Jul 3, 2004
At the rental-car counter: Do I buy the auto 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 auto insurance agent or broker or with your auto 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. Agents and brokers representing Mercury Insurance are always pleased to answer questions and offer related advise (800-579-3467). If you do not have comprehensive (theft) and/or collision coverage to consider transferring to the rental car, you will have to purchase this coverage through the rental car agency. If your personal auto insurance policy will cover you, keep in the rental car your proof of auto insurance certificate and contact information for your agent, broker or Mercury Insurance. 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 auto insurance company charges! Check with Mercury Insurance if you have any questions. Some auto rental company contracts may stipulate 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. Check with your auto insurance agent or broker and the rental car company to make sure where you stand on this issue. Some rental car companies combine personal accident and personal effects coverage as one type of auto insurance, while others sell it individually. Check with Mercury Insurance if you have any questions. 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 from the rental car company to bring your coverage to a level with which you are comfortable. It is always safe to double check with Mercury Insurance if you have any questions. 3. Once you have established that you are already covered or that you will need to purchase auto 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(s) you hit with your rental car), Liability Insurance (damage you cause to other people or property), collision (damage you cause to the vehicle you rented) and comprehensive claims (stolen vehicle, weather-related damage like that caused by hail and 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. Call Mercury Insurance with any questions.
SOURCE: Mercury Insurance
CONTACT: John Brice, +1-858-456-3855, JBrice@BriceandAssociates.com, for
Mercury Insurance; or Ted Huntington of Mercury Insurance, +1-661-291-6469,
Web site: http://www.mercuryinsurance.com/