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8 Questions to Ask When Buying Rental Car Insurance

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Purchasing rental car insurance can feel like a hassle. So much fine print. So many questions! But if you don’t buy it, and your rental car gets damaged, you’ll have to deal with even more hassle ­— and a much bigger expense.

The smart way to protect your rental car is to buy the OneTrip Rental Car Protector from Allianz Global Assistance, an affordable plan that can provide primary coverage for covered collision, loss and damage for just $11 per calendar day. But before you buy this or any car rental insurance product, you should get answers to these eight questions.

1. What, exactly, can this rental car insurance plan cover?

 The very first thing you’ll want to figure out — before you purchase a plan — is what it covers! Collision damage insurance can pay to repair or replace your rental car in case of loss, theft or damage. Liability insurance can protect you from lawsuits filed by other drivers for bodily injury or property damage. Personal accident insurance can pay medical, ambulance and death benefits for you (the rental car driver) and your passengers. And personal effects coverage can cover the theft of possessions from the rental car.

Rental car companies may encourage you to buy all these types of insurance, but the most important protection to have is liability (which you may already have, either through your regular car insurance policy or as part of the rental agreement) and the collision damage insurance, or CDI. The CDI is what we’ll be focusing on in this article.

Read more: The Four Types of Rental Car Insurance, Explained

2. What’s the maximum limit of the collision loss damage insurance?

When you buy a CDI, check the maximum dollar limit. It may be $50,000, if you buy the standalone OneTrip Rental Car Protector from Allianz Global Assistance; or it may be $45,000, if you purchase an AllTrips annual travel insurance plan, which can include Rental Car Damage & Theft Coverage*.

Whatever the limit, make sure it’s enough to cover the car you intend to rent. A $50,000 limit should be enough to cover most cars, even luxury rental cars. If you plan on renting a high-end sports car, however, or some other fabulously expensive vehicle, you may have to purchase a specialty rental car insurance plan to protect it.

3. Is there a deductible? 

Nobody likes being surprised by a hefty deductible after filing a rental car insurance claim. That’s why the OneTrip Rental Car Protector can pay the cost to repair or replace the car (whichever is less), without a deductible.

Not all policies are the same, however. In Europe, a CDI may carry a deductible of $1,000–$2,000, even if the damage wasn’t your fault!1 When you’re renting a car in Europe, you can purchase a “super CDI,” which is a rental car insurance plan that has a low deductible or none at all. These can be expensive, however, costing $10 to $30 more per day than a standard CDI.2 The OneTrip Rental Car Protector can be a much more affordable option.

4. Is this rental car insurance primary or secondary coverage? 

"Secondary coverage" means that your rental car protection plan can only pay for the fees and charges that your primary car insurance policy won’t cover. This means you’ll have to file a claim with your insurer, which may include paying a deductible, and your premiums might go up as a result. Allianz Global Assistance's OneTrip Rental Car Protector is primary coverage.

5. Are “loss of use” costs covered by this rental car insurance plan? 

“Loss of use” refers to the rental fees lost while a damaged car is being repaired. When your rental car gets damaged, the company will want you to pay those loss of use fees — so will your insurance cover it? The rental car protection offered by some credit card companies will not pay loss of use fees.3 The OneTrip Rental Car Protector from Allianz Global Assistance can cover loss of use.

6. Is the entire car covered?

It seems like a no-brainer — of course the car’s covered from bumper to bumper. Right? Well, not always. In Europe, a collision damage insurance typically doesn’t cover the tires, windows, roof, undercarriage, or interior of your rental car, as Travel+Leisure explains. That’s, like, half the car! The OneTrip Rental Car Protector, on the other hand, protects the entire car from collision, loss or damage.

7. What exclusions should I be aware of? 

Every insurance plan names certain exclusions: situations in which your losses would not be covered. The OneTrip Rental Car Protector, for instance, excludes: 

  • Any loss resulting directly or indirectly from intoxication or voluntary use of any controlled substance
  • A natural disaster like a hurricane or flood (unless specifically included in your plan)
  • Trucks, campers, off-road vehicles, trailers, motorbikes and recreational vehicles
  • Any vehicle used off maintained roadways
  • Ordinary wear and tear or mechanical breakdown of a vehicle (unless the wear and tear or mechanical breakdown results in a covered collision)

These are just some examples. You’ll have to read your plan documents to find out exactly what’s excluded.

8. Are any other benefits included in the plan?

When you buy the OneTrip Rental Car Protector from Allianz Global Assistance, your plan includes a few useful extras you won’t typically find in the protection plans offered by rental car companies. One is the trip interruption benefit, which can reimburse you for unused, prepaid and nonrefundable trip costs that are lost when you must cut your trip short for a covered reason. This benefit also can pay for additional accommodation and transportation expenses incurred because a traveling companion is hospitalized, or reasonable transportation expenses for getting to your final destination or a place where you can continue your trip.

Another included perk is access to the 24-hour emergency assistance hotline. Call the hotline any time, from anywhere in the world, if you need help dealing with a medical emergency, a crime, a lost passport, or any other kind of travel-related crisis. 

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    Jul 27, 2018