With the holiday travel upon us, it is important to make sure that you are properly insured when renting a vehicle. This article addresses individuals who reside in New York, own a vehicle in New York, have insurance for that vehicle and rent a vehicle for 30 days or less. While this article is intended to shed some light on the topic, consumers are encouraged to carefully read their specific rental policies.
When renting a vehicle, rental companies will offer you Collision Damage Waivers which are also known as Optional Vehicle Protection. It is important to understand what that insurance actually covers. In New York, it’s mandatory for every individual liability policy that insures less than 5 vehicles to include rental car coverage. That ‘rental car coverage’ includes any damage that is caused to the rented vehicle. However, policies insuring certain types of vehicles, such as most types of trucks, are not required to include rental vehicle coverage. So, as a practical matter, before you intend to rent a car, call your own insurance company and confirm that your policy includes a ‘rental car coverage.’ Most individual policies in New York include such coverage. It should also be noted that the damages to the rented vehicle will be fully covered, without regard to your actual policy limits. So purchasing an additional Collision Damage Waivers or Optional Vehicle Protection from the rental company is usually unnecessary and a waste of your money.
Even if you do not have a New York State motor vehicle liability policy, the chances are that the rental vehicle coverage may be included as a benefit with your credit card, if you use that credit card to rent the vehicle. Check the summary of benefits for the credit card to see if such coverage is available.
Car rental companies always try to sell you the Collision Damage Waivers or Optional Vehicle Protection since in most situations it’s essentially free money for them. So, don’t be fooled, check your own liability policy or rent the vehicle with the credit card that provides rental car insurance benefit so you don’t end up paying for insurance that you don’t need.