Renting a Car

Close up view hands of agent giving car key to client renting a vehicle in rental office

Is My Rental Car Covered?

Eagerly anticipating your upcoming trip, you approach the rental counter, and the agent asks, "Would you like to purchase insurance with us today?"
Don’t panic; let us help explain what coverage you likely have so you know the right way to answer.

If you have active auto insurance with us and choose to rent a vehicle, the broadest level of coverage you have on your policy extends to that rental car. So, if you have full coverage with both comprehensive and collision on one of your vehicles, you have that same coverage on the rental car and with the same limits. If you have liability only, then you will only have liability coverage on the rental car. If you have physical damage and liability, those coverages will extend to the rental car.

However, if you do not have full coverage, you only have coverage for damage you do to other property or persons if in an accident. You will not have coverage to the rental car itself in this situation. In that case, you’ll probably want to purchase coverage from the rental facility to ensure you don’t end up paying for these damages yourself if you are in an accident.

Here’s what you have to watch for - if you are in an accident, rental car companies may charge an additional fee for “loss of use,” which means they will charge you for the time the rental vehicle could not be rented because it was in the shop for repairs. They may also charge "diminution in value," which means the loss of resale value because the vehicle was involved in an accident. So, make sure you have the Personal Auto Enhancement or the Personal Auto Plus Enhancement endorsement. Either will provide coverage if the rental company makes a claim against you for the period of time they were unable to use that vehicle while it was being repaired or for the loss of its overall value because it was in an accident. Either endorsement also provides extra coverages, such as emergency travel expenses and more.

Also, your policy only covers “you” (the named insured shown on the dec, and the spouse if they are a resident of the same household) or a “family member” (a person related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption who is resident of your household, including a ward or foster child) when you’re talking about a non-owned auto. If you’re on vacation with your friends, or your cousins whom you don’t live with, they will not be covered under our policy if they are driving the car that you rented (and neither will the car).

If you choose coverage from the rental car company, make sure all drivers are part of the rental contract. The rental company “owns” the vehicle, and the only permissible drivers are ones who are listed on the rental contract and are afforded coverage.

Not really sure what type of coverage you have or need? We always encourage you to contact us or your local independent insurance agent to help explain. And if you are going somewhere, have a safe trip!

Smiling Garfield

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