You know (or should know) exactly what your auto insurance covers if you get into an accident with your vehicle. But what if you are driving a vehicle that is not yours, specifically what if you are driving a rental car? Whether it be for a business trip, vacation or just a loaner while your vehicle is in the shop, driving a rental car is an experience we all share. Does your auto insurance coverage extend to your rental car?
Auto Insurance Coverage for a Rental Car in Washington:
- Your auto insurance: Liability coverage is required by law, though amounts vary by state. If you have collision and comprehensive insurance coverage on your primary vehicle insurance policy the coverage typically transfers to your rental car as long as all vehicles you own are insured. If you are involved in an auto accident in your rental car the damage should be covered under your Collision and Liability policy*. Typically this means any collision damage to your rental vehicle or property damages to another vehicle (if you are found to be at-fault) as well as any injuries sustained in the accident may be covered. Collision and Liability will not cover personal effects in your vehicle that may have been damaged in a collision.
- Insurance from the rental company: When you rent a vehicle, you are always asked if you would like to purchase rental car insurance. This decision is purely up to you. If you have Collision and Comprehensive insurance it may be a bit redundant, however if you don’t carry the coverage it will be required to be purchased from the rental company. Insurance from the rental company typically covers theft, vandalism and collision damage to the vehicle, though there may be excluded events like damage that occurs while driving under the influence. Each rental insurance terms will vary, so it is best to discuss what is covered and what is not with the specific rental company. In terms of liability coverage, the rental company insurance policy typically includes a one million dollar limit, however this can vary between companies. Insurance from the rental company is usually fairly inexpensive, typically starting in the $20 per day range.
- Extra protection: A simple way to get extra insurance protection in the event you are found negligent or liable in an accident is to have a personal umbrella policy. A personal umbrella policy will often extend your coverage to a rental vehicle. Not used in cases for minor fender-benders, but if you are in a serious accident and an injured party has high medical bills, a personal umbrella policy could protect your assets.
*Every claim is unique. To ensure that you’re properly covered, it is requested that you speak with your insurance agent to ensure you have the right coverage in place and that that coverage will transfer to your rental vehicle.
Your auto insurance policy does likely offer limited coverage with a rental vehicle and for most folks that is enough coverage. If you plan on having personal items in your vehicle or will have your rental car for an extended period of time, having additional coverage from the rental car company may be a smart move. Find yourself needing a rental car? Talk to the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA. Your local, independent insurance agents can walk you through what may or may not be covered by your current auto insurance policy and help you decide if additional coverage is right for your situation. They can also assist you with a personal umbrella policy. You can visit their insurance website 24/7 for more details.