You booked a fun rental car for your trip, and you got a good rate. But now, standing at the rental counter and about to get your keys, you're stumped by one question the agent asks: Do you want to add the extra insurance?
It's very tempting to quickly say no. After all, at $20 to $30 a day, that safety net can almost double your daily rate. But would you be leaving yourself vulnerable?
Happily, a lot of MetLife auto insurance customers will be covered when they rent a car away from home—with some qualifiers. You're only covered within the limits of your own car's policy. That means if you drive a luxury SUV at home, and you're just renting a standard vehicle on your trip, you likely have plenty of coverage. But if you are doing the opposite—renting a much larger or more luxurious vehicle than the old beater sitting in your driveway at home, you may be setting yourself up for a problem,
What to Know About MetLife and Rental Cars
Many MetLife policies cover a variety of pitfalls related to rental cars, such as towing, storage, claim-handling expenses, or the loss of income or decrease in market value of the rental during repairs. Those perks vary from state to state so, to be sure, call your MetLife agent and ask a few questions: Do you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your policy, and does it to extend to a rental? Are there any limits on cars you'd be covered for? Are you covered for Loss Of Use and Diminution of Value, and what risks would you run if you do need to file a claim for damage related to that rental?
In most cases, if your own policy covers a rental, you would just need to pick up the cost of the deductible in case of an accident.
While you're checking into your MetLife policy, go ahead and also call the customer service number for the credit card you'll be using on the road. Find out if you have an accident in a rental car, whether anything beyond your deductible and the policy's limit could be picked up by that credit card. Two other types of personal insurance may help you too: homeowners or renters insurance, which protects your stuff inside the rental car.
6 Reasons to Buy Car Rental Insurance
Even when you have a good level of coverage, sometimes it's better to purchase additional rental car insurance. Such circumstances include:
Your auto deductible is high.. If the deductible on your auto insurance is high, it would apply to your rental car, too. If you do have an accident, your outlay could be much higher than the rental company's CDW.
You don't want to make a claim on your personal insurance. Maybe you recently had a claim and don't want your premium to explode. Two claims in one year can raise your insurance rates significantly, so you may want to err on the side of caution and buy insurance.
Your own coverage is not comprehensive. If your MetLife auto policy isn't comprehensive, you might want to buy the CDW. If you have skimpy health insurance, you might want to pick up personal accident insurance. If you don't have liability coverage, you may want to buy that.
Your coverage limits are low. If you'll be driving in an unfamiliar area or bad weather and nervous about possible damage to the vehicle, you might consider either raising your coverage levels or picking up additional coverage from the rental car company or a third-party provider.
You're renting an expensive vehicle. Remember, your MetLife auto insurance will only cover up to the limit of your own vehicle's policy. You may want to beef up coverage for a luxury rental. Always be sure to check your coverage limits.
You're renting outside the U.S. Like most U.S. auto policies, MetLife covers you for rental cars in the US and Canada. If you're traveling outside these two countries, you'll need to purchase supplemental insurance. (Mexican rentals require extra insurance anyway.)