So, you are going to rent a car… here’s the scoop:

Do you have coverage on your auto policy?  Do you need to buy the loss damage waiver coverage?  There are pros and cons to each situation.  Here is some information to consider:

COVERAGE COMING FROM YOUR AUTO POLICY:

  • Your ND auto policy has coverage coming from the Property Damage Liability portion, which means that you will not have a deductible to deal with if there is a claim. It will pay for loss of use if your limit is enough to cover both this and the cost to repair the vehicle.
  • Your policy will not pay for diminution of value.
  • More than likely you will have to settle-up with them prior to leaving, they probably won’t let you leave and have them deal with your insurance company.  You will have to take care of the damage and then you will be the one to deal with filing the claim and settling with your insurance carrier.
  • They may freeze your credit card, if you don’t take the loss damage waiver coverage.
  • Your personal auto policy will have a maximum that they will pay. If you rent a higher valued vehicle, check with the carrier as to what they’ll pay. 

COVERAGE COMING FROM THE LOSS DAMAGE WAIVER:

  • If you take their coverage and have a loss, it will not go against your auto policy.
  • The loss damage waiver will cover for diminution of value.
  • If you take their coverage, you need to read the contract. There are conditions of the contract that have to be followed. If you fail to comply with these, the contract is void and you will have no coverage and there will be no refund.  Some of these stipulations include (1) Authorized drivers – whoever signs for the car is the authorized driver.  You may need to add other drivers.  If someone other than an authorized driver drives, the contract/coverage may be void. (2) Driving on unpaved roads may void coverage. (3) Being under the influence of any alcohol or drug – one drink, or one dose of medicine – may void coverage.  (4) Not wearing seatbelt. (5) Leaving the car and failing to remove the keys, or failing to close and lock all doors, car windows or the trunk. (6) Towing or pushing anything.

COVERAGE COMING FROM YOUR CREDIT CARD:

  • In order to have this coverage come into play, you have to pay for the rental car with your credit card, the cardholder must the primary renter, you have to decline all the rental car company coverages, the credit card company usually has an extra charge on your card (possibly $20.00) for renting a car. The length of coverage is limited (ex.30 days for American Express, 15 days in the US, 31 days rest of the world for Visa). You need to get their paperwork (usually have to get it on-line) and read through what their exclusions are.
  • American Express will pay for reasonable damage to the car; towing, storage, loss of use and reasonable administrative fees up to $500.00.
  • Visa adds theft, Vandalism & Malicious Mischief, loss of use, towing and windshield losses caused by debris.
  • This coverage is excess over your personal auto policy or the Rental Company in the U.S.
  • This coverage excludes expensive vehicles and may define them as more than $40,000. Exotic cars are also excluded, as well as antique cars, vans & trucks, pickups, off-road vehicles, recreational vehicles and SUV’s. 
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