Is rental car insurance worth it?


Your own insurance provides some coverage, your credit card provides some coverage too, but you need to know if it is enough to keep you out of an expensive problem before your even get to the counter.

When Aisha Ghuman leaves Houston, she spends a lot of time in a rental car. So what's her take on car rental insurance?

"I usually just buy it from them because it is something I don't want to think about," said Ghuman.

The coverage can keep you out of an expensive repair bill but it is not cheap. It costs $20 a day or more, but if you already have car insurance and are paying with a credit card you may be covered already. Right?

"A lot of times people say, 'Why would I pay $20 if I already have car insurance through State Farm?'" said Madeline Nguyen.

Nguyen is a State Farm insurance rep in Sugar Land. She says customer routinely call her while at a rental car desk because they don't know the right answer. Nguyen says it depends on your current car insurance coverage.

"Even if somebody hits you, from the rental car it goes to the insurance company and you have to meet the deductible, so if your deductible is $500, you meet $500; if it is $1,000, you have to meet the deductible of $1,000," said Nguyen.

Credit cards also offer coverage, but Nguyen says car renters pick one or the other to pay for repairs, they are not double covered.

She adds typically credit cards reimburse after you pay for the repairs. So its a good idea to call the credit card company before renting the car to find out how much the company pays out and what you'll be responsible for if there is an accident. Car rental insurance allows you to walk away from a crash without paying more.

And remember, if your travels take you out of town, your insurance may not cover you at all.

The bottom line: If you don't know your coverage, call your agent and your credit card company before your trip because the best deal may end up being the rental car coverage.

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