One of the best parts about hiring a car is exploring new parts of the world,
conquering huge distances, and stopping whenever you want to admire the view. After that, the best feeling though is when you get it back to the rental company without a scratch. “Yeah, check it all over won’t find a thing!”
what happens if you have a bump or an accident?
What car insurance do you need? And, what is just pressure selling from people at the counter after a long flight? Let’s find out! Are we not putting any titles here? That was perfect for having titles: I can just, kind of, walk off and then boom…into the next bit! No? Okay, we’ll do it this way. Slick – like it!! Renting a car is THE best way to go road tripping. The open road, the sun shining down, and not a care in the world! Well, except for the fear of pranging your wheels, getting involved in a lawsuit, and perhaps, being stuck by the roadside in the middle of a desert!
The way to protect yourself from these fears – and enjoy your trip – is to get insurance cover. This area’s a minefield though and companies prey on this fear to get some extra cash out of your pocket. Let’s see if we can get through this boring, but important, topic together. First up, I’m not a lawyer or a financial expert. I’m a mere travel journalist, who’s just happened to have done dozens of car rentals over the years, okay? So, you should book what is right for you.
I’m just going to go through some do’s and don’ts and some Top Tips to help you make those decisions. Okay, let’s do this through the medium of: a Q&A with some of our biggest fans! Right, we’re going to start with Joe King, who has the first question. He asks: what cover do you NEED to get through a rental company? The answer is: none! You DO have to have certain insurances but you DON’T need to buy it through them. There are loads of different places you can go. You can go through your travel insurance, your car insurance, your credit cards – and, there’s actually another sneaky way which you can do it, through someone completely different.
I’ll save that hack for later on! Right, next up is Chris Bacon, um, sorry, no: Chris P Bacon on Twitter. He says: what cover do I need to get? Well, there are a few you actually need to get, and they’re up on the screen now. Collision Damage Waiver, also known as Loss Damage Waiver, is the most important one, probably. This covers the car if you get into an accident. Liability insurance is also vital, as it covers third parties and anyone else involved in an accident.
If you’re from the UK, you quite often get these included in your price. In the USA, it’s not usually part of the rental deal but if you’ve got Collision and Comprehensive coverage on your personal motor insurance, you should be covered that way. Check that your policy covers you for Loss of Use fees though, which the renter could charge you if they’re losing income while your car is being fixed – most do. Most Americans will have Liability Insurance included as part of their personal motor insurance, so there’s no need to buy that again either. Also, lots of credit card companies in the USA offer car rental insurance as a perk but you’re not covered for that much. They might pick up Loss of Use, if you weren’t covered before. They do help with Collision Damage Waiver.
They don’t cover medical liability or property bills. And, they don’t cover long-term rentals, so a few things to watch out for there. It’s definitely worth knowing you can get cover through your credit card company but you have to remember to book your car rental WITH that credit card to be able to unlock those perks, remember. And, remember every card will have different coverage so check that again. Okay, next up: Seymour Butts has the uh, uh, has the next question. Ah, um, uh, yeah, anyway. Um,
what insurance DON’T you need?
Well, all of the insurance you’re offered is going to be good so always go for as much as you can afford, or as much as included as well. But, the big thing here is that you might be covered for some of them. For example Personal Accident Insurance is when you or your family get hurt in a car. Now, this is great to have but holidaymakers should have this as part of their travel insurance and Americans should have this from their personal health insurance and/or your motor coverage. Personal Effects Cover, now that’s something that travelers will probably have on their travel insurance or actually, their home insurance will cover it too. People from the USA, you should be covered on that one too, from your household insurance.
Jack Pott is next. Jack Pott?! Yeah, I get it.
I’m never doing this again, like this!! He asked, anyway: what if your personal insurance or credit cards don’t cover any of these extras? Well, if you book through an American company you will need to get cover for all of these elements that I’ve spoken about. You can buy car hire insurance completely separately from your company, just make sure you buy the right one. True story: I booked this a few years back and thought I’d booked Collision Damage Waiver, Liability Insurance and the excess cover part of it. I got the BEST deal, it was like $40 for six weeks of cover for the whole family – the whole car covered! I thought I’d done a blinder!
Anyway, literally, three days into the trip we’re going out for breakfast and I park around the back instead of on the main street and the curb looks a bit bigger than normal but I thought: “hey, we’re in America, the curbs are bigger anyway, the cars are bigger – it’ll be fine!! CRUNCH!! Just a few days into the trip, the bumper was scratched underneath and I was in bits! I was gutted. I had to force myself to not think about it until the end of the trip! At the end of the trip, I looked at the documents and found out what I was actually covered for.
And I found out i was pretty much only covered for the excess insurance, which is like scrapes, bumps, and loss of keys – that kind of stuff! I wasn’t properly covered for Collision Damage Waiver or the big Liability Insurance, so I got really lucky on that one! Don’t be me…be better than me!! Book ahead, the right thing, and make the right choices so you’re covered. So, if separate coverage is something you’re needing, you can easily search for it – and maybe use a company you’re already insured through.
There are specialists in this as well. UK peeps, head to moneymaxim.com where you can search for the level of cover you need. Americans, if you don’t have a home or motor insurance maybe buy personal liability separately and get the rest of the coverage from a good credit card. Right, I think that covers everything then. Remember to check the fine print, that’s the most important part: to make sure you know what you’re covered for and what you’re not.