We have been advising people on rental car insurance for years. It is the single most asked question I get as an insurance agent. Do I buy the rental car coverage? The answer is a resounding YES, buy the rental car companies insurance offering. Since shortly after the pandemic hit rental car companies have started charging clients who have had an accident in one of their vehicles loss of use while their rental car is in the shop being repaired. What does that mean? It means that while the car is in the shop being repaired the rental car company is charging you for their loss of use being able to rent out that car to another driver. So, if you have an accident in a rental car be aware that they can charge you for loss of use as part of their damage claim. That is NOT covered by your personal auto policy. If you are legally liable for the damage to the vehicle the insurance carrier will pay for the physical damage to that rental car and nothing more. What we have seen is charge backs to the client for loss of use, administrative fees, and diminished value of that vehicle. If you purchase their insurance at the time of rental this is not an issue, coverage will be provided by that policy you purchased at the time of rental. Loss of use bills are huge. Think about it, you rent a car, wreck it, they can't rent that car they suffer a business loss as a result of that. They can charge you the fair rental / market rental of that car for the entire length of time the car is in the shop being repaired. With parts delays, these bills can go into the thousands. Rental carriers lowered their fleets at the start of Covid, with supply chain issues, and microchip low inventories, cars are harder to get and that includes for large fleets like rental companies. For the first time these charges are being charged back to rental car clients who have had an accident and most people don't know their personal auto does not cover this. In the past it was not necessary to charge these even though this charge has always been in their rental contract. They were being reasonable; they had enough vehicles to just place another car in its place. That is not the case now with low fleet inventory, and rental car companies are charging clients who have had an accident loss of use, because they can via the rental contract, and they have always been able to do so, just have not had a need to do so until now. Now you know loss of use is not covered by your personal insurance and if you have an accident while in a rental car loss of use will not be considered for coverage and you could be on the hook for a rather large bill. Be safe, purchase the rental car company insurance offering. It is truly the best way to cover all your possible exposures while renting a car. Your personal auto will not supply the full breadth of items being charged, so it's a safer bet to purchase the rental carriers insurance offering.

Heather Harris

Heather Harris

I’m Heather Gibson Harris, owner of Brookson Insurance, which I started in 2009 after a career as a claims adjuster for personal home and commercial insureds. My career has been my passion for many years, especially my time in catastrophe claim work.

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