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Insurance for car rental?

My husband and I (Americans) will be traveling in Scotland in September and are planning on renting a car in Glasgow and returning it a week later on our way homeward. Our current personal driver's insurance does not cover us out of country. Can anyone tell us what sort of coverage is required, where/how we obtain it, and what options are most economical? Thanks for any tips, folks!

Posted by
1147 posts

I am not an expert on this subject, but we have rented cars in Europe numerous times and are going to Scotland in September and October with a car we rent in England. Since no one has posted a reply, I will give it a go:

Our rental includes liability insurance. This has been true for us in every rental we have had in Europe. That means any person or property that you may damage with a car is insured. (we actually damaged someones car in Italy and it was fully insured.)

Your rental will not come with any insurance that covers you or the car you are driving. That costs extra, but I highly recommend you have some kind of insurance. You can purchase it from where you rent your car, but it can be very expensive. Read the fine print carefully. The insurance that usually is offered is CDW (collision/damage). In my experience, this has a very high deductible (The last 2 times I looked, it was $1500. You really have to look to see that number...not displayed as prominently as it should be). You can request a zero deductible (super CDW) but it is very pricey and can more than double the cost of your car.

There are other options:

Credit cards can cover car rental insurance, but have strict rules and it can be hard to file a successful claim. The best one I have found, is AMEX. They have a policy that you can get for $25.00 (costs vary state to state.) You join a travel club and any time you rent a car using your American Express, they bill you $25.00 (or whatever your state is). It is suppose to be a zero deductble CDW policy. Just be aware that you may still be liable for administration fees from your accident and loss of use fees (this can be true with any supplementary insurance) You do have to refuse ALL the rental car company insurance and pay for everything relating to the rental with that American Express. My MasterCard supposedly has a policy similar to this but I have heard and read too many stories from people who could not collect on an accident for one reason or another so I won't trust it.

Another way to go is buying your own rental insurance policy. I have used CSA travel insurance. For around $200, I get a full travel insurance policy (flight cancellation, flight delay, medical etc) that includes car rental insurance with a zero deductible. We filed a claim in 2008 (see above) and were reimbursed 100%. I am reading a lot about these administration fees, loss of use, etc. This is new to me...we did not have to pay anything like that in 2008. Just not sure how CSA would pay on those if they are now listed separately on a claim. If you do use this option. print out the information they send you and be familiar with what you need to do in an accident in order to have a successful claim. There was some important paper work we had to have and I know we had to call them immediately after the accident. (no taking care of it after we got home!!). We were 100 per cent happy with CSA (so much so that my husband refused to try AMEX lol).

I hope this helps.

Posted by
9110 posts

Nothing is required. Destroy the car without cdw and it comes out of your pocket. You're also responsible for the total cost of any lesser damage to the vehicle

You can either buy cdw from the agency (effectively doubling the daily rate) or let your credit card cover it at no cost. All three major cards do on Great Britian - - but none do on Ireland. The AmEx for twenty bucks extra per rental period is the best coverage - - it can also run for fourty days while the other two poop out at about thirty.

Posted by
111 posts

Legally required liability insurance (covering damage to other people and property) is included in every rental, separate from CDW and separate from your US coverage.

Posted by
5546 posts

And bear in mind that you will likely NOT return the car in pristine condition. They will find dings where you brushed against a hedge or banged the tire into the curb. I enjoy right hand drive, but I know I'm not as good at and I know I will have these little dings that they will decide to charge, so you should have insurance. i've usually bought the CDW rather than rely on my car, but then I just walk away and don't have to file anything. I'm paying for the convenience.


Posted by
970 posts

Yes, you will need insurance. Call the place you are renting the car from -- the actual local office, not the corporate office -- and ask what you need.

Two years ago, booking a car to pick up in Inverness and planning on using my credit card coverage, I called and was told I needed to show up with a letter from the credit card company documenting and affirming that coverage. Sure enough, I was asked to produce it.

Posted by
197 posts

We purchased ours through Travel Guard online. I think it was around $9/day, however if I remember correctly is only slightly less than the coverage that the car rental company offered.