Rental car extras

Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 04:57 PM
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Rental car extras

I could leap into the rental company's website again, but I'm not sure I have the strength, so I hope readers will forgive me for taking this shortcut.

I expect we should pay LDW when we visit the States, as I understand it covers us for damage to another party (but not damage to our car). However, I've just noticed that our proposed travel insurance policy provides "rental vehicle insurance excess" coverage of AU$5000 (say US$4000).

With this in mind, I suspect that we won't need to worry about any extras offered by the company, apart from LDW. Do you know the answer to this off the top of your head?

It's a round trip, BTW, so no drop-off fee.

Which reminds me of the time we rented a car in Richmond VA for a one-way trip to Charleston SC. When we dropped off the car I disputed the one-way surcharge, pointing out that as the car in question actually carried SC, not VA, plates, surely we had done the company a service by delivering it to its rightful home, and so should have received a discount if anything. This suggestion was treated with the contempt the clerk clearly thought it deserved.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 05:15 PM
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In general, you don't need to buy ANY insurance from the rental company. The rental car has to have liability insurance already - that's the only way it can be legally licensed to be on the street.

As for damage to the rental car itself, you have potentially three parties to pay for it - your travel insurance, your credit card and your own auto insurance from Australia. You need to contact those three places to see who'll be the primarily party to cover it.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 06:27 PM
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Thanks for the quick reponse, rkkwan. I'll check my c/c, car insurance etc.

About LDW - sorry if I'm being a bit obtuse here, but (to the best of your knowledge) if the vehicle carries liability coverage, what if anything is the point of paying the LDW option? That is, is this purely and simply a trap for the unwary renter, or is there some potential risk in not taking it?

I've just noticed that my travel insurance also has cover for up to AU$3M (US$2.25M) "personal liability".
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 06:37 PM
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The car rental company probably only gets the minimum legal liability, which is $20K each party, $40K total for most states. So, if you hit an expensive car, then you may still be on the hook. Again, your credit card, travel insurance and regular insurance all probably will cover you the excess.

So, there is a point of getting extra liability from the car rental agent, but you may not need it either.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 07:12 PM
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ABSOLUTELY check with c/c co, your ins and the rental car agency and have thenm send the printed document. For example Amex may not pay for some SUVs and vans.
AMEX wiil not cover countries such as Ireland and Iran etc..
AMEX informed me over the phone and emailed the printed document to me...so it is clear...
There are also issues on who pays first etc and by the way the Car rental company can place a hold for the entire amount of the car value on your charge card until issue is settled. In some cases the rental car company can also charge the daily rental fee for each day the car is not available to rent in it's fleet.
This one time it is important to do your reseach yourself...and get it in writting..
If you want to be extra careful

look it over with an agent to make sure the gas cap and spare tire are with the car and that any dammage is noted and signed clearly by an agent upon p/u...take a picture of the car if you have to leave it in a return lot unattended.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 10:03 PM
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American Express will cover you for collision up to 30 days, but Visa and Mastercard for no rentals longer than 15 days. And you can't return the car after 15 days and just pick up another car on the same Visa or Mastercard.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 02:06 AM
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Some rental companies have different rules for rentals by non-US citizens. There have been posters here before from England stating that despite personal car insurance, credit card coverage, they were still required to purchase "optional" insurance.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 02:53 AM
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If you are a NON-USA resident, take LDW AND CDW.
Thay way you are covered if you have or are involved in an accident.
Remember the high claims in the USA that can the case if anything happens.
If you are a USA resident check with your own car-insurance to avoid double insurance.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 03:02 AM
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EXactly what Ida said. And you may not have a choice being from Oz. It happens with those from the UK also. But in this litigious society we live in, there is no telling what could happen resulting from an accident.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 03:32 AM
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Thanks to all. Somehow I knew this wasn't going to be easy. Anyway, I'll check with the travel insurance company - my Visa Gold card doesn't seem to offer much.

I was interested to see the comments about car insurance - here, it's a nominated vehicle that's insured against loss or damage, not the driver, i.e. the policy is no help if you're driving someone else's car. Is that not the case in the US?

I was also intrigued to read that Amex doesn't covering countries like Iran or Ireland. Iraq, that I can understand, some other countries where you take your life in your hands when you get behind the wheel - but Ireland? Is Amex still worried about the IRA, I wonder? If so Northern Ireland would be the main problem, but that's part of the UK.

BTW, I did check Budget's website and there are issues with citizens of certain countries, but as I recall not Australia or the UK.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 04:42 AM
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Regarding car insurance in US - it is confusing and varies by state. Insurance is on the car, not the driver. But when one purchases auto insurance on a vehicle, they must list all drivers/members of household driving that vehicle. And the rate you pay for insurance will vary by both the type of car and the drivers (for example, when our teenage son got his drivers license, our insurance rates went up considerably).

If you were visiting me and I let you drive my car, you would be covered for damage to my car and damages my car caused other property or persons. But you could still be individually liable if you did something especially dangerous, stupid, illegal, etc.

But if I tried to save money and did not list my teenage son and he was in an accident with the same car, the insurance company could refuse to pay.

The fact that rental cars are covered is a separate piece of most insurance policies and can vary by policy - so although most do cover it, in US it is always safest to check with individual policy.

Because it is part of the American way to sue for lots of money for anything, many people also have "umbrella" policies that cover liability issues for both cars and homeowners policies - a million or 2 dollar liability policy runs about $100/year.

Probably more than you ever wanted to know about car insurance in US.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 05:03 AM
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Insurance follows the car here too Neil_Oz, but if the car is not insured yet the driver is on a policy for his own car, then that insurance kicks in. Ergo...primary insurance is the insurance on the car, then next the insurance the driver carries.

This applies to limits of coverage as well, so if an insured driver is driving someone else's insured vehicle and had a horrific wreck, the auto's limits of liability would apply first, but if they were exceeded, then the driver's policy would kick in, providing he had permission to be driving the car.

All this is true within the states only. My own insurance policy is not good outside the US, as is the case with most, if not all US auto insurers, so we always buy insurance when we leave the country and I suspect you will find the same to be true with your carriers.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 10:45 AM
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I thnk it's completely different when you're renting in another country. I have US car insurance that covers me in the US and Canada. It doesn;t cover anything anywhere else in the world.

And while US credit cards give car rental insurance coverage (but which varies by the card/type) it is my understanding that this is not true for cards in the rest of the world.

So - certainly check - but I don;t think either one will cover you.

If you have bought a travel insurance policy it may well cover car accidents. But you will need to get the details of how much it covers - for damage to other cars/persons and damage to the car you are driving. And then be sure this is enough coverage for the company you are renting from.

Frankly - $20/$40,000 isn;t nearly enough - esp if you have assets to protect. If you hit an expensive car and seriously damage that and your own - plus even minor personal injury expenses you could easily be on the hook for over $100,000. (Our car insurance is $300,000/$500,000 for this reason.)
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 01:29 PM
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About what's enough for liability - It depends on how much money you have. If like most Americans who have negative net assets, you are unlikely to be sued for extra money as there's really no point. But if you have savings, then definitely protect yourself.

I personally have 100K/300K. That's 100K per party up to 300K per incident. I figure few cars on the road (at least around MY roads) cost over 100K, and it'd be extremely rare that I can cost over 300K of total damage, that's what I get.

But if you live in "The O.C.", and drive around Ferraris, Bentleys, let alone Bugattis all the time and you may run into one of them, then yes, the more liability you get the better.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 03:53 PM
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Well - I don;t agree that most Americans have negtive assets. Although the average consumer has debt - many people have savings and even more have home equity to protect.

As to the costs of the cars - it doesn;t take Bentleys - just a big Mercedes or Porsche or Lexus or a super SUV (and that seems to be about 25% of the cars here) plus your own damage and relatively minor injuries will put you over.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 04:10 PM
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nytraveler - Yeah, maybe I am exaggerating a little. But if most of one's asset is in his/her homestead, while having other debts, I doubt the other party will try very hard to get you to pay up.

And that is only for liability for property. Injury is covered seperately, and one's own car and injury are also covered seperately in the policy.

Well, like I said, if where you drive have lots of expesnive vehicles, then one should buy more insurance. I totally agree with that. Just that on the routes I drive, I hardly see anything that expensive. [Oh, a Carrera GT did decide to park next to me, once... ]
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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Do look into it though, and don't just buy the LDW because I did this after being told by the agent, you won't have to mess with your insurance if something happens, which made sense to me at the time. I happened to hit a deer, and when I contacted the LDW rep, I was told I had to contact my insurance. So I basically threw away the money that I paid for the rental company for the coverage.
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 04:51 PM
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rkkwan,
The $100K/300K coverage you mentioned is probably your bodily injury coverage. It only covers personal injuries. It does not cover you for damage to another vehicle. If you hit another car, that is covered by the property damage portion of your insurance.

Oz,
First, check with your own auto insurance company for the coverage they might offer in the US. Second, if you have a gold AMEX card, it will cover you for 30 days and you don't need to buy the additional coverage.

Some Visas and Mastercards also offer the coverage, but only for 15 days. However, you should definitely check with the CC company to make sure exactly what coverage they offer, limitations, etc. If you don't have a CC that offers this coverage, and your own auto insurance will not cover you, then definitely buy the rental company's insurance.

There are the four types of optional insurance offered by most major car rental firms:

•CDW (collision damage waiver) and LDW (loss damage waiver). This relieves you of financial responsibility for a rental vehicle damaged by an accident, vandalism or theft.

•SLI (supplemental liability insurance). This provides excess liability coverage up to $1 million.

•PAI (personal accident insurance). This covers you and all passengers in your vehicle for any medical expenses. It's not necessary for most renters already covered by personal health policies or travel policies.

•PEC (personal effects coverage). This provides coverage for theft of or damage to personal items inside the rental car. Again, it replicates coverage already provided to many renters through their own insurance policies.

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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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Well - it depends on where the OP is driving - but if it's in the Northeast corridor or Cal or Fla there are a LOT of expensive cars on the road.

And if someone has had their car totaled and you don;t have insurance I can;t believe they would ever just take the loss. They'll follow you to the end of the earth - including putting a lien on your house - to collect.

(I don;t believe thay can force you to sell the house to get their money - but when it is sold - or someone inherits it - they're first in line to get their share.) Also- that means the homeowner can;t get a home equity loan or mortgage.

Not worth it to avoid paying a few $ for the insurance coverage you need.
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Old Jun 27th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Oh - and just to clarify. If someone does get a judgement against you they CAN take all of your movable assets - including anything in your checking account, savings accounts, cars, and any other items of value sufficient to bother with (they don;t want your old furniture).
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