We just got back from a weekend in North Carolina where we attended my sister’s law school graduation. It was a busy weekend in general in the Raleigh-Durham area, since both Duke and UNC were having commencement ceremonies! Thus, we had to stay out by the airport, which meant a lot of driving would occur between our lodging and all the planned activities.
It was a given that we would have to rent a car to get around. As usual, when we got to the rental car desk, I became overwhelmed by all the rental car insurance options. When I travel for work, I get to ignore these because I have corporate insurance that covers everything and we’re told to “decline” any offers. However, since this was a personal trip, we thought we needed to purchase some coverage.
The trick is to know what you actually need versus what’s an up-sell. A lot of the options go above and beyond what you require for basic coverage, and you’ll end up spending unnecessary cash if you go all in. What many people don’t know is that you may already be covered by some other policy you already own!
If you have car insurance for your car at home, you’re likely covered. Call you agent to make sure, or check your policy, but you may be duplicating what you already have by buying extra at the counter. If you have a credit card, call the company and see if they provide rental car insurance coverage. As it turns out, our card does (including liability insurance) and we ended up being able to decline rental car insurance after all.
If you have neither car insurance nor credit card coverage, choose the liability insurance coverage. This coverage is an umbrella policy of up to $1 million, and is worth the $10 a day or so it costs for peace of mind.
Another thing to keep in mind: You can always buy a “non-owner” auto insurance policy. If you rent cars often, or borrow them from friends, this is worthwhile, as it protects you against being responsible for damages you incur while driving those vehicles. These are pretty inexpensive, too!