Road Trip


Standing at the rental car counter one ponders whether to take that mysterious outrageously expensive insurance package offered by that cute but not very knowledgeable customer service rep. Certainly if you don’t own a car of your own, one should load up on physical damage and liability right there on the spot-because there is nothing to fall back on. If you own a car, your auto policy will most likely provide physical damage (collision and other damage to the vehicle) and excess liability-as if you owned the rental car outright. Coverage would mirror your policy. Some insurance companies are a bit more generous and will agree to cover the rented vehicle for its entirety with no deductible. Rental companies are fussy about who is doing the driving so be sure to include on the agreement any other person that may take the wheel. If you rent a vehicle outside the U.S. or Canada, you are really on your own since your domestic auto policy will not protect you. Because of this it is best to rent from a major rental service where the rental documents are standard. Most personal umbrella policies will provide worldwide excess liability over what is provided by the rental. This is not universal so check with your insurance professional. If possible, have a rental official sign off on the condition of the car when you return it. Even if you have back up coverage for a rental, consider purchasing their insurance with no deductible-especially if the rental is short term. You will be driving a car you are not used to in unfamiliar territory and thus the possibility of a mishap is enhanced. So happy motoring and if you are really confused and apprehensive, take the train.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.


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