Car Rental Liability Insurance – Do You Need One?

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Is car rental liability insurance a necessity or a waste of money?

When I first turned that magical age when I could rent a car for the first time, I was given the sales pitch about car rental liability insurance. Simply put, I was told that not getting one is not just a mistake, it’s courting accident. I was young, and impulsive, and more than just a little wet behind the ears so not only did I get CDW (collision damage waiver), I paid for double coverage, too!

I’m much wiser, now, and actually aware that the fact of the matter is, renters do not need to pay for CDW. In most cases, mind you. However, even I can’t deny there are moments when CDW comes handy… and the moment to shop for one is definitely not at the counter, when you’re holding onto your child with one hand.

So, to buy CDW or not to buy?

The answer is this: it depends. To assess if you’re one of those who need to purchase CDW, do these two steps.

1. Check your existing auto policy. Talk to your agent. More often than not, the deductibles and even the coverage on your car back home applies to the vehicle you’re renting for the day.

2. Check the coverage provided by your credit card company. If you pay for the vehicle with your credit card, talk to a representative of your card company. Coverage varies from one card to another and can carry a lot of exclusions, among them exotic and expensive vehicles. Non-U.S rentals may not be covered, as well, so it pays to check with your provider.

Finally, if you do discover that you need to pay for car rental liability insurance, be wary about who you go to for quotes or where you buy your policy from. This is when it makes the best sense to ask for quotes from reputable online sites. Most firms don’t advertise their best prices online. You can also check with state government advisories for tips on auto rental insurance. The New York State Insurance Department maintains a very comprehensive website for this purpose.

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