Car Rental Insurance: Most Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Unless you rent cars frequently and you are familiar with the ins and outs and small print of vehicle rental contracts, it’s very easy to commit mistakes or make a bad decision when you’re dealing with car rental insurance. Especially if you are a newbie, it’s easy to fall victim to the convincing lecture that the agent at the desk will give you or to dismiss the importance of having good insurance to cover the rental or to not take enough time to look into your options thoroughly.

Fortunately, you don’t have to learn from your mistakes to enjoy a better experience in the future. If you know the usual blunders made by travelers when getting car rental insurance, you’ll be able to stay safe from headaches, extra financial costs and the occasional “I told you so” we so much hate. This is why we’ve compiled the most common mistakes that travelers make when choosing an insurance policy for their rental and how you can stay away from them.

Strike The Right Balance

As with anything else in life, balance is essential. While having no car rental insurance coverage is foolish, the opposite also stands true. Before investing in a new policy, double check your health, auto and other insurance policies. You may be happily surprised to discover that some of them also offer some kind of coverage for your rental as an additional benefit. If they do, read the fine print, ask all the questions you need to clarify any doubt you may have and make sure you get what you need.

Think. Plan. Play!

Nobody else but you will look out for your best interest. Insurance companies and rental agencies have their own marketing and sales goals to take care for so being smart all throughout the game is your best move. The Internet makes it both easy and comfortable to compare and get a car rental policy specific to your needs and requirements even before you arrive at your destination. Find out about the different types of insurance available and the coverage they offer, compare that to what you need and you already have and get an insurance policy tailored just for you. If you can find the best balance between premium and deductible, that’s a sure win! 

Don’t forget to consider third-party rental insurance as these companies usually offer great coverage at highly competitive fees.Getting your policy from a well-reputed site is not that difficult and can have a huge impact on your overall budget.

Know What’s Important.

Who hasn’t dreamt about going on a road trip in a fancy luxurious car? Who hasn’t envied at least once that muscleous guy who drives that sporty car? Let’s admit it, we’ve all been there. But it’s also true that choosing the fanciest, trendiest, most luxurious or most expensive car may not be the best decision if you are planning a road trip with family or friends or you are going away for a few days on a business trip. Especially when leisure travel is concerned, the rental car is only a means of transport and not the trip itself. 

This doesn’t mean, of course, that you can’t rent a comfortable car or a larger one than the one you own if you’ll be spending more time in it. But don’t go overboard!

Besides, travelling in style comes with its own set of considerations if you are renting a vehicle. Specific policies don’t cover some cars with particular makes or models. An oversight coupled with bad luck could lead to an accident that would have your wallet a few thousand dollars lighter.  

In addition, renting luxury and fancier cars usually leads to a pricier insurance policy. As a rule of thumb, the insurance premium proportionally increases with the price of the car. You don’t need to waste money on a flashy car with head-turning sets of lights; opt for a regular car instead that it’s still comfy and perfect for you and your travel companions!

Don’t Be A Marketing Victim!

One of the most tested and tried marketing arguments of car rental agencies worldwide is that you can pick up and return your vehicle at the airport. That really seems to be convenient! You step off the plane, grab your luggage, head to the rental’s office and pick your car’s keys and drive to your hotel. On your return, you drive your car to the airport, leave the keys at the rental’s desk and wait till it’s time to board your plane. 

However, what they don’t tell you is that this extra comfort comes paired with an extra cost. In fact, even the price for renting a vehicle at the airport is higher! The airport surcharge is the additional fee you pay to pick and drop your rental car off at the airport and it’s a total ripoff. It’s equally comfortable and financially convenient to use public transport to get to your hotel and then rent a car in an office nearby!

Money Is Not Relative.

Losing money over miscommunication with the rental agency is foolish. Rental car companies usually sell insurance based on a 24-hour clock basis. In other words, you’ll pay one whole day of rent when 24 hours are up. On the other hand, third party insurance providers often sell policies based on calendar days, which means that you’ll pay for a whole day even if you return the car in the morning.  

That said, keep an eye on the dropoff details mentioned in the policy and on the clock. Even if you’ll be returning the rental car only a few hours late, you can end up paying a lot of extra money that is not really worth it! Either you choose a rental company with a relaxed return policy or you’re mindful of timings in third party insurance and book accordingly to calendar days. Each case is different and no option is better than the other per se. It will all depend on your particular scenario. Just make sure you have a clear understanding of your options and act accordingly.