Lindsay Pietroluongo – Rental Car Add-Ons You Don’t Really NeedApr 18th, 2013 | By Lindsay Pietroluongo | Category: Lifestyle
You’ve just landed in Costa Rica – or California or Chicago – and you have to rent a car before you even check into your hotel. As your kids groan that they’re hungry, you skim the contract, sign on the dotted line and hand over your credit card.
Not so fast. You have to give that contract more than just a quick glance. Better yet, prepare for what you’ll do at the rental car counter before you even leave your house. You could end up getting add-ons that you don’t necessarily need, like car insurance for your rental.
Do I Need Insurance On a Rental Car?
Of course you do. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy it from the rental agency, though. Your own car insurance may provide all the coverage you need for your rental. You could even have coverage from your credit cards. Since you need insurance, call both your car insurance company and your credit card companies to find out if they offer any benefits for travelers who are renting a car.
I Should Just Sign the Collision Damage Waiver, Right?
Well… kind of. The “Optional Damage Waiver” and the “Auto Collision Damage Waiver” are optional and most car rental companies will put them in front of you to sign. Even if the customer service representative is being pushy about you signing the waiver, keep in mind that if you don’t want to, you really don’t have to.
The waiver isn’t auto insurance, so you don’t absolutely need it. Instead, the waiver is a contract. If you sign the waiver, then you’ll have to pay the rental company a daily fee. In exchange, they’ll assume any and all responsibility should you cause damage to the car. If you’re in an accident, you’ll be happy that you signed the waiver, because you won’t be held liable for the repairs. Depending upon the severity of the accident, the fee could end up being a lot less than what you’d pay to get the car fixed. On top of that, your car insurance company won’t have to make any payment to the rental company.
However, you may not feel that the daily fee is worth it. Let’s say that you know you’re not going to be on the road too much once you get to your hotel. It may not be worth it to you to make payments to the agency when the likelihood of getting into an accident is so small. Also, the contract agreement won’t cover injuries, just damage to the vehicle. Also, some credit card companies offer this waiver automatically if you use their card to pay for the rental car.
Find Out Ahead of Time
You won’t be able to check into all of this when you’re standing at the rental counter with a line forming behind you. Make sure to make all the phone calls you need to when you’re still at home and sorting out the specifics of your trip. You’ll be happy you did when you realize you don’t have to spend extra money on insurance and a collision waiver.
Lindsay Pietroluongo is a full-time freelance writer in the Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal and Chronogram magazine. Lindsay also writes business content and marketing materials for professionals. Visit Lindsay on the Rocks and Poison Apple Ink to learn more. Lindsay can be seen on Hudson Valley Insider each Thursday under the Lifestyle section.