Do you know if your auto insurance company will cover you in an accident in a rental car? According to a survey by Progressive Insurance, only 25% bother to ask. We are looking into booking a rental car for a week, so I called State Farm to double-check what the current rules are. A week of loss-damage waiver (LDW) would cost well over $100, so it was definitely worth a phone call.
Below is what I got from my agent, but I’m sure that auto insurance laws vary by state, so don’t assume the following extends to you. Call yourself! If you’re really serious, you’ll get them to show you where all this is written out in your insurance policy. I know I kept mine somewhere.
Liability Coverage. Your existing limits extends to the rental car.
Comprehensive Coverage. This extends to the rental car. Your same deductible applies.
Collision Coverage. This extends to the rental car. Your same deductible applies.
Other Possible Charges
This could be good news for some, but perhaps not quite so good if you have high deductibles. In addition, she did point out that there are certain things that State Farm will not cover from the rental car companies.
- Claims Processing Fees or “Administrative” Charges – If you get in an accident, it sounds like they can charge you a fee just to deal with it. Blech.
- Loss-of-Use Charges – The rental car company will claim that for every day the car was being fixed, they could have rented it out. They don’t even have to prove that they were out of cars at the time.
Secondary Rental Car Insurance
This is where the secondary rental car insurance from credit cards can come in handy. Details can still vary depending on the specific card, so look for specific wording in the paperwork that they mail you with the tiny print on amazingly thin paper. Here’s some sample info from Visa:
Visa Auto Rental CDW reimburses you for the deductible portion of your personal automobile insurance, valid administrative and loss-of-use charges imposed by the rental car company, as well as reasonable towing charges resulting from covered damage or theft of the rental vehicle while it is your responsibility.
This seems to plug in the remaining holes in coverage, besides the vague usage of the word “valid”.
Unlimited Non-Owned Car Coverage (UNOC)
Another option is to purchase an additional rider on your auto insurance, which State Farm calls UNOC. She quoted me about $30 per 6-month period. However, you can simply add it on and take it off for something as short as a month, which on a pro-rated basis would cost only $5.
By Jonathan Ping | Insurance | 8/6/09, 3:12am