Car rental insurance when visiting US

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capitalG
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Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by capitalG » Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:24 am

We currently live overseas and will be renting a car when visiting the US for a few weeks. Since I don’t drive abroad, we no longer maintain any sort of driving insurance. What’s the best option for coverage for a 3 week rental? Was planning on paying for the insurance the rental company offers but wanted to see if there any watch-outs or anything else we should consider. Thanks!

capG

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Watty
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Re: Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by Watty » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:40 am

capitalG wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:24 am
Was planning on paying for the insurance the rental company offers but wanted to see if there any watch-outs or anything else we should consider.
This may be a bit of a general but in the US there are basically three types of car insurance.

1) Collision - damage to the rental car if you hit something.

2) Comprehensive - This covers your car if it is stolen or damaged by something like a falling tree.

3) Liability - This covers damage to someone else's car or if you injure someone in a car accident. This can run into the millions of dollars if someone is badly injured.

The big problem is that the insurance that the car rental companies sell or that some credit cards provide is only for the first two and generally(maybe always?) not for liability.

This can get even more complicated since the laws for this are the state laws(like California or Florida) and most states will have very low minimum liability insurance amounts so you might hear that a car has liability insurance but it is only covers $15,000 which is way too low. You need to also worry about how much liability coverage you have and not just if you have enough to have the legal minimum.

I have driven in other countries where the car liability insurance is linked to the car registration so all rental cars had a good amount of liability insurance and your country may be that way. Just to be clear that is not how it works in the US.

I don't have a good suggestion for what you should do but you really need to have at least a few hundred thousand dollars in liability insurance for driving a car in the US. Having $500,000 in liability insurance would be pretty common.

In the US many people have what is called an Umbrella insurance policy to cover all sorts of possible lawsuits and these typically start at one million dollars in coverage and go up higher. This also covers liability above what your car insurance covers and at least for my Umbrella policy it also covers me when I am driving overseas. If you have something like that then you should check to see if it would cover you while you are driving in the US.

You also need to have good travel insurance to cover health care costs when traveling in the US since if you end up in an emergency room with even a relatively minor injury the bills can be astronomical.

IHateCasinos
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Re: Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by IHateCasinos » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:10 pm

I have found good comparisons for health insurance (and car hire) on squaremouth.com (use a well reviewed company) or tokio marine. tokio is very large and good coverage.

be very aware that medical cover is VERY specific about pre-existing conditions.

M

IHateCasinos
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Re: Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by IHateCasinos » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:13 pm

Usually the upsell insurance is where they really make their money. the car actually incidental.
FYi - credit card insurance is usually capped at 14 days max.
of course you can return and re-rent the same car etc.

Hence the suggestion to get separate insurance and then ready yourself for the enormous scare tactics at the rental pick-up counter....

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dm200
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Re: Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by dm200 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:40 pm

I suspect that you will need to select and pay for the insurance options provided by the rental company. These are expensive - but I cannot see a way for you to get less expensive coverage. I also believe it would be too risky to just go without such insurance.

I don't know if there are big differences in the costs of such insurance from one rental company to another.

123
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Re: Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by 123 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:57 pm

The major car rental companies generally offer an insurance option that includes liability coverage. Often these policies have a $1 million dollar limit. If you are going to take an insurance option that includes liability coverage I would advise going with one of the major car rental firms and avoiding the discounters. The major car rental firms generally provide a higher level of service than the discounters and should something unfortunate happen they are easier to deal with. Some of the locations of the discounters are locally owned and procedures and service can vary quite a bit.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

gtd98765
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Re: Car rental insurance when visiting US

Post by gtd98765 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:25 pm

You might also ask friends in the country where you live what they do when the need to rent a care in the U.S.

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