The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Do I need rental car insurance?

The question “Do I need rental car insurance?” is frequently raised by travelers.

My immediate response is “Call your insurance carrier (agent) and ask them to tell you what you are covered for on a rental vehicle?” In five minutes or less your insurance agent can probably tell you everything you need to know about this issue. Many of you will discover that your personal automobile policy covers you for a rental vehicle. Be sure to get specific overages & amounts from your agent then make your decision on what insurance to purchase or waive at the rental car desk.

Be sure to ask if you are covered for “out of usage” fees. This fee is what the rental car company charges if their vehicle is damaged and not available to be rented. Also check to see if you are covered for incidental items like towing a wrecked car, storage or any administrative fees.

My personal car insurance covers everything so I decline all the rental insurance options on domestic rentals.

Traveling abroad is a whole different issue. Provide your agent and/or credit card company with specific destinations and they should advise accordingly. As for me my insurer does not provide foreign coverage so I will purchase the rental car company’s insurance.

Check with your credit card company and see what if any coverage they provide when you pay with their card. Many card issuers include rental car insurance but be sure to have them forward their coverage terms and conditions in writing.

Before you depart on that great vacation make a few phone calls and know before you go!

Happy travels!