Renting a car is often on the agenda whether you’re off on vacation, traveling for work, or your vehicle is at the mechanic’s. As you go through the rental process, the agent usually presents various additional insurance options that you can accept or decline at the counter.

While opting for extra insurance may slightly increase the rental cost, it provides protection in case of a collision. Learn why purchasing additional coverage can be a smart choice, offering financial relief and peace of mind if you end up in an accident.

Insurance Options When Renting a Car

Rental car companies offer several types of additional coverage when renting their vehicles. These insurances can include the following:

Insurance OptionWhat It Covers
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)Covers damage to the rental car from a collision. Typically waives financial responsibility for the car.
Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)Similar to CDW, it covers theft and damage to the rental car.
General Liability CoverageProvides broad protection against claims of bodily injury and property damage to third parties.
Personal Effects CoverageCompensates cost of personal items in the car after theft or damage.
Personal Accident InsuranceProvides coverage for medical costs associated with a car accident.
Supplemental Liability ProtectionOffers additional liability coverage beyond what’s provided by basic rental insurance.
Emergency Roadside ServiceAssistance with roadside issues like flat tires, lockouts, and breakdowns.
Emergency Sickness ProtectionCovers medical expenses if you become sick while renting the vehicle.

When Should You Purchase Extra Insurance for a Rental?

When deciding whether to purchase extra insurance for a rental car, you’ll want to consider a few different scenarios. Additional insurance can protect you in the following circumstances:

  • You Don’t Have Auto Insurance: If you don’t have personal auto insurance for an existing vehicle in Louisiana, elect for general liability plus additional coverages for your rental car. This will protect you from liability and cover costs related to damages or accidents while driving the rental.
  • You’re Traveling Out of State: While your existing auto insurance may cover you out of state, the liability limits required by other states may be higher than your policy provides. Purchasing additional rental insurance helps you meet these requirements wherever you drive.
  • Your Standard Policy Doesn’t Cover Rentals: Some auto insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for rental cars. Before declining additional rental insurance, verify whether your current policy extends to rentals to avoid driving unprotected.
  • You Want Extra Protection: Paying for extra insurance can give you peace of mind in all possible situations. With additional coverage, you don’t have to worry about paying for damages, medical bills, or accidents out of pocket.
  • You’re Renting a Luxury Vehicle: If you’re renting a luxury or high-value vehicle, the cost of damages may exceed the coverage limits of your existing auto policy. Additional insurance helps fully cover the high repair or replacement costs in an incident.

When Might Additional Insurance Be Unnecessary?

In some cases, additional rental car insurance might be optional. If your existing auto insurance includes comprehensive rental coverage or your credit card offers rental protection, further coverage could be redundant.

Your existing policy may cover liability, collision, and personal accident insurance for rentals, ensuring you’re just as protected following an accident as you are in your own vehicle. Some credit cards provide collision damage and theft protection for rental cars. However, coverage details can differ depending on the card issuer and the specific card. You should always verify what coverage you may have before turning down additional coverage from the vehicle rental provider.

Even if you have coverage, some extra insurance may be beneficial. For instance, waivers like the CDW or LDW don’t provide traditional coverage but instead waive your financial responsibility for damages to the rental vehicle.

This means that you won’t need to file a claim against your insurance or credit card policy in the event of damage or theft. Choosing these coverages could save you from increased premiums and claims on your own policies.

Seek Full Protection When Renting a Car

To ensure you’re fully protected when renting a vehicle, it is best to obtain multiple insurance coverages that pay for property damage, medical costs, and liability. If you’re in an accident through no fault of your own, speak with a qualified Louisiana auto accident lawyer from Dudley DeBosier as soon as possible. We can assess your rental vehicle insurance coverage, protect your rights, and help you through the claims process to get the compensation you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation with our legal team today to review your case and get experienced legal guidance.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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