Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Help on deciding what car rental insurance we need - not being U.S. residents.

Help on deciding what car rental insurance we need - not being U.S. residents.

Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:03 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Help on deciding what car rental insurance we need - not being U.S. residents.

We've travelled to the U.S. for the last two years, arranging everything through a travel agent. However, now that we have more confidence, we're thinking of booking flights and car rental over the internet. (It seems to be better value that way). The problem is we don't understand the car insurance "system". All we know is our travel agent told us we had "Platinum Add-On" on our car rental each time. What insurance should we arrange if booking for ourselves over the internet. Our credit cards don't give us any cover. Any advice/help please?
irishk is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:14 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 78
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First, you want to make sure that your current insurance policy covers you while driving in the U.S. If so, there are many different types of optional insurance available (and they vary depending on the car rental agency). For example, there is loss damage waiver coverage which relieves you of any responsibility for any damage to the rental car (this is generally a few dollars a day and may be worth it). There is also personal accident insurance (which covers loss of life, etc. to the people inside the car)(not generally needed). There is also Personal Effects Coverage which covers your personal effects in case of theft, etc. (no generally needed). Quite honestly, insurance requirements vary depending on what state you are in and which rental car agency you are using. If your own car insurance policy covers you in the U.S., I wouldn't get anything more. If you are concerned, get the loss damage waiver but nothing else. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. You may want to specify which states you plan to be in. If all else fails, call the rental car agency and get more info.
Vacationer is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:15 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Car rental companies carry their own insurance which you can purchase from them when you pick up the car. There are several different levels of insurance from very basic liability which covers any damage you do to other cars or people, but not the car itself all the way up to total and complete coverage which covers everything - liability, the car, loss of use. Basically if you get into an accident, you call the car rental place and they arrange everything else.
J_Correa is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:17 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,883
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some of this depends on which state you'll be travelling in, and some of it doesn't. Your best bet would be to check with your own car insurance company. If your own car isn't going to be in use while you're travelling in the US, your policy might cover your rental car.
For various reasons, car rental companies always want to sell you very expensive insurance. I've been in situations where the rental agents are told to give information that just isn't true; for example, I was told in Hawaii that my collision insurance wasn't good there. My broker subsequently told me it was, and we raised quite a fuss until the car rental company finally agreed to cancel a completely unnecessary $400 worth of extra insurance. I don't know whether the agent was aware that she was giving false information; she may not have been.
I don't know what "platinum add-on" is, but is this something you have bought through your travel agent that still applies, or was it just for cars that you rented through him/her in the past? If it's still current, I'd ask for a copy of the policy and see what it does cover.
In general, your own car insurance broker is the person with the most reliable information and advice.
Meesthare is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:19 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Vacationer

Thank you for your reply. Our own car insurance doesn't cover us while driving in the U.S., so I suppose what we really need to know is what is the minimum type of cover we need to be reasonably sensible about it.
irishk is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:24 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 128
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you Meesthare

You've made me decide I need to look into this well in advance of booking. I'll contact a rental company, get details of the insurance they offer and then get advice here on what is needed as against what they want to sell me in order to make some money for themselves!
irishk is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 01:46 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 757
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are 2 types of insurance the car rental places try and sell you, 1 covers the car, the other covers you. If you have medical insurance to cover you in the U.S., just get the insurance that covers the car only. Usually runs about 9-13 USD a day.
Deborah is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 02:36 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,653
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
famous last words
joesorce is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 02:59 PM
  #9  
GoTravel
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
IrishK, I would get coverage for everything. A policy that covers the passengers, the car, and the car that you could hypothetically get into an accident with. The reason being is that if you get in a wreck and only cover the car you are driving (assuming you are at fault), you are looking at some serious money. What if your health insurance doesn't cover you in the states? Did you know the hospitals here are perfectly within their rights to deny medical assistance to the uninsured? How about the thousands of dollars of damage you could do to another vehicle? Just trying to lay out all scenarios.

 
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 03:47 PM
  #10  
mj
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 119
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
irishk,
I was gonna' try to write a tome but the good folks at Avis provide a good primer at the following link:
http://www.avis.com/AvisWeb/JSP/global/en/rentersguide/policies/us/coverage_policies.jsp

Give it a read and come back w/your questions.
hth,
mj is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2003, 07:57 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,883
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It looks as though mj is giving you some helpful advice. Still, I would bear in mind that you might be able to buy some insurance - emphasis on "might be" - through your own broker rather than buying it from the car rental company. For example, the policy that covered us in Hawaii, that they wanted us to pay $400 for, had cost all of $30 when we added it to our policy in Canada long before the trip. And of course the people that are telling you to get health insurance are right - the costs in the US can be enormous.
Meesthare is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2003, 04:09 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,138
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To the 2 types of insurance, add a subset of Liabiolity insurance - that covers you if you do serious damage to some property or person (like you drive into a cafe and seriously injure others inside). None of this is cheery pre-vacation talk, but something to consider.

You might want to take one more pass by your credit card company - if you could upgrade to some silly level (platinum, etc.) it might offer you some form of coverage that might justify the extra annual fee on the card.
gail is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2003, 04:17 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 747
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Insurance from the rental companies is quite expensive; in part because there is no long-term relationship and experience factor like you have with your own insurance company, and in part because it makes a good profit item that doesn't show up in the initial price quote. If you buy the insurance from the company, you are essentially being lumped with the worst pool of drivers in terms of insurance risk.

Different states definitely have different laws, but typically the rental company is required to include some form of basic liability insurance with the rental (in CA this covers potential damage to other people/property up to $35000, wouldn't even cover totaling a BMW). The car you rented is completely your financial responsibility if damaged(sometimes even to paying rental while it is being repaired). The rental company will offer additional cost coverage for the car, yourselves, and increases to the basic liability insurance. If you accept all those coverages, it can nearly double the cost of the rental. The protection offered by some credit cards is typically only for damage to the rental car.

If you can, you will almost certainly be better off getting add-on insurance coverage with your own company; otherwise, you can weigh the risks and make your choices. You generally don't *have* to buy the add-on insurance, though some companies may have additional restrictions on non-US drivers.
curmudgeon is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
abynrml2106
Europe
9
Jul 9th, 2015 03:51 AM
mpkp
Europe
23
Apr 11th, 2011 10:28 AM
stormbird
United States
9
Jan 20th, 2010 04:31 PM
TexasAggie
Europe
11
Jan 6th, 2006 02:28 PM
tracker
United States
5
Jul 18th, 2003 08:58 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -