Car rental companies generally offer many insurance options, and these can be confusing. Which, if any, are necessary to purchase?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. Whether or not to purchase any coverage through the rental car company depends entirely on what car insurance the renter already carries. Full coverage is very important, but no one wants to pay duplicate insurance that, in some cases, can double the price of a rental contract.

So, before renting a car, drivers first should check with their current auto insurance provider. Working with a local insurance agency will provide the fastest and most reliable source of information. Auto insurance has a few different coverages, and it’s crucial to make sure these all extend to a rental car. Ask the agent:

• Am I covered for bodily injury and property damage liability in a rental car?
• Am I covered for collision damage to a rental car?
• Am I covered for damage other than collision to a rental car?
• Am I covered for a rental company’s “loss of use” if the car is damaged and out of their fleet for repairs? (Otherwise, rental car companies will charge a client for lost revenue from this period of time that a vehicle is undergoing repairs.)

The answers often will be “yes” to most, if not all, of these questions. But knowing what is and is not covered by existing car insurance helps someone make an informed decision on which coverages, if any, to purchase through the rental car company.

When renting something larger and heavier than a standard vehicle, such as a moving truck, checking with the insurance agent is very important. Describe the vehicle and ask the same questions as above. Different insurance companies have varying limits on the weight limit of a rental vehicle that they will cover.

A client’s own car insurance typically will not extend all the coverage needed for renting an RV or motorhome. Check with the insurance agent, but in most cases coverage only applies if a client already holds an existing RV/motorhome policy. So be prepared to purchase coverage on this type of vehicle through the rental company itself, or through a separate policy underwritten by a company specializing in RV and motorhome rental.