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Renting a car after an accident: What you need to know!

If you are ever in an accident chances are that you will need a rental car while your vehicle is getting repaired. Do you know if your insurance covers the cost of the rental? Are you prepared for the extra cost? Is the rental car reimbursement coverage something you should add to your policy? Does my current insurance protect me in my rental car? These are questions to ask and answer BEFORE you need to know. 

Will my insurance company cover the cost of my rental car?

Rental car reimbursement, what you’ll need if you want the cost of your rental car covered after an accident, is not automatically included in most automobile insurance policies as it is an optional add-on to your policy. And if you do have this coverage, it likely only covers you if your insurance company is covering the costs of your damaged vehicle. Most policies require you to pay the deductible and the vehicle will need to be returned as soon as your vehicle is repaired.

Is rental car reimbursement coverage worth it?

An average rental car costs about $50 per day, which varies based on vehicle size and where you live. Depending on the severity of your vehicle damage, auto body repairs can take days to sometimes weeks to complete. The average cost to add the reimbursement coverage to your policy ranges from about $2-$15 per month. And the average driver has an accident once every seven years. But if you have multiple drivers (including teenage or younger drivers) having this coverage could be worth it so you aren’t without a car or paying out of pocket.

Is rental car reimbursement coverage right for me?

Whether or not to pay for the additional coverage is something that varies for everyone. The first question to ask is whether you can function day to day with one less vehicle. If you cannot, then determine whether the out of pocket expense is something that you, 1. can afford and 2. makes financial sense compared to the monthly cost of the coverage.

Whatever you decide, do not to confuse rental car reimbursement with protection when you drive a rental car, as these two coverages are different.

When I get behind the wheel of a rental car, am I protected by my own automobile insurance policy?

When you go to rent a car, the rental agency is going to ask if you want to purchase additional coverage. This is to cover your costs if you are in an accident with the rental. Don’t assume that your current insurance will cover you in your rental, especially if your current policy does not have collision or comprehensive insurance. Review your policy before you purchase additional or decline the insurance. Also, if your insurance does not cover it, check with the credit card company that you use to pay the rental fees with, they sometimes offer the coverage as an incentive to use their card. 

Are all rental car companies the same?

All rental car companies are not created equal! Some have hidden charges, high gas fill up prices, and some will try to gouge you on insurance rates. Do your research and know who you’re renting from. And check for discounts! For instance, our Autorent locations have partnered with our CARSTAR auto body repair shops. Jennifer Beans Keiser, General Manager of Fred Beans Autorent says, “What makes us unique, compared to other rental companies, is that we offer discount rates for customers that don’t have rental insurance but are using one of our CARSTAR facilities to have their repair work done. And with 4 locations (Doylestown, Boyertown, West Chester, and Langhorne) chances are good that you’ll be able to take advantage of the discount should you need it.” Please remember, whoever you rent from, make sure they are a trusted company with a strong reputation and comparable rates.

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