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Protecting Your Money: Rental car insurance

Rental cars
Posted at 12:19 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 18:16:24-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — No doubt many of you are making holiday travel plans; booking airline tickets and reserving a rental car.

In today’s Protecting Your Money segment, a local insurance agent talks to us about the importance of getting rental car insurance because you never know when accidents will happen and what your responsibility will be.

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go; and let's say we're driving a rental car. And wouldn't you know it...BANG! You get into an accident while driving the rental vehicle.

Did you get insurance on the rental car?

Laura Harris, a local insurance agent, suggests you should.

"Keep in mind, you’re in an unfamiliar vehicle in an unfamiliar place typically, so you want to make sure that you have appropriate coverage," Harris says.

So what's the first thing you should do when you get into an accident while driving your rental car?
Remember, you've signed a contract saying you'll be responsible for anything that happens to that rental vehicle.

"Before you even call anybody, take photos," Harris advises. "See if you can get photos of both vehicles including license plates because if you have trouble doing identification, that will help a lot."

It will also help to get the other driver to give you a copy of their drivers license and insurance card because if the accident is their fault, make sure to utilize their insurance, not yours.

According to Harris, the minimum liability in Texas is:

  • $30,000 for injuries of each person in the other vehicle
  • $60,000 total for all injuries
  • $25,000 for vehicle damage

"So if you’re driving a $30,000 car and you hit another $30,000 car, and you have minimum liability limits, you can only have $25,000 for the coverage for the property that’s damaged," Harris says. "For the car you’re driving and the one you hit."

If you're not in Texas, Harris adds that your Texas liability limits may increase to the limits where the accident occurred.

And here's another word of advice from Harris about a common trap.

"You don’t want to take a chance that when you do go rent a car, that you don’t have the appropriate coverage at home, and just assume that the coverage you have with your carrier is going to take care of everything."

So, now the rental car company, already short on vehicles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has one less vehicle available. Guess what?

"If they were renting that car out for $60.00 a day, they’re gonna want me to pay the $60.00 a day for the loss of use because they’re not able to rent that car out," Harris tells us.

So remember, when you rent a vehicle, you're responsible for anything that happens to it, whether it's your fault or not. This means a chip in the windshield, hail damage, flood damage and more.