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Everything You Need to Know about Rental Car Insurance

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By George Hobica

rental_car_office(MCT)—Renting a car? Buying the over-the-counter insurance that rental car companies sell could be the dumbest move you’ve made all day. That is, unless it’s the smartest.

The question is, are you covered? Too many travelers have no idea, and it’s in that cone of uncertainty that the rental car companies are able to pounce and profit.

If you don’t know, for example, what your liability coverage your own auto insurance policy provides, or whether or not your credit card is any use in times of rental car trouble, then why, the agent will be asking you, would you want to drive off the lot without peace of mind? Why indeed.

Trouble is, peace of mind doesn’t come cheap. Think hundreds of dollars added to your weekly rental costs, which are already skyrocketing, as competition goes all but extinct in the more-consolidated-than-ever rental car industry. It’s war, and you’ve got to be ready to do battle. We’re here to help.

—Are you the owner of a car?

Yes? Great. Then you probably have an insurance policy. You’ll say this to the guy behind the counter. He’ll counter with: Do you know if your coverage is adequate? Are you going to be stuck with a huge deductible? They’ll throw it all at you. And if you can’t answer the questions confidently, suddenly, you’ll be wondering: Hey! Maybe I should be buying the insurance here, because, really, what if something happens and I’m not covered? Stop. Stop it right now.

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