Tips on Everything You Should Know About Car Rental Insurance in Florida

rental car insurance

While it may seem like the obvious choice, getting rental car insurance is not always the right thing to do.  While it can protect you in case there are problems, it can also be a colossal waste of money.  There are numerous loopholes when it comes to this topic and it is up to you to familiarize yourself with what is right and what isn’t.  The first thing you should know is that there are some insurance companies that cover car rental insurance so before you leave for your trip, call you insurance company and find out whether they give you any kind of coverage at all with rentals.

The other thing you should know is that not all credit card companies allow you to pay for car rental with credit cards.  This can come as a great shock especially when you consider the amounts involves some charges are as high as $40 a day.  The best thing to do, if you plan to use a rental, is call your credit card company and find out if you can pay using your card.  Here is some other information you should know about rental car insurance.

There are two different kinds of coverage on offer.  The first is called LDW or Loss Damage Waivers. This one applies if you rent a car and then it is stolen, vandalized, if a tree or tree debris falls on it, or if there is some other damage that does not involve a collision.  The second is Collision Damage Waiver, or CDW.  This, as you may imagine, covers you in the event that you are in a collision with another vehicle.

There are many ad-ons to these coverages.  You have to remember that insurance companies are in business to make money.  They have found clever ways of making customers pay more.  That said, some of the ad-ons that they have can come in very handy if you have low liability levels or if liability extends your limits.  You can insure against accidental death and loss of personal property.  The accidental death coverage pays your family a small sum in case you die while driving the rental and the personal property is a small amount in the event you lose some of your property or it is damaged while you are driving the car.

You should be careful about double coverage which happens more often than you would think.  As we already mentioned, you should ask you insurance company whether rental cars are covered under your current policy.  In addition to that, you should find out if your credit card company gives automatic coverage once you pay for a rental with their credit card there are some that do and it can lead to you paying car rental insurance twice.  Your homeowners insurance covers the property in your car and there are some that extend this to the property in a rental car.  Lastly, if you have life insurance you may not need car rental insurance at all.

You will notice the car rental company will give you a winning pitch on why you need to by a myriad of their insurance products.  They are trained to do this they are making money for the company, but all you need is the basic package.  It is very unlikely that you will need more than that.

Not everyone should buy rental car insurance.  It is advisable for those who do not have auto insurance, are currently operating under commercial car insurance (does not cover car rental insurance) or those whose current policy doesn’t cover comprehensive and collision coverage.

Tips on Renting a Car – The Best Car Rental Experience

There are certain things you should and should not do if you want to have a successful car rental experience:

Start by thinking about the type and size of car that you need.  If you will be traveling with family then you want something spacious like an SUV.  If you are in town on business then you want something smaller but professional looking.  You should also think about the amount of luggage that you have as this affects the size of the car.  Can you drive a stick?  Do you want an environmentally friendly car?  Do you need any extras, such as a rack on the roof?  These may seem like small things but that can be very inconveniencing if they go wrong.

If you will be booking a car for more than 7 days you should go with the large companies but if you plan to spend a longer time, go with a smaller company because it is easier to negotiate a discount.  What you should know, however, is that if you choose the smaller companies you may not get support should you break down, or it will take longer to arrive than it would with the big companies.

Don’t hire from the first company that you find as you’d be surprised at how much rates can vary.  Start rental shopping early.  Compare a few different companies in the West Palm Beach area before you make a decision.  You may find that renting a car in Boynton Beach may be more or less expensive than picking up a rental in Delray Beach.  Many car rentals offer discounts to national organizations, credit card companies and some even have frequent flier programs with major airline carriers.  Most good car rental companies have loyalty programs that are free to join.

When you rent a car it is given to you with a full tank of fuel.  You will return it with the same amount of fuel or you can pay in advance for a full tank.  If you didn’t choose to pay in advance for the fuel, you should leave enough time in your schedule to get the car fueled.  Many people lose out because they are late for their flight leaving no time to stop at a gas station, then the car rental company charges you.  Sometimes up to $10 a gallon, when they have to do it for you.  Prepaying isn’t a very good option when you consider that you may end up returning the car still with gas in it.  Best solution?  Just make time to fuel the car before you return it and keep in mind, gas stations close to the airport will charge a premium for fuel.  There are free smartphone applications that can help you locate the cheapest gas station when you’re traveling outside of Palm Beach County or Florida.

Rental cars come with GPS but be warned, it isn’t free.  You will be charged about $10 a day for it, which can mount if used for more than a few days.  If you have a GPS enabled phone there is no need for this additional cost.

If you are driving out of state you must check with the rental car company to see if they allow their cars to leave the state there are some that don’t and they could penalize you with a fine.

In most cases, you have to be older than 25 to rent a car and it can only be driven by people who are over 25 and have a drivers license.  If you allow someone younger to drive and the company finds out they may penalize you.

Be careful when you return the cars because car rental companies consider the day of the return and not the hour.  Here is an example.  Say you rent a car at noon for 24 hours and you return it the next day at half past noon.  You will be required to pay for 2 days instead of 1 day and 30 minutes.  There are some car rental companies that will give you a 29 minute grace period but that is all you get.

If you don’t own a credit card you may have a hard time renting a car.  If you are lucky you may find a company that is willing to take a cash deposit, but these are rare.

Because most car rental companies have multiple locations, so it is possible to pick a car at one location and return it to a different location.  The rental companies don’t make it convenient for you for nothing though as they will charge you a fee.  Renting from an airport rental office also increases your bill because surcharges are included.

If you are traveling with a child and the car offers you a car seat you should decline.  First, you don’t know whether it is cleaned properly or not, and second, you will be charged a lot of money for something that you could have brought with you.

When you go to pick your car there will be an inspection to make sure that it has no damage.  The same will happen when you bring back the car.  You must be very keen at the first inspection to ensure that you are not eventually blamed for damage that you didn’t cause.  If you notice any damage during the inspection point it out and insist that it is noted on the form.  Rental car companies will not hesitate to charge you for even the smallest ding.

Conclusion

These tips should make the car rental process a lot easier for you in the future.  Should you have any questions about your current auto policy’s car rental coverage, I recommend contacting their customer service.  It could be that it has been awhile since you’ve shopped around for the best priced auto insurance?  If it’s been longer than 6 months, then I strongly recommend calling my team and I for a free auto insurance quote at Brightway, Palm Springs or Brightway, Boynton Beach North.  With access to over 100 insurance carriers, we will get you the best coverage at the best price possible.  Serving Palm Springs, Boynton Beach and all of the following cities: Jupiter, North Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Singer Island, Lake Park, Riviera Beach, Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Loxahatchee, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Worth, Greenacres, Atlantis, Lantana, Hypoluxo, Manalapan, Gulf Stream, Highland Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton.

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About Chris Cole

Chris Cole is a local Brightway Insurance Agency Owner, serving the Palm Beach community via his two insurance offices. He joined the Brightway family when he opened his Palms Springs office and acquired his Boynton Beach office in 2014. He is dedicated to serving his local community through his new blog, floridainsurance.tips. This site will be dedicated to providing the residents of Florida relevant insurance news, information, and resources.

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