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Each year millions of people take to the sky and hit the road to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family.  During the busiest travel time of the year, many travelers will rent a vehicle and sometimes purchase the expensive insurance the rental companies offer as a not so soft sell.

Is this going to be you?

Many people don’t purchase the additional insurance because they incorrectly assume that their Carlsbad car insurance company back home or their credit card company will cover them if something happens.  As a rule of thumb in our office, we assume nothing because you know what happens when you assume, but that also doesn’t mean you need to purchase all the insurance the rental company offers either.

Here are a few easy steps to take to make sure you’re covered.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Call your insurance agent and find out what coverage you have and if any coverage will extend to the rental car.  This is why you have an agent, so call your agent and ask the important questions.

Do you have collision coverage?  

If you don’t have collision coverage on your own policy you won’t have collision coverage for the rental vehicle either.

Are you are covered outside the United States?  

Many insurance companies will only cover you within the U.S., Canada and U.S.territories.

Is there a limit on how long you can rent the vehicle and be covered?

A temporary vehicle will no longer be temporary with some companies once it is in your possession for more than 30 days. 

Are there certain types of vehicles that are excluded?

Many auto insurance carriers will not cover moving vans or other larger commercial vehicles.

Does your policy cover loss-of-use (inability to rent vehicle while being repaired) and other fees the rental company might charge?

Many insurance companies will not cover the loss-of-use of the rental car or diminished value of the rental car after an accident and the worst time to find this out is after you have an accident and you get the bill in the mail for these fees that can easily exceed $1,500!

Call Your Credit Card Company

If you intend to rent a vehicle using a credit card, call the card company and ask them a few questions as well.  Here is a link to a chart on that compares credit card rental car insurance policies.

Do you have rental car coverage as a card benefit? 

Many card companies have been changing or removing cards benefits to lower costs.  Also find out if the coverage is primary or secondary.

Does it cover collisions and theft?

Most credit card companies will only cover damage to the rented vehicle (no coverage for injuries or property damage) and some will only cover the vehicle if involved in a collision but not if it is stolen.

Does your card cover vehicles rented outside the U.S.?

Most card companies have exclusions for Ireland, Israel and Jamaica.

Does your card cover loss-of-use and other administrative fees?

Just like with your auto insurance company, the credit card companies are very strict when reimbursing fees.  According to the article on, Visa seems the most willing to negotiate these fees with rental car companies.

By making a couple phone calls you can avoid months of headaches if something were to happen while renting a vehicle.  Please travel safe this week and call us if you have any questions about your own policy with Ken May Insurance Services.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*All information in this article is for information purposes only.  Please consultant with your agent and credit card company for details specifically related to your auto insurance policy and credit card.

Kim Stankiewicz has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005.  She specializes in property insurance and commercial insurance for Ken May Insurance Services.

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