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So you're renting a car and the moment of truth is approaching. When you go to pick up the car, will you buy the collision damage waiver (CDW) or decline? The key to a confident decision is to know whether your auto insurance policy covers car rentals.

Most auto insurance policies will cover car rentals to some extent, but it is not wise to wait until you're standing at the rental car counter to find out the details. Here are some tips for finding out whether your policy will cover your rental, so you can know for sure if you should buy additional insurance.

 

3 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

 

While sitting on the phone with customer service might not seem like the ideal way to get an answer, calling your car insurance agent can often be the quickest, most accurate way to understand how your specific policy applies to rental cars. Not all auto insurance policies are the same, so you may spend hours searching online for information that might not apply to your particular policy.

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Here are some key questions to have handy for when you pick up the phone:

Does my policy cover car rentals?

The first objective is simply to establish whether your specific rental car policy covers car rentals. If so, great! You can probably feel confident declining the over-the-counter insurance offered by the rental car company.

Is there a limit to my rental car coverage?

The next logical question to ask is whether there are any limits for rental car coverage under your policy. Typically, your personal auto insurance policy will cover a limit designed for your personal vehicle. So, if you drive a banged-up 2010 Honda Accord with 200,000 miles on it and decide to rent a brand new Infiniti Q50, you may find that your personal auto policy does not sufficiently cover your rental reservation.

Are there any other limitations?

While understanding the coverage level of your auto policy is a huge part of figuring out whether to purchase additional rental insurance, you should make sure to ask your agent about any other limitations before hanging up the phone. For example, how long does your auto insurance policy cover car rentals? This may present an issue if you are renting long-term, for a month or more. If your car rental is for a business trip, make sure to ask the agent whether your policy will cover that as well.

Even if your auto insurance policy covers car rentals, there are other reasons why you may opt to purchase additional car rental insurance anyway. For example, if you recently made a claim on your policy, you may not want to risk another claim. Or you may not want to risk having to pay the deductible in case of an accident.

 

Other Issues to Keep in Mind

 

Understanding whether your personal auto policy covers car rentals will help you decide whether to purchase extra insurance at the counter, and there are a few other things you should check out to ensure you have the best and most affordable coverage for your trip.

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International insurance requirements

If you are renting a car outside the U.S. or Canada, your auto insurance policy will likely not cover international rental cars. Your personal car rental insurance will not extend to Mexico. /p>

Credit card coverage

While your auto insurance policy may cover car rentals, your credit card may also offer coverage. Be sure to find out whether your credit card offers primary car rental insurance (which is better but less common) or secondary car rental insurance (which is the more likely scenario).

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