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Rental Auto Insurance

Going to France in May 2019, Planning on buying Trip Insurance. We are also going to rent a car for a week. Is it more beneficial to purchase the auto insurance through the trip insurance plan or purchase at the rental agency counter? Thanks for your help.

Posted by
4540 posts

I think if you are going to buy the rental insurance, it'd be better to buy through the rental company and probably ahead of time. That way there is less bureaucracy in the event something happens. I have good auto insurance through my credit card so I typically do not purchase it. However, for my upcoming trip, I did purchase it for many reasons. The quote was pretty inexpensive and it includes roadside assistance. We will be driving in the mountains in Spain and through some tiny little towns. Insurance seemed prudent.

Posted by
5697 posts

Certainly price out insurance through the rental agency purchased in advance versus the additional cost of adding to your trip insurance -- if you show up at the rental desk and need insurance you are open to whatever they want to charge you that day. But make sure you know what coverage your credit card may already include (I use Chase Sapphire Reserve and rely on that auto rental insurance.)

Posted by
22262 posts

But since it is a $450 credit card, not many carry the Reserve card and you should get something for that price.

Posted by
3651 posts

I've got a couple of Visa cards, and both have rental car insurance that covers collision/loss. I think that's pretty common except for the most basic, no fee cards. Haven't ever seen rental car insurance as a part of trip insurance, but must admit I had no need to look for it. It might depend on where the OP is renting the car , too? I seem to remember a thread discussing countries where some CCS wouldn't cover rentals.

Posted by
6021 posts

This situation is much more complicated than it seems. I'm not an authority, but I've experienced big-name agencies that demand written proof of credit-card or other third-party coverage. In states (NJ) like my own, many people would rather not have a claim against their primary home car insurance, if it can be avoided. When I take a chance on the credit card insurance, I always photograph four sides of the car before and after the rental. And (it's not a guarantee) I try to avoid unattended dropoff stations. (Travel writers have reported claims made by the rental company weeks after the return, with no exceptions noted at the time of return.)

Posted by
5697 posts

@Frank, I think of the Chase Reserve as a $150 card -- if there's ever a year I don't spend $300 on travel (which is automatically reimbursed back to the card) it will be because I am dead. ;-)

@Tim, good point about photos of the car AND avoiding unstaffed return locations. I carry a printout of the credit card insurance pages in case it is needed to show the rental company that I have coverage.

Posted by
1235 posts

I used Trip Insurance for my car rentals for years. This last September, I bought the insurance through Hertz. Two reasons:

  1. The company that I liked and trusted for trip insurance (they paid on a claim in 2008), has changed their name and drastically increased the price of insurance with Car rental coverage. On the other hand, Hertz offered a zero deductible policy for a reasonable amount. (on previous trips, it has been pretty costly) In order to get the cheapest price on insurance, arrange it from home before going. (I was able to add it about a month after I rented the car but 4 months before picking the car up.)

  2. Rental car companies are getting more and more difficult when it comes to accepting 3rd party insurance on their cars. In 2016, I was denied a car when I went to pick it up. They refused my insurance I had with my trip insurance policy. I called AutoEurope (who had booked it for me) and they told me to present my Mastercard as my insurance carrier. I knew I had insurance on it, but I had heard such horrible stories of people who tried to collect that I did not trust it. National Car Rental accepted it though so I got a car. Since then, many rental companies are demanding letters that state you are insured from the Credit card company. (Has to have your name as the insured and has to be within a certain amount of days before the rental. In other words, don't get it 6 months in advance.)

Do your due diligence before leaving. More than one person has reported here that they were forced to buy the insurance at pick up and at the much higher price.

Posted by
7401 posts

Never hurts to cut a paper copy online of the credit card's terms and conditions and present it to the rental company if they balk on using it as outside insurance. The coverages are noted in simple English for reading.

Posted by
813 posts
  1. Check your credit card to see if it has coverage.

  2. Also check your own car insurance to see if it will cover a rental car. Sometimes, an add-on for a very small fee will cover your car rentals for the year.

Posted by
2916 posts

I've experienced big-name agencies that demand written proof of credit-card or other third-party coverage

That seems to increasingly be the case, which is why last year I started to include CDW with my rental after 20+ years of relying on my credit card. And this year, after having included zero-deductible in my rental in France through Auto Europe, I did some modest damage to the car. The Hertz agent saw it immediately when I returned it, then noticed I had full coverage. So off I went, and I never saw a charge. And the additional rental charge for the full coverage was not all that great.

Posted by
8971 posts

Exactly the same as Robert: after 20 years using my CC and renting via AutoEurope, I now buy the AutoEurope no deductible coverage because it is so reasonably priced and is automatically added to the contract the rental agency sees. No pressure, no upsell, full coverage, sigh of relief.

Posted by
6373 posts

My experience.....

Paying for zero deductible full coverage from the rental company is well worth it. if not too expensive. if there is an just walk hassles.

Credit Card coverage you pay nothing for, is worth what you pay for it, may save you once and a while, but generally you pay and then fight for reimbursement from those that claim to protect you.

Some cards offer premium coverage for a low fee (American Express for example and a flat fee of ~$30 for the rental period) these tend to be better deals and more protection.

For long term rentals (several weeks) there are third party companies that offer insurance cheaper, but as good quality than the rental companies.