Don’t Play Rental Car Roulette

By Bernard Green

Vacations can be exotic getaways or simply a break from the daily grind. If you’re going out of town, a rental car is often part of your trip—but if you get into an accident, will your insurance cover it?

If you rent a standard car, truck or minivan, your current auto policy will likely provide coverage for the vehicle. The provisions of your existing auto policy—things like liability protection, uninsured motorist, collision and comprehensive coverage—cover you for what’s called a ‘non-owned auto.’ But of course, you’d be subject to the same deductibles as with the car you own.

Rental companies often offer their own protection, like a waiver for physical damage or liability. They might offer you a chance to pay a small amount per day to cover all damage, for example. In that case, it’s completely up to you to decide if paying an extra $50 or so is worth it to avoid the deductible on your own auto policy—but you’re already covered.

If you rent a commercial vehicle, like a 15-passenger van or a larger truck, your personal auto policy may not provide the coverage you need. As colleges and universities get set to begin the fall semester, many parents are certainly wondering, ‘We’re renting a moving truck to move our kid’s stuff. Does our policy cover us?’

Depending on the size of the truck, your personal auto policy may not provide the proper coverage. There are limitations on the number of wheels and the weight of the truck, so check with your agent.

The best advice for all rental situations is to call your agent and make sure what you’re renting is covered. Don’t let an under-insured rental vehicle put a damper on your well-deserved vacation.

Bernard Green is an Allstate agency owner in Hattiesburg, Miss., and winner of several top sales awards.

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