- To protect a rental car, your personal insurance policy must have collision and comprehensive coverage. If you have these coverages, read the fine print to find out exactly what they cover. Does your insurance pay the rental car’s “full value or fair market value?” If not, ask if you can add “gap” insurance to your policy, which replaces a totaled vehicle with a brand-new one.
- Check your rental car company contract to see if the consumer is liable for “all” loss or damage, including loss of use, subject to any limits imposed by law. Your personal auto insurance policy may or may not cover administrative fees, towing, loss of use of the vehicle while it’s being repaired, and diminished value. (Loss-of-use is a fee imposed by the rental car company on the customer to cover its lost income while the vehicle is out of commission from an accident--even when the accident may not have been the customer's fault.)
- In addition to your personal auto Insurance policy, check out the car rental protection benefits provided by your credit cards. For example, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa pay loss-of-use charges as long as the rental company supports them with proof of the loss. Rental car loss protection is not provided by every card, so be sure you call customer service before you shop for and reserve your rental to make sure the card you plan to use has it, and learn the specific coverage details for all of the cards in your wallet. Note that with most credit card insurance policies, this coverage is secondary to your existing personal auto insurance policy.