Car rentals are one of the diciest expenses travellers encounter, especially when plenty of rental agencies are well-versed in nickle and diming patrons.Insurance add-ons are one of their favourite ways to beef up your bill, with some policies costing as much as $30 per day, according to ConsumerAffairs.org.
What many consumers don’t know is that insurance sometimes isn’t necessary at all. Most credit card policies carry protections for rental collisions and even cover those minor scrapes or dings agencies readily charge beaucoup bucks for.
The policies come in all shapes and sizes but these are the four most common:
Collision damage waivers. Unless you’re driving uninsured, this is probably covered under your primary auto insurance. Most credit cards will cover damage as well.
Supplemental liability. This is also likely covered under your auto insurance policy, and unless you’re expecting to do more than $1 million of damage, you probably don’t need the extra cushion.
Personal accident. If you don’t have health or a life insurance policy, this might be worth your while. It costs around $3/day and covers medical, ambulance and death benefits for all passengers if there’s a car wreck.
Personal effects. Check your renter’s or homeowners’ insurance before shelling out $5/day for this add-on. Chances are you’re covered.
Not every rental agency is out to milk you dry, but Gadling’s Scott Carmichael’s tale about getting scammed in Europe is all too common. A rental company charged him nearly $3,000 for a scratch when he had no proof he hadn’t caused the damage.
Take his advice: “Before driving off the lot, always do a close inspection of the entire care. Renting at night? Pull out your flashlight. Make sure you report every single ding, dent, scratch, scrape or missing body panel to a car rental agent. Then, get them to note it on your rental agreement and make a note of the name of the agent that witnessed the damage.”