what a great day! you just spent the lasteight hours sitting on the beach watching the waves. you're all packed up and headingback to the hotel when bam! - the guy in front of you slams on his brakes.ok, no need to worry, you've got insurance! but wait a second...this isn't your car. doesyour insurance cover rental cars? did you make the right decision on rental car insurance?the good news is most personal automobile policies extend coverage to rental vehicles,covering you for both collision and other-than-collision losses - also known as comprehensive - providedyou have those coverages on at least one vehicle on your auto policy.typically, your policy's comprehensive and collision coverages will extend to you andother members of your household who are operating
the rental car.however if you don't have full coverage on at least one vehicle on your personal autopolicy, you may need to look into purchasing the rental company's collision damage waiver,or cdw, which is offered at the time of rental. a cdw policy protects you from financial responsibilityfor theft or physical damage to the rental car while it's in your possession. a cdw doesnot, however, cover your personal liability for bodily injury or property damage.some rental companies may include conditions and restrictions which can void the cdw undercertain situations, like violating a traffic regulation, so be sure to understand the terms.often times, a cdw does not cover "loss of use". this means that if the rental car isdamaged while in your possession, you could
be responsible for paying the daily rentalfee until the car is returned to service. that could get expensive if the repair shoprequired three weeks to fix the damage! the good news is if you have a personal auto policy,you might be covered for "loss of use". rates for a cdw vary depending on the typeof coverage. some rental companies may allow you to select smaller amounts of coveragefor a reduced fee. if you have a credit card, your credit cardcompany may also offer a "free" cdw coverage if the fee for your rental car is chargedto that credit card. generally the coverage provided by your creditcard tends to be "excess" over any other coverages in place--including your personalauto insurance coverage. this means coverage
is only available after the limits of yourother policies have been reached. call your credit card company before you rent to findout if they offer a free cdw. the next time you start planning your getaway,be sure to keep these helpful tips in mind so that you can decide the best way to handleinsurance coverage on your rental car: - ask the rental car company about their termsahead of time so you know your financial responsibility in the event of a loss.- be sure to inspect the vehicle before leaving the lot and note any damage in your rentalagreement so you're not stuck paying for someone else's mistake.- if you prefer to rely on your own personal insurance policy as coverage, carry a copyof it with you on your trip, both as proof
of insurance and as a handy source of theterms of coverage. most importantly, contact your independentinsurance agent they can guide you in making sure your rental vehicle is properly insuredso you can travel with peace of mind.