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Going on a family vacation can have its stresses and problems, but by renting a car for your trip, you can minimize these issues and maximize fun!
Have a look below to know the benefits of renting a car on family trips;
By All State – published by rentalcars1.com on Jan 15, 2021
For some drivers, rental car insurance is a necessity. For others, it’s a redundant expense. But, how do you know which category you’re in?
Before you rent a car, it’s worth reviewing the coverage on your personal car insurance policy. In some cases, the coverage you have on your own car extends to a rental car. In other words, buying rental car insurance coverage may duplicate what you already pay for.
The extra cost of the rental company’s coverage might make sense in a few cases, however. For that reason, it’s important to understand what your personal auto insurance covers, and what the rental agency is offering.
DOES MY CAR INSURANCE COVER RENTAL CARS?
If you have a personal car insurance policy, it includes liability coverage and any additional coverage you’ve opted for, such as comprehensive or collision. That coverage may extend to your rental car, as long as you drive it for personal use. The coverage limits and deductibles on your personal policy also apply to your use of a rental car.
DOES MY CREDIT CARD HAVE RENTAL CAR COVERAGE?
In addition to your auto insurance, certain credit cards offer extra insurance if you pay for a car rental using that card, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). If you have extra rental car insurance through a credit-card issuer, call the toll-free number on the back of your card and have them explain your options in detail before you reserve your car.
For example, if your credit card provides collision coverage for rental cars, then you might decide not to purchase that coverage from the car rental agency. The card issuer’s insurance is typically “secondary,” according to the III. That means it may pay your deductible and expenses that exceed what your primary insurance company will pay.
Forbes says some credit card providers may exclude coverage for certain types of rental vehicles, such as:
- Luxury vehicles
Be sure to check your benefits before you rent.
WHEN IS RENTAL CAR INSURANCE COVERAGE A GOOD IDEA?
If you don’t currently have insurance, you’ll need to at least buy liability coverage from the rental company before you hit the road. That’s because liability coverage for all drivers is required by law in most states.
If any of the following scenarios apply, the extra protection provided by rental insurance is worth considering:
- Your current policy doesn’t have comprehensive and collision coverage
- You’re only insured under a commercial car insurance policy
- You don’t want to risk paying a high deductible
And if you’re driving abroad (apart from Canada), your current car insurance probably won’t cover you. Check your policy to find out.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT RENTAL CAR INSURANCE OPTIONS?
Rental car agencies typically break out extra rental car insurance offerings into four sections, according to the III:
- Liability coverage
- Collision/Loss Damage Waiver
- Personal effects coverage
- Personal accident coverage
Liability coverage is intended to help protect you if you injure someone or damage their property while driving. If you have sufficient liability coverage through your own auto insurance, you may not need to buy extra rental car liability insurance coverage from the agency. Your insurance agent can help you review your coverage, so you can set the liability limit that’s right for you.
Collision/Loss Damage Waiver
A collision/loss damage waiver (also known as an LDW or CDW) isn’t technically insurance. If you damage the rental car, this waiver may help cover the cost of repairing it. The waiver typically does not cover damage from speeding or driving on unpaved roads.
A collision damage waiver may duplicate your existing coverage if you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your own car. However, if you’ve dropped collision or comprehensive coverage from your policy, and you don’t purchase the waiver, you would likely have to pay out of pocket for damage you cause to the rental car.
Additionally, a rental agency could charge you for “loss of use” of the car (lost rental income) while the car is in the shop being repaired. Your own auto policy typically won’t reimburse you for that. Be sure to read your car rental agreement carefully to clarify what kinds of charges you could incur if you were to damage the vehicle.
Personal Effects Coverage
Personal effects coverage may help cover your personal belongings, such as your laptop or clothing if they’re stolen from the rental car. If you have renters or homeowners insurance, the personal property coverage on that policy typically helps cover your personal items through what’s known as “off-premises coverage.”
Off-premise items are usually only covered up to a certain percentage of your personal property coverage. The deductible on your homeowners or renters insurance will apply. Check with your agent about the limits of your coverage.
Personal Accident Insurance
Personal accident insurance helps pay your and your passenger’s medical bills if you’re injured in a rental car accident. The III says if you have health insurance, medical payments coverage, or personal injury protection on your car insurance policy, you may already have coverage comparable to what the rental company offers.
Medical payments coverage and personal injury protection (not available in all states) may help pay for medical bills due to a covered car accident.
COVERAGE TO CHECK BEFORE YOU RENT A CAR
Before you rent a car, take a few minutes to find out whether you have coverage through existing channels, such as your credit card company, health insurance plan or renters or homeowners policy. And, be sure to check your personal car insurance coverage. Buying extra rental car insurance may not make financial sense if your auto policy already provides the coverage you need.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your car rental local agent about your car insurance policy before you rent a vehicle. He or she can help you make an informed decision when you’re at the rental counter.
CAR RENTAL TIPS
Published by Rentalcars1.com on Feb 21, 2020
Renting a car can enhance the flexibility of any trip – be it business or leisure. This information explains the process of renting a car and provides some car rental tips and car rental advice.
FINDING THE RIGHT CAR RENTAL COMPANY
Ask your ASTA travel agent to help you find the right car rental firm for each trip. Different firms serve different cities throughout the world. A travel agent can save you the time and effort of calling several different companies to find the best rate and car for you. Also, a travel agent may be aware of promotional rates and special programs that may not be advertised to the general public.
THE COST OF RENTING A CAR
Car rental companies generally charge four types of basic rates: a daily rate with a mileage charge; a daily rate with a limited number of free miles per day; a daily rate with unlimited mileage; and a rate that has free mileage over an extended period. Rates vary according to the size and style of the vehicle but most firms rent economy, compact, intermediate, and deluxe cars. Special promotional rates are often available, especially over weekends, but these should be specifically requested in advance.
Other charges may also be added to the rental price, including:
Car Rental Taxes
In addition to the daily rental rate and the charges mentioned above, taxes (which vary by state) are also charged. For international car rentals, taxes often add up to 10 to 30 percent in addition to the rate quoted. International rentals are also subject to a possible Value Added Tax (VAT). At a few airport rental locations, some car rental firms may also charge an “airport surcharge” fee of about 10% of the rental rate in addition to normal taxes.
Be sure to read the rental agreement carefully to see what the rental rate covers, possible restrictions, and the liability for the renter. If a car rental firm is offering a low rate, make sure that the agreement’s restrictions do not outweigh the cost savings.
Car Rental Drop-off Charges
An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different city or location than where it was picked up. Be sure to advise the agent when making your reservation if you wish to drop off the car at a different location. The drop-off charge may already be included in the car rental rate.
Familiarize yourself with the car rental company’s policy on gasoline when you check in. Some companies charge you a flat rate for gas upon renting the car and expect you to return with the gas tank empty. Most, however, will assess a charge based on the firm’s gas rates for filling the gas tank when the car is returned, if it is not already full. Since gas prices are usually less expensive at gas stations, it is advisable to fill the tank before returning the car if you are expected to return it with a full tank of gas.
CAR RENTAL INSURANCE OPTIONS
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
If a rental car is damaged, the renter may be responsible for the first several hundred dollars of damage (the deductible) up to the full price of the car. By purchasing CDW (also known as Loss Damage Waiver or LDW), the renter is released from responsibility of any loss or damage to a vehicle up to the full value of the car. However, if the renter is in violation of the rental agreement, the waiver is void.
Your personal auto insurance may already provide coverage for damage to rental cars and the purchase of CDW or LDW may not be necessary. Regulations for selling CDW/LDW vary from state to state.
CDW/LDW is usually an optional feature, however, a few companies require renters to purchase this waiver. Determine whether or not you need CDW/LDW before you arrive at the rental counter (check your own automobile insurance policy) and consider how much this CDW/LDW may increase the daily rental rate (CDW/LDW costs range from $8 – $12 per day). In some cases, you may find a special rate for a larger car that already includes CDW/LDW. In the long run, the larger car may be less expensive than the economy car with additional CDW/LDW costs.
Also, some credit card companies offer CDW/LDW insurance as a cardholder benefit. Be sure to read the fine print on these agreements (as well as on car rental agreements!) Usually, the protection afforded by credit card companies could be supplemental to your own insurance. Therefore, if you get in an accident, your own insurance will cover the repair costs up to their maximum and then the credit card company will cover the difference. As a result, your own car insurance rates may be affected.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
Personal Accident Insurance provides accidental death and medical coverage for the renter and additional passengers during the time they are riding or driving with you. Check your personal car insurance policy to see if it covers car rentals. If your policy covers car rentals, you may not need PAI. This insurance is usually optional.
Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)
This coverage provides protection against loss or theft of personal belongings from the rental car. Once again, check your own auto insurance policy to determine whether your coverage includes rental cars.
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)
ALI is optional insurance that protects the renter and other authorized operators against claims made by third parties for bodily injury/death and property damage caused by the use or operation of the rental vehicle. Check with your own auto insurance policy to determine whether additional excess coverage is already provided.
CAR RENTAL DOCUMENTS AND REQUIREMENTS
All car rental companies require a valid driver’s license. Some car rental companies check the driver’s history and will deny a car to a customer with a poor driving record. In some foreign countries, an international driver’s license may be required.
In addition, many car rental companies require a major credit card to guarantee payment even if there is a prepaid voucher or direct billing to the client or corporation. If a credit card is being used for payment, be aware of your credit card limit; many car rental companies require immediate credit approval before renting the car which can substantially reduce your remaining balance of credit.
Alternatives to Credit Card Payment
If you do not have a credit card, most car rental locations will accept their own pre-paid vouchers issued by an appointed travel agent. Some car rental companies require that you fill out a cash qualification questionnaire at the rental location during normal business hours so that it may be verified.
Most companies will require a large cash deposit or a cash advance that can even exceed the estimated charges of the rental if a credit card is not presented for payment. They may also require the renter to be over a certain age. The final acceptance of a non-credit card rental, however, is the decision of each individual rental location.
Usually, car rental companies require renters to be at least 18 years old, but some firms now require a minimum age of 25 years. For consumers under 25, a credit card is usually required for payment and the rental rate may be slightly higher.
Similarly, senior citizens over a certain age may not be allowed to rent cars in some cities. Verify the age restrictions when making your reservation.
Number of Drivers
Although policies vary, many car rental firms allow an immediate relative who is of age to drive the rental car. Some firms also permit a direct business associate to drive. Read the rental contract carefully; it will specify who can drive the car. Signatures of all drivers and their driver’s licenses may be required by the rental firm. There may be a charge for any additional drivers added to the rental agreement.
CAR RENTAL CONFIRMATIONS
Travelers should always receive a voucher or confirmation from their travel agent before departing. This document should have a confirmation number, the car rental company name, type of car requested, flight information, and date. If the car rental firm is located outside the airport, a telephone number for the courtesy car pick-up should be provided.
Confirmations also often help the car rental firms locate customers who have not picked up their reserved car. As a result of industrial automation, the car rental firm can sometimes inquire to see if a renter’s flight is delayed. Usually, a car rental firm will hold a reserved car for several hours before canceling.
If you are considering two different flights, be sure to advise the car rental firm. Also, the company should be notified of any cancellations so that they can rent that car to another customer.
PICKING UP YOUR RENTAL CAR
Upon arriving at the car rental counter, present your confirmation number, voucher, and credit card, if necessary. The customer service agent will then complete the process and direct you to where you can pick up your car. READ YOUR CAR RENTAL AGREEMENT before you sign it to familiarize yourself with your liability and to ensure that you know exactly what you will be paying for when you return the car.
Before leaving the rental lot, inspect the car for the correct mileage information and any visible damage to the car. If damaged, a notation should be made on the contract before leaving.
Take a few minutes to become familiar with the car. Adjust your seat and mirrors. Locate the controls for the turn signals, windshield wipers, lights (high and low beams), and cruise control (if applicable). Notice the placement of the horn and control panel for defroster, air conditioning, etc.
RETURNING THE RENTAL CAR
Rates are usually based on a 24-hour period, with a one-hour grace period allowed to return the car. If you keep the car for more than four hours after it was due back at the rental company, it is usually worth extending the contract for another day since overtime charges average $12 to $15 per hour. Hourly car rental rates are usually higher.
Some rates, like weekend specials, are only available during certain time periods. Keeping the car beyond that time may change the rate you pay for the entire transaction.
INTERNATIONAL CAR RENTALS
At your destination, ask the rental agent to explain the car’s features, which may be different from cars at home. Know the international traffic signs and rules of the road. Ask your travel agent whether you need an International Driver’s Permit. Also, ask about insurance coverage in each country; U.S. insurance may not be valid in all countries.
OTHER USEFUL CAR RENTAL INFORMATION
The renter of any car is liable for all parking and traffic violations both domestically and internationally.
Most contracts and insurance policies are void if you have an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Be sure to lock the car and trunk and do not leave valuables in the car.
Seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law in most states.
Most states require car seats for children under four years old. Advance notice is usually required to reserve a car seat and a small fee may be charged for the rental of these seats.
Many car rental firms have cars or vans that are accessible for customers with physical disabilities. Be sure to make arrangements in advance to ensure that an accessible vehicle is available.
Most major car rental companies offer free local maps. Plan your route before leaving the car rental lot to minimize the need to ask for directions.
Read your rental agreement carefully and ask questions of your travel agent and the car rental agent if you are unsure about anything. The policies discussed in this brochure may vary among companies and locations.