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Feb 2

Rental Cars: Should You Opt for Additional Insurance?

Good Value or Only Good for Peace of Mind? Feb. 8, 2024

When securing a rental car, particularly following an accident, it's essential to understand your insurance options thoroughly. Rental places throw a bunch of options at you: Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Liability Insurance, Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), and Personal Effects Coverage (PEC). Here's the deal: each type of insurance covers different things, but you might already be covered by your own car insurance or even your credit card. Before investing anything in whatever they’re selling, you should know what you’re actually paying for.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)

This isn't really insurance. It just means you won't pay out of pocket if the rental gets damaged or stolen, as long as you stick to the rental agreement. But check your own car insurance first. If it covers rental damage, you can skip the CDW and save some cash. Just remember to verify whether your policy extends this coverage and to understand the potential for a deductible or increased premiums in the event of a claim.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance covers damage to other vehicles and property, as well as injuries to other people in accidents for which you are at fault. While Virginia law requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, the coverage limits may be lower than what you could be liable for in a serious accident. Rental companies offer supplemental liability insurance to provide additional coverage beyond your personal policy, which might be a wise investment if your personal liability coverage is minimal.

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

PAI covers medical costs for you and your passengers in the event of an accident while in the rental car. In Virginia, your personal health insurance or the medical payments coverage (MedPay) part of your auto insurance policy may offer similar protections, making PAI redundant. Still, if you lack health insurance or sufficient MedPay coverage, considering PAI might be beneficial.

Personal Effects Coverage (PEC)

PEC provides protection against theft of personal items from the rental car. Depending on your situation, this coverage may be unnecessary if you have homeowners or renters insurance, which typically covers personal property stolen from your car, subject to a deductible. Virginia residents should review their policies to understand the extent of this coverage before opting for PEC from a rental company.

Virginia-Specific Considerations

Virginia law does not mandate renters to purchase insurance from rental car companies, and your personal auto insurance policy might offer adequate coverage. However, there are scenarios where purchasing additional coverage from the rental company could be advantageous, such as if:

  • Your personal auto insurance has high deductibles or limited coverage that might leave you exposed financially.

  • You're renting a car that's significantly more valuable than the vehicle covered by your personal auto insurance, potentially leading to coverage gaps.

  • You're concerned about the potential impact on your personal auto insurance premiums after filing a claim for an incident with the rental car.

Your Personal Injury Champion

Before renting a car in Virginia, it's advisable to contact your insurance provider and review your policy details, including coverage limits and deductibles. Also, consider any coverage provided by your credit card company if you're using it to pay for the rental, as many credit cards offer rental car insurance as a benefit.

Need straightforward legal help that cuts through the noise? Get in touch with Blaszkow Legal, PLLC. Whether it's a tricky situation you’re facing or you just need clear advice, we've got your back. Secure the results you need with a team with experience and fights hard. Call (703) 879-5910 to tackle your legal challenges head-on.