Should I buy additional insurance coverage when renting a car?

Your automobile insurance or credit card might already provide coverage, but you may still need additional protection. Fortunately, rental car companies offer a wide menu of alternatives to extend your existing insurance protection.

Rental Car Insurance Options

Here are the types of coverage typically offered by rental car companies:

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). The rental car company won’t hold the renter responsible for all of the costs associated with theft or damage of the vehicle. The CDW may also cover loss-of-use charges, which the renter must otherwise pay while the car is out of commission.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). PAI coverage provides medical, ambulance, and death benefits for the rental car driver and his passengers.
  • Supplemental Liability Protection (SLP). This insurance covers you for damage caused to someone else’s person or property. By law in most states, the rental car company must provide the state-required minimum amount of liability insurance, but SLP offers additional liability protection.
  • Personal Effects Coverage (PEC). PEC reimburses the cost of personal items damaged in a collision or stolen from the rental vehicle.

When You Need Rental Car Insurance

The decision whether to purchase extra insurance when you rent a car depends of many factors specific to your situation. However, there are three cases when obtaining additional coverage should have a very high priority:

  • You don’t have car insurance. If you don’t have automobile insurance, or if your policy lacks comprehensive and collision coverage or has very high deductibles, you may want to purchase the collision damage waiver.
  • You’re renting a car overseas. Your vehicle insurance policy probably won’t cover you when driving outside the United States.
  • You’re renting a vehicle for business travel. Your personal car insurance policy may not cover you when you rent a vehicle primarily for business.

Buying Peace of Mind

Extra rental car insurance isn’t expensive, and it can give you additional protection should you be involved in a collision. As with all other types of automobile insurance coverage, you should purchase what you can reasonably afford to give you the protection you need.

If you’ve been injured in a collision while driving a rental car, you need professional representation by an experienced attorney. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.

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