’re one of those who have liability – only car coverage, you may be saving money but you are also most likely forgetting about collision coverage. In this case, you will be held responsible for the full value of the rental car if anything happens to it. You may want to consider adding collision coverage just as a safety cushion.

Of course, before doing that, it’s best to check with your credit card company, too. A good number of credit card companies already provide their own collision damage waiver as long as you use the card to pay for your rental.

2. Liability Coverage

In case you inflict harm to another person or vehicle, what you want to have is liability coverage. This is actually something that’s almost always required by the law. If you have your own car insurance, then there’s a possibility that you’re already covered for the rental as well. If you don’t, then this one is a must-have.

3. Roadside Assistance

Accidents happen. You could accidentally lock your keys in the car, for example. Or you could run over something in the road and get a flat tire. When any of these unforeseen incidents happen, you want to have some sort of coverage to help you out. While many travelers already have 3rd party coverage from AAA and the like, a greater number actually don’t come equipped with roadside assistance at all.

It’s unfortunate. Because often, the only time you realize you need this at all is when you already have a flat and the car rental company refuses to rescue you. So always plan ahead. If roadside assistance doesn’t cost an arm and a leg anyway, then consider ticking that option at the rental counter.

4. Property Insurance

Car insurance policies may cover items in the car depending on where you are going or what you actually have in the car. Sometimes, renters or homeowners insurance already includes property insurance, too.

But if you have any high-value items while you on the road and you’re not sure if you have coverage or not, then err on the side of caution and consider getting the additional property insurance coverage. This is particularly helpful in the event of break-ins or items being damaged due to accidents. Just make sure you check the limits. Many rental companies offer property insurance up to a few thousand dollars only.