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Should You Take Rental Car Insurance While on Vacation?

So you're planning a summer vacation trip with the family. Once you arrive at your destination and head to the rental car counter, you're always faced with the question, "Would you like to add our insurance to the vehicle?" If you're like many of us, this question is perplexing. You know you have your own insurance, but does it cover a rental vehicle? People are in line waiting impatiently behind you. "Oh what the heck, I'll take it…" you say, just to get your getaway going. But was that the right decision?

Well, that depends. There are reasons to do it and reasons not to. Ultimately, it's your choice, but here are a few facts to be armed with when weighing your decision next time…

  1. Your current auto insurance generally does extend coverage to "temporary replacement" vehicles, so long as it's a similar vehicle used for a similar rated use. However, it's important to know exactly what type of insurance you have back home because the coverage you have on your personal auto is the only type of coverage that will extend to a rental vehicle. For example, if you only have liability coverage on your personal car, that is all that will be covered on your rental car. This means, if any damage occurs to the rental vehicle, it will not be covered. Bottom line… know what your personal insurance does and doesn't cover and if you want to add additional coverage while on vacation, ask the car rental rep to sell you that level of coverage.

  2. There are certain territorial factors to consider. If you're traveling to another U.S state, Canada or a U.S. Territory, you should be okay. If you are traveling out of country, get the insurance!

  3. Transporting equipment, driving a rental for business and/or driving a U-Haul or similar moving truck is generally not covered under your personal policy. Neither is driving a vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds. In these cases, get the insurance.

  4. One reason to consider purchasing the rental insurance even if you DO have personal vehicle insurance is simply the "hassle factor." If you are on vacation and something happens to the rental vehicle, you simply return the keys, they give you another vehicle, and they do the rest. If it's your OWN insurance covering the rental vehicle, you now have to take time out of your vacation to deal with your insurance company, adjusters, and just the overall "buzz kill" of dealing with the logistical aftermath of a collision.

Keep in mind each auto policy can is different. If you have any questions about this or other insurance-related topics, feel free to reach out to us anytime! 

Kirk Ball is Principal Agent & Owner at Wren Insurance Agency