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Is rental car insurance coverage really necessary?

Is rental car insurance coverage really necessary?

When you rent a car, do you really need that added insurance the rental company offers?

Lisa Whitus, personal and commercial lines underwriting manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., said it is important to check with your insurance agent about your own personal auto policy before signing the dotted line.

“Most personal auto policies with comprehensive and collision coverage will provide adequate coverage for your rental car,” Whitus explained.

If you are involved in an accident, the negligent person ultimately will be responsible, Whitus said. The liability coverage under your auto policy is there to help pay for another person’s medical bills or for damage to another person’s property if you cause the accident in your vehicle or a rental car.

If you have a personal auto policy, you have liability insurance, and if elected, you also may have comprehensive insurance to help repair the vehicle if it is damaged by a covered peril such as wind, fire or theft, minus your comprehensive deductible. You also may elect to have collision coverage to repair the vehicle if you collide with another object, such as a building or tree, or another vehicle—minus the collision deductible.

“What a rental car company could be offering you is just a warranty that states the rental car company would not come against you for damages,” Whitus said. “That isn’t actually insurance, and it is also typically expensive, so ask questions if you aren’t sure.”

Keep in mind the type of vehicle you are renting—and the purpose

It’s important, Whitus noted, to keep in mind the type of vehicle you are renting and the purpose, whether it be personal, commercial or recreational. “Coverage automatically follows on a personal auto policy, but not on a commercial auto policy unless it is endorsed for Hired Auto Coverage.”

Also, if you do not already have recreational vehicles insured on your policy, there is no coverage for a rental vehicle of that type. And when you rent a moving truck or similar equipment there is no loss of use coverage provided—even on a personal auto policy, Whitus explained.

“Some major credit cards will provide rental car coverage as well, according to the Insurance Information Institute, so check with your credit card provider,” she added.

For more information, contact your Virginia Farm Bureau insurance agent.