Car rental and insurance: what you need to know
Which car insurance to choose?
If you’ve ever rented a car, you know how much insurance costs the bill – sometimes it’s almost as high as the cost of renting the vehicle. However, it is essential to insure against damage – with or without deductible – as well as against bodily injury or material damage inflicted on others.
Should you pay car rental agency insurance? Maybe, if you can’t help it, but you have other options when it comes to insuring a leased vehicle.
Personal auto insurance
If your personal auto insurance includes the FAQ 27 “Damage to non-insured vehicles” rider, you are covered for damage to the rented vehicle, but only in Canada and the United States. Note that this protection is identical to the one you have with your vehicle: it includes the same options and deductibles. If you don’t have it, check with your insurer to find out how much it would cost you to add it. Note that this coverage is included in the Anti-stress policy , exclusive to CAA-Quebec members.
The FAQ 27 rider covers cars, motorhomes (RVs), trailers or tent trailers, utility trailers and certain utility vehicles, such as a moving truck. However, this protection does not cover the rental of a motorbike or 3-wheeled motorbike, such as the Slingshot or Spyder. In this case, it is better to take the insurance offered by the rental company.
Your auto insurance also includes civil liability protection, which covers damage caused to other people, whether it is bodily injury or property damage. The amount of coverage, however, may not be enough. For the length of stay, increase it to at least two million dollars. This will give you better protection in the event of a claim, especially in the United States, where lawsuits are a no-brainer.
If you are renting a vehicle outside of Canada or the United States, you will need to opt for other insurance, since your auto insurance only covers you in these two countries.
Insurance offered by your credit card
If you pay for the rental of the car using a credit card, check to see if the credit card offers insurance. Credit cards often offer insurance that covers damage to the rented vehicle. However, liability protection is rarely understood.
Confirm the scope and conditions of the insurance offered. Is it for a limited time? Is vandalism covered? Do you need an international driving license (which you should have anyway)? Do you have to pay the entire rental with your credit card? Are your destination or the length of your trip an exception to coverage? If the protections are not sufficient, you will have to turn to another solution.
Vehicle rental agency insurance
Insurance from the rental company is often expensive. If you are well covered by your auto insurance or your credit card, decline it. If you have no choice, know that it is often more economical to choose the prepaid formula, which you will buy before your departure.
Depending on what other insurance you have, you may only need third party liability protection or only rental vehicle damage protection. If this is your case, make sure you aren’t paying twice, and have the coverage you don’t need removed. In Europe, for example, both insurances are usually included in the basic price of car rental.
Protection for property damage to rented vehicles from your travel insurance
If you want to rent a vehicle in Europe, Mexico or elsewhere in the world, you could also turn to your travel insurance.
In fact, some travel insurance – including CAA-Quebec Travel Insurance – offers optional coverage called Property Damage to Leased Vehicles. This protection can be purchased at any age, for a maximum of 60 days. It offers reimbursement up to $ 75,000. This insurance covers collision, theft, fire or vandalism and has no deductible. However, it does not cover your civil liability.
Renting a car with a carsharing service
Do you want to use a carsharing platform like Turo? Before completing your reservation, you will need to choose the coverage that suits you or decline it. The options vary depending on the country where you are renting the vehicle. So make sure you understand the scope of the protections before making your choice.
Your personal auto insurance may be suitable in certain circumstances, if you have chosen the additional protection FAQ 27. As for the coverage offered by your credit card, it may only be valid for car rentals made through an agency. “Traditional”. Check with your card issuer.
Are you injured in a traffic accident?
All over the world, whether you are responsible for the accident or not, the Société de assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) compensates you for your bodily injury. It covers the excess of your hospital costs in the event of an accident, which is not covered by the Régie de l’assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ).
You will be able to claim all the compensation to which you are entitled upon your return. Note that your stay must last less than 6 months in the same calendar year (to be precise, less than 183 days).
In all cases, it is advisable to travel with travel insurance including medical and hospital protection. This insurance could save you the administrative hassle when you are admitted to a hospital abroad. As a bonus, you will also be covered for medical expenses other than those related to a car accident, such as repatriation costs, often higher than those reimbursed by the RAMQ.