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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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car rental insurance

Since I sold my car and no longer own one - whenever I rent a car I am advised by the agent to buy liability insurance ( I am covered for collison via my credit card). The rental compnies charge what I consider an exorbitant amount (daily) for liability coverage. Does anyone know - is it possible to purchase liability insurance just for a given rental period from an auto insurance company i.e. direct from the company?
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 05:19 AM
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Joe:

I rent about 10 time a year in Manhattan.

Do you have renters/homeowners or umbrella insurance? You also have liability insurance there. Your credit card company and the isnruance company would then fight it out unless it was excess coverage.

Please contact your insurance agent or company to determine what coverages are available to you that exist.

I have never heard of daily coverage from an insurance carrier, but that does not mean it does not exist.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 06:53 AM
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I believe that, at a minimum, you would have to purchase 1 month of liability insurance if you deemed it necessary and chose to go outside of the rental agency. Depending on where you are and your driving history, that may be only $30-$40. The insurance agency will likely set you up on a six month policy, but if you choose to pay monthly and then cancel after you are done with it, you won't pay for more than a month.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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Usually when you cancel an insurance policy before the termiantion date there is a penalty just to avoid a situatuion as stated here. It is called the short rate.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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There are a few foreign rental cos. that include all insurance in their price quote and buy 3rd party insurance. I know whizzcarrental.com is one of these. Worth comparing prices when you next go to rent. They use major car rental cos.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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Whether such a fee is charged depends on state laws. The NE seems to find a way to charge fees for just about anything, so it wouldn't surprise me if such a fee was allowed in NY.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 09:01 AM
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There are two companies that have hourly rates Zipcar and Mint. Both have extreme restrictions on rentals.

I use Mint now. I used Zipcar once. I returned the car 15 minutes late, that is not hyperbole, and they fined me $50 and they would not reduce it or waive it.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Adu - Many thanks for your note re my condo umbrella policy. So I looked at the policy. Yes - I do have automobile coverage under that policy. The thing about insurance policies - you never know what you are actually covered for until you have a claim (e.g. ask those with health insurance) but this umbrella states: Automobile Motorcycle and other vehicles licensed for road use liability (bodily injury and property damage).
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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jroth, you really should be *ONLY* discussing this with your personal insurance agent.

Just ask him or her what happens if you have an automobile liability claim and you have only a personal umbrella liability (or personal excess liability) policy in effect with no underlying automobile liability in place.

If you wish, you could also look at your policy. And you will see that there is a schedule for underlying liability limits required for the various coverages.

You could also check with your agent if a non-owned automobile liability policy could be written for you, but they may be only written for an annual term. Depending on how often you rent automobiles, it might be worthwhile - or it might be better for you to continue purchasing the liability coverage through the rental car agency.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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Any idea how a non US resident gets around this? I've taken out LDW, my travel insurance will cover any excess payable, but I'm gonna have to take up their Liability Ins. Can't imagine the 'grief' if we injured someone without Liability Ins.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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Exiled - many thanks for your advice - but: believe it or not some time ago I did contact my agent and spoke to his office manager with this question and: she advised me to purchase that insurance from the car rental agency when I rent a car. So - you do not always get totally correct advice from whom you would expect it -- and I am about to contact the company to discuss this agent's conveying misinformation.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 04:12 PM
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jroth, I don't understand what you mean by the "agent's conveying misinformation".

I think you don't understand that not every type of insurance coverage is available in every state for every person. My statement above said..."if a non-owned automobile liability policy could be written for you. The key word is "IF".
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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BTW, I think that a previous poster had better be in contact with their own insurance agent ASAP regarding their interpretation of the personal umbrella and/or personal excess liability policy.

Although these policies are written differently (with different companies), a person certainly doesn't want to learn after a claim occurs that there is either no coverage afforded or a gap in coverage.
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Old Sep 7th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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typically personal auto insurance is based on the risks for a specific vehicle and the driver's safety/violation record. Don;t know how anyone could know this for a rental car or a driver from outside the US. That's why the rental agencies sell this coverage.

You can certainly try to buy it elsewhere but I very much doubt you'll be able to.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 05:31 AM
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Many thanks to all who responded. I have the matter clarified by my company. Yes - I did get an umbrella policy when I got my condo insurance that included auto liability. But when I sold my car - and no longer owned one - they canceled that umbrella - so I do not have such coverage. So - to get such coverage when I rent a car - I do need to purchase it from the rental agency - at their exorbitant price. Seems to me that here is a good product for an insurance company to introduce - liability coverage for auto rental at a reasonable price based on statistical data for such exposure.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 06:02 AM
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All car-rental companies in the U.S. must purchase basic liability coverage. Now that may not cover you if you are involved in a massive accident that is your fault, but it would be comparable to a similar policy that you bought yourself unless you carried full coverage.

Further, New York State has more stringent requirements than other states (that's one reason why rentals here are more expensive than almost anywhere else in the country), so I have always considered the basic liability coverage sufficient. I, too, purchase collision insurance when I rent a car here, but I buy have a plan from Amex that gives me primary collision coverage for a set price with every rental (for me, it's $20 for up to 30 days of rentals).

You can also get a policy from a travel insurance company for about $9 a day, which is considerably cheaper than the cost from the car-rental company.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 09:48 AM
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Doug - thanks for that good info. I am still wondering why the credit card companies that include collision insurance with certain card categories (like mine) do not also offer liability insurance - which they would be entitled to charge for and not at the exorbitant rates car rental agencies charge.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 10:35 AM
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I don't know NY law but ask your agent about a "non owner liability only " auto policy. If oyu rent cars often enough it is worth it.
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Old Sep 8th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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"All car-rental companies in the U.S. must purchase basic liability coverage."

I think this varies by state. I was recently told by my insurance company that in California, the car rental companies are not required to cover liability. The driver must be covered by their own policy or much purchase liability coverage at the counter.

For non-citizens, most of the car rentals were including both collision and liability in rentals up until recently. Lately quotes for UK, AUS etc. residents only come up with collision being included. Non-citizens should be sure and state country of residence when renting a car in the U.S. as the rates can sometimes be half of what they are for U.S. Citizens.
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 05:14 AM
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I think there is some misunderstanding re California not requiring auto companies not to cover liability. It's hard for me to believe that any state would exempt any owner of a vehicle from having liability coverage. But if California does that - any auto rental company would be crazy not to cover itself for liability since there are all sorts of circumstances where in an accident the rental company might be held liable for damages. This - of course - is different from coverage for the renter of the vehicle who has to go out and obtain coverage if he already does not have it.
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